Main image of Creamy Coconut Chana Dal

Creamy Coconut Chana Dal

1 hr


This recipe calls for soaking both the brown rice and the chana dal (also known as split chickpeas) the night before. If you don't have time to soak, not to worry! Simply swap out the brown rice for white rice or quinoa, and swap out the chana dal for red lentils, and then this meal comes together in only 30 minutes! It's a comforting and flavour-packed meal, perfect for warming you up on chilly autumn or winter nights.



1 hr


10 min


50 min

Free from

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  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)
    vegetable oil
  • 2
    yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4
    cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g)
    fresh ginger, minced
  • 1
    red hot chili, minced
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g)
    curry powder
  • 2 tsp (6 g)
    ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp (2 g)
  • 2 cups (480 mL)
    boiling water
  • 1½ cups (270 g)
    dry chana dal, soaked overnight*
  • 1
    vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1½ cups (278 g)
    uncooked brown rice, soaked overnight
  • 1⅔ cups (399 mL)
    canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1
    red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1
    yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup (180 g)
    cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Optional toppings

  • chili flakes
  • fresh cilantro
  • lemon slices
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  1. Add oil to a large pot on high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add splashes of water as needed to deglaze the pot.
  2. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper and sauté for 2 - 3 minutes more.
  3. Drop the heat to medium, and add the curry powder, turmeric, and garam masala, and stir continuously for 30 seconds to toast the spices.
  4. Add the boiling water, drained chana dal, and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer with the lid partially covered. Let cook for 30 - 40 minutes until the chana dal is soft and cooked through, stirring every 10 minutes to avoid burning. If the dal is looking dry and is not yet cooked, add a splash of water as needed.
  5. In the meantime, add the soaked and drained rice to a medium pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covered with a lid and cook until rice is fluffy.
  6. Taste test the dal. When fully cooked through, add the coconut milk, and bell peppers, and cook for 10 minutes more with the lid uncovered.
  7. Then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Serve the dal with rice, and top with chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.


  • * Also known as split chickpeas, chana dal is a larger-sized legume, so it needs to be soaked overnight before cooking (unless you're using a pressure cooker). If you want to skip the soaking step, feel free to use yellow or red lentils. In that case, decrease the cooking time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.
  • Variations: add any other vegetables you like, such as zucchini, cauliflower, potato, sweet potato or mushrooms. This is a very versatile recipe!


Plate method

The Plate Method is a visual tool that helps us ensure our dietary needs are on track. Touch the image below to see how this recipe measures up.

Grains 31%

uncooked brown rice

Proteins 33%

dry chana dal

Fruits & Veggies 36%

yellow onion

clove garlic

fresh ginger

red hot chili

red bell pepper

yellow bell pepper

cherry tomatoes

No significant sources of calcium

vegetable oil

canned full-fat coconut milk

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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Discussion & Rating

Rate this post

Madhura - April 29, 2021, 8:32 a.m.

I hadn't imagined dal to be so tasty, it's one of go-to batch cooking recipe.

Tammy - April 19, 2021, 11:29 p.m.

I’ve made this a few times now— it’s so good that I’m always tempted to drink it up straight like soup. The latest batch that I made last night was with spinach and tomato, and may be my favorite vegetable variant so far. One thing I’d add is that the instructions don’t include adding any salt. I personally add a few large pinches (maybe 1-1.5 T?) of kosher salt to the batch, preferably when the bouillon is added.

PUL Team - April 20, 2021, 6:08 a.m.

Thanks for taking the time to share this with us, Tammy! We're glad you've enjoyed the dal 😄