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
    medium 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!


Let us know what you think

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 & Starches 31%

uncooked brown rice

Proteins 33%

dry chana dal

Fruits & Veggies 36%

medium 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

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Anu - Jan. 9, 2022, 10:22 p.m.

Hi Sadia, i tried this recipe today and it was so nourishing and delicious 🤤. Thank you for sharing this wonderful dish.

PUL Team - Jan. 10, 2022, 3:32 a.m.

Hey there, Anu, thank you for the kind words! Enjoy the dal 🤗

Jenny - Dec. 1, 2021, 2:36 a.m.

I have done this recipe many times and it is always fantastic. I use an instant pot to pressure cook my chana dal beforehand because I found them really hard otherwise.
Thank you, Sadia and Pickup Limes team! All your recipes are great! ❤️

PUL Team - Dec. 1, 2021, 3:21 a.m.

A lovely idea to use a pressure cooker, Jenny! So glad the PUL recipes are being enjoyed too 💚

Bree - Oct. 25, 2021, 4:36 a.m.

We love this recipe and its so easy to add in whatever veggies we have a home. Thank you!

PUL Team - Oct. 26, 2021, 5:12 a.m.

We appreciate this so much, Bree, thank YOU 😃

Ginka - Aug. 30, 2021, 5:57 p.m.

Hi, I love your curries! Would I get the same results with split peas? Thanks!
P.S. For some reason, I can't subscribe for your newsletters, I am using the link but can't find the box where to write down my e-mail.....

PUL Team - Aug. 31, 2021, 2:08 a.m.

Hi Ginka, thank you for the kind words and questions! We haven't tested it out, but split peas should work. You may need to reduce the cooking time to prevent them from getting mushy though based on your preferences 🙂

The box to enter your email and information for our newsletter can be found on the right side of the screen under the 'Newsletter Signup" title and description at: If you're not able to see the box, we kindly request you to email us at [email protected] so we can support you further 🌻

Taiwanese Papaya - Aug. 20, 2021, 6:43 a.m.

This is so tasty! I am new to the curry world and really loved this one. Its really nourishing, feel-good kind of food. Thank you so much for this recipe!

PUL Team - Aug. 23, 2021, 9:13 p.m.

So thrilled you're enjoying the recipe!

Katherine Vorster - July 25, 2021, 7:06 p.m.

I had never made any type of curry before but this was so simple and so delicious.
Definitely a must have on anyone's go-to recipes.
A real comfort food type of dish.

PUL Team - July 27, 2021, 5:36 p.m.

We appreciate this so much, Katherine, and so happy you enjoyed the chana dal 😊

Meg - July 25, 2021, 4:28 p.m.

As soon as we made this it became a go-to recipe in our house. It's SO SO good! It's warm and comforting (perfect for winter), but we actually discovered it in summer and it's equally as enjoyable in the hot weather.

PUL Team - July 27, 2021, 3:14 a.m.

So wonderful to hear, Meg, thank you for taking the time to share!

Mimmi - July 22, 2021, 9:23 p.m.

This is my go-to curry (I use lentils) and I think I make maybe once a month. So good with so much flavor! Love it!

Olivia - July 14, 2021, 8:41 p.m.

Sooo good and easy to make.
I looove curries, but I always thought they are heavy and difficult to prepare. But this vegan option is so light and easy to prepare that I loved it from the first try.
It's always the best option when I want something quick, warm and nourishing. 💚

PUL Team - July 18, 2021, 1:28 a.m.

We're so thrilled you're enjoying the curry, Olivia! Happy cooking 🙂💖

Eva - July 12, 2021, 6:05 p.m.

I bought chana dal for the first time for this recipe and. Oh. My. Goodness!
Now I have a 3kg bag of them in my pantry to make this recipe whenever I want! It is really good!

PUL Team - July 16, 2021, 3:33 a.m.

You're all stocked up! So glad you enjoyed it, Eva 😃

Céline - July 10, 2021, 11:03 p.m.

This is amazing! I don't even know how it tastes with chana dal because I didn't find any. But it is still tasty when you use lentils instead. And I don't put the cherry tomatoes in the end because I prefer it without.

PUL Team - July 16, 2021, 5:53 a.m.

So happy you were able to adjust the recipe, Céline! Thanks for the wonderful review :)

Charlotte - July 10, 2021, 11:18 a.m.

Love this recipe, it has been my go to as of late! I make it on Sunday so that I have meals for half the week (I increase the recipe slightly, love that new feature.) I tend to add potatoes and mushrooms to it as well. So delicious, I highly recommend people trying it out 🤤

PUL Team - July 15, 2021, 7:40 a.m.

We're so happy to hear you're enjoying the new website features and the chana dal! It means so much, Charlotte 🥰

Tetiana - July 10, 2021, 9:57 a.m.

It is absolutely the most warm and creamy meal for chilly days even in summer. I make it at least once or twice in a month! Thank you :)

PUL Team - July 15, 2021, 5:41 a.m.

So happy you're enjoying this one, Tetiana, happy cooking 🤗

Samantha - July 8, 2021, 10:42 p.m.

I loved this meal, it was so easy to make and my boyfriend who is skeptical of my daal capabilities said it was super good and would eat it again!

Akina - June 2, 2021, 3:22 p.m.

Sooo good

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 😄