Easy & Delicious Chana Dal made in the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker). Split Chickpeas cooked with ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and flavorful spices, to make a comforting soup. Vegan & Gluten free.
Looking for dinner ideas for Meatless Monday? Enjoy this delicious & Healthy Chana Dal. It is perfect with a side of steamed broccoli and basmati rice. If you want to pair with an Indian style vegetable curry, Aloo Gobi or Saag Paneer are great options.
For vegetarians in Indian, dal (lentils) is the main component of the meal. A typical meal includes dal, vegetable curry (subzi), roti (flatbread) and/or rice with some salad. And there are enough varieties of dals to prepare a different one each day of the week. If you are curious, check out my this collection of 15 Lentil & Bean Recipes in the instant pot.
If you don't have Chana Dal at hand, you may want to check Dal Fry with Toor Dal, Green Moong Dal or Brown Lentil Curry recipe.
What is Chana Dal?
Chana Dal are dried brown chickpeas that have been split and skinned. It is also called Split Chickpeas or Bengal Gram. These wonderful little beans pack a powerhouse of nutrients as well as protein into the dish. Chana Dal is also rich in fiber, and has a low glycemic index.
The best part about lentils are that they are budget friendly and affordable by all. Chana Dal is usually used as lentil curry in North India and for tempering in South India. But there are other dishes that can be made such as Chana Dal Pilaf or Halwa (sweet pudding).
Curious about pulses used in Indian cooking? Check out my detailed guide about Indian Pulses.
How to cook Chana Dal in Pressure Cooker?
Chana Dal takes a bit longer to cook compared to other split lentils such as Toor Dal or Moong Dal. I prefer to soak chana dal for about 30 minutes before cooking. Although they will cook just as well with a few extra minutes in the instant pot without soaking.
Traditionally Chana Dal was boiled in a pressure cooker and tempering was prepared separately in a pan. Then the boiled dal was added to the tempering and simmered to infuse flavors. However now with the instant pot, I like to make this as a one-pot dish. Hence in this recipe, I prepare the tempering with ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes and spices in the instant pot. Then add the chana dal, water and cook at high pressure.
Once cooked, sprinkle in some lime juice and garnish the chana dal with cilantro. If you like to make this even more nutritious, then add some spinach right after the dal is cooked. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. Spinach Chana Dal is ready to be enjoyed.
Looking for more easy Instant Pot Recipes? Here are 29 Best Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes for you to try!
Instant Pot Chana Dal Recipe (Split Chickpeas Soup)
- 1 cup Split Chickpeas (Chana dal)
- 2 cups Water for soaking
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- ¼ teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing) optional, skip for gluten-free
- ¾ cup Onion diced
- ½ tablespoon Ginger minced
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- ¾ cup Tomato chopped
- 2 cups Water for cooking, increase to 2.5 cups if not soaking the dal
- 1 tablespoon Lime juice
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- ½ teaspoon Red Chili powder (Mirchi powder)
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
- Soak Chana dal along with the water for soaking for 30 minutes. Then drain the soaking water.
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode and heat oil in it. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
- Once the cumin seeds start to change color, add the onions, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and spices and stir them well. Add chana dal and water for cooking. Stir it all up. Pressure Cancel and close the lid with vent in sealing position.
- Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for for 12 mins. If you skipped soaking, cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.
- After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. Add lime juice and give a good stir.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve chana dal over rice.
- Chana Dal foams, so if you double/triple the recipe make sure to only fill up to half of the pot.
- Make Spinach Chana Dal - Add spinach after opening the instant pot, right after pressure cooking. Cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Vegan Variation: To keep this recipe vegan, don't use ghee.
- Gluten free Variation: Use gluten-free asafoetida or skip it.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
A lovely heart meal and super easy!
Barbara Duggal says
I have been looking for a good Instant Pot Chana dal recipe and this one is wonderful. By the way, it doubles easily in my 6 quart model. I’ll be trying many of the other recipes on your site. Thank you!
Piping Pot Curry says
Hi Barbara, So happy to hear that. Thank you for sharing 😀
What type of onions do you use?
Meeta Arora says
Hi Kimberley, I usually use yellow onions for lentils and curries. Hope you enjoy the Chana Dal!
Wow, absolutely amazing. Such a quick process and absolutely delicious--thank you!
Piping Pot Curry says
Hi Aimee - So happy to hear that 🙂