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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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tree nut

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  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)
    vegetable oil
  • 2
    medium onions, chopped
  • 4
    cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g)
    fresh ginger, minced
  • 1
    red hot chili pepper, minced
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g)
    curry powder
  • 2 tsp (6 g)
    ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp (2 g)
  • ½ tsp
  • 1½ cups (300 g)
    dry chana dal, soaked overnight
  • 2 cups (480 mL)
  • 1
    vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1½ cups (285 g)
    uncooked brown rice, soaked overnight
  • 2 cups (480 mL)
  • 1⅔ cups (399 mL)
    canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1
    yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1
    red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup (149 g)
    cherry tomatoes, halved

Optional toppings

  • fresh cilantro
  • chili flakes
  • lemon slice


  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 3 more minutes.
  3. Drop the heat to medium, and add the curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, and salt. Stir continuously for 30 - 60 seconds to toast the spices.
  4. Add the water, drained chana dal, and bouillon. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and partially cover. Cook for 30 - 40 minutes, or until the dal is al dente*. Stir periodically.
  5. Meanwhile, add the drained rice and water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes. Then remove from the heat and leave covered.
  6. Taste test the dal. When fully cooked through, add the coconut milk and bell peppers. Cook uncovered for 10 more minutes.
  7. Then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve the dal with the rice, and garnish as desired. Enjoy!


  • Chana dal (split chickpeas) needs to be soaked overnight before cooking unless you're using a pressure cooker.
  • * Decrease the cooking time to 15 minutes if using yellow or red lentils.


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 onion

clove garlic

fresh ginger

red hot chili pepper

yellow bell pepper

red bell pepper

cherry tomato

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

Laura - Feb. 20, 2024, 2:06 a.m.

I decided I wanted a curry with chickpeas. I also knew I wanted to use curry leaves which I have in my freezer for when I get a craving.
I never fully follow a recipe as I'm rather chaotic in the kitchen always using whatever I have on hand.
So I used frozen dried cauliflower instead of garlic, shallots instead of onion. Added spinach and tomato passata. Curry leaves instead of curry powder and a bit of fenugreek.
I ate two bowls and my craving is so satisfied. I love watching your channel and trying some of the recipes, I love that you encourage us to use whatever veggies we have on hand. It makes it such a welcoming vibe.

PUL Team - Feb. 20, 2024, 6:34 p.m.

Hey Laura, your twist on the curry sounds delicious! Glad you enjoyed it, and it's wonderful to hear you appreciate the flexibility in recipes 🤗

Maria - Jan. 28, 2024, 5:10 p.m.

My go to meal on a weekly! Tasteful and warms the soul!

Tessa - Dec. 10, 2023, 12:57 p.m.

Delicious! Tried it with red lentils and it was superb

Andi - Dec. 6, 2023, 5:34 p.m.

This is amazing! I have to admit I was skeptical at first, seemed too simple to be this good, but it's really this good, sooo flavourful, I love it.

PUL Team - Dec. 8, 2023, 7:38 p.m.

We're so thrilled that the chana dal was enjoyed, Andi, thank you! 🤩

Deeroy - Dec. 1, 2023, 11:52 p.m.

I loved it! So healthy and filling.

Lucky - Nov. 27, 2023, 12:19 a.m.

Soooo good! Warming, comforting, and gentle on the digestive system. Perfect meal to have after a heavy Thanksgiving festivities.

PUL Team - Nov. 27, 2023, 1:22 a.m.

We're so glad that the chana dal was enjoyed, Lucky, thank you! 😃

Sue - Nov. 6, 2023, 1:52 p.m.

I just made this today. It was super delicious! Thank you for sharing this amazing receipe

Tereza Nováková - Oct. 17, 2023, 7:07 p.m.

Great, delicious and quick cuz I had at home just red lentils ☺️💪

Ann - Aug. 31, 2023, 9:30 a.m.

Hi, I'm from Bruges in Belgium and our daughter lives in upstate NY. As I am a vegetarian, she made this dish, with lots of love and enthousiasm, for us , the first time we visited their new home ; so I have pretty good memories and feelings about this dish, it is very special to me ;-)

PUL Team - Aug. 31, 2023, 11:27 p.m.

Aww what a special gathering, Ann, we're honoured the chana dal was part of the get together 🙌

Sumeesha - July 18, 2023, 7:38 p.m.

Pretty tasty

Reyes - July 16, 2023, 4:22 p.m.

Amazing!!!! 😍😍😍

Liz - June 16, 2023, 12:29 a.m.

Do you think this could be successfully frozen? Thank you!

PUL Team - June 16, 2023, 5:36 p.m.

Hey Liz, we didn't test it out for this recipe but we suspect it would freeze well :)

Brandi D. - June 13, 2023, 3:36 a.m.

This is DELICIIIIIOUSSSSSS! thank you for the recipe and clean ingredients!

IzzieO - May 7, 2023, 7:09 p.m.

Did anyone have trouble cooking the Chana Dal? I followed the instructions to the letter and even left them to soak overnight for 24h but they are still practically raw...

PUL Team - May 8, 2023, 6:11 p.m.

Hey IzzieO, so sorry to hear about the troubles with the recipe! If you're using an older batch of chana dal, it may take longer to cook. In this case, you can add a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water or the cooking water, which can help to soften the dal. I'm also wondering if you might be using kala chana or a similar legume instead of chana dal? Kala chana looks similar to chana dal but takes longer to cook. We hope this helps for now, and you were able to enjoy the recipe 🙂

Izzie - May 9, 2023, 6:35 p.m.

Thanks so much for your suggestion. Yes it could be possible that it was badly translated in the asian store where I bought it. I will take care next time. In the end I used a pressure cooker and they eventually became more edible, and in any case the rest was really tasty so it was worth the struggle! I think I will try it with good old lentils next time.

Amira - April 12, 2023, 3:01 p.m.

This is so good! We used red lentils and added some fresh spinach at the end

Toshka - March 29, 2023, 8:09 p.m.

Simple, delicious and easy to tweak - I love this site!

Rose - Jan. 17, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

Delicious, a comforting meal, perfect for cold days ! Thank you for all the creative meal ideas and all the work you put in your youtube channel and in this website :)

PUL Team - Jan. 18, 2023, 1:03 a.m.

Thank you, Rose, it means so much!

Rudri - Jan. 14, 2023, 10:37 a.m.

Thank you for this delicious recipe! Having cooked chana dal without using coconut milk before, I was quite curious to know what the combination would taste like. I have to say, I like to cook chana dal only with coconut milk now! It's really such a flavourful and warm, comforting dish. It was well enjoyed at home too! :)

PUL Team - Jan. 14, 2023, 11:50 p.m.

Awe we're so happy to hear the recipe is being enjoyed, Rudri!

Katha - Dec. 11, 2022, 1:34 p.m.

Super tasty.

T - Oct. 25, 2022, 2:54 a.m.

I've loved this one for a long time! It's not too much like a curry and it's very warm and homey

PUL Team - Oct. 25, 2022, 7:14 a.m.

So thrilled it's being enjoyed, T, thank you!

Ella - Sept. 8, 2022, 2:20 a.m.

Very yummy! We made this tonight at a friend's apartment and it was super warm and comforting. A few changes: lentils instead of chana daal, a can of diced tomatoes + 1 whole tomato, a little bit of finely chopped cabbage, and a handful of frozen peas that needed to be used up. The flavor was wonderful.

PUL Team - Sept. 8, 2022, 10:49 p.m.

Lovely modifications, Ella, thanks for the ideas! We're so glad it was enjoyed!

Samiya - Sept. 1, 2022, 7:10 a.m.

Hello lovely people,
this is so yum! I love it. You have greatly inspired me to eat healthy. Thanks a bunch for that.

PUL Team - Sept. 2, 2022, 4:42 a.m.

Oh, Samiya, thank YOU for the kind words and for being part of our PUL family 💛

Rylie - July 11, 2022, 7:34 p.m.

Yum! Yum! Yum! This recipe is a new staple for my family and I. Pick Up Limes has made it so easy to incorporate many new healthy, delicious and vegan meals into our diets. I have not found one meal that disappoints!

PUL Team - July 12, 2022, 4:30 p.m.

A huge compliment, Rylie, thanks a bunch!

Madeleine - July 1, 2022, 2:52 p.m.

A great recipe I have cooked multiple times. Because I wasn't in the mood for rice today, I added about 900g cubed potatoes, 250ml extra water, an additional tsp of salt and a tbsp of soysauce to the dal. Furthermore I switched 1 bellpepper for 250g frozen spinach. Adding lemon juice in the end is a must in my opinion, as it brightens the whole dish.

PUL Team - July 1, 2022, 8:42 p.m.

Oooh this sounds delicious, Madeleine! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with it ☺️

Thomas - June 11, 2022, 6:41 a.m.

Can I used tinned chickpeas for this?

PUL Team - June 15, 2022, 2:55 a.m.

Hey Thomas, you could if desired. Canned chickpeas are often pre-cooked so you wouldn't need to cook the dish for nearly as long and it would be best to give the dish a taste and adjust the spices as needed. Chickpeas are larger than the lentils and split chickpeas so the texture will also be a tad different 🙂

sadie - June 9, 2022, 7:27 p.m.

Hello, Good People,
This looks so doable and delicious! Sadly, I am allergic to coconut anything. Would there be another ingredient for a swap that might yield a similar end product? Thank you again for the vegan inspo! I pop back to PUL time and again for all things yummy and creative. Cheers, sadie

PUL Team - June 10, 2022, 11:04 p.m.

Hey there, Sadie, the coconut milk helps contribute to creaminess and taste of the curry. An alternative unsweetened plant milk such as soy and oat milk, or cream such as cashew cream may work nicely. You could add extra plant-creamer or pulverized cashews for thickness if desired. We'd also recommend giving the dal a taste and adjusting the spices as needed 🤗

Thomas - June 5, 2022, 10:11 p.m.

Made this a few times, outstanding!

Lost my big casserole dish ... is there a way to cook this in a slow cooker?

PUL Team - June 6, 2022, 8:39 p.m.

Hi there, Thomas, oh no! We haven't tested it out in a slow cooker although imagine it would work. Perhaps looking into slow cooker curry recipes may be helpful to provide insight on steps and timing. We'd love to hear how it goes if you experiment with it 🙂

Joyce - May 8, 2022, 1:16 p.m.

We make this once or twice a month and add the suggested cauliflower. It then allows us to eat it for lunch the day after since it's more than enough. And curry is always so good the day after :)

PUL Team - May 8, 2022, 7:49 p.m.

Hey Joyce, thanks for sharing your experience with it! So happy it's being enjoyed :)

selina - March 21, 2022, 10:15 a.m.

My whole kitchen smelled like an Indian restaurant for a whole day but that was WORTH it. The consistency was so creamy and yummy, i will definitely make it again in the future. When i saw the split peas in my asian food store i had to get it, because i saw Sadia use it in a recipe. I’m so glad i did that. Since i also had carrots and spinach at home and had to use them up, i added it to the recipe. Definitely works here.
Thank you for the great recipe!

PUL Team - March 23, 2022, 3:05 a.m.

Aw we're so thrilled the recipe was enjoyed, Selina, it means so much! Thank you ✨

Chris - March 15, 2022, 3:15 a.m.

Delicious! Super easy. Tip: soak/freeze chana dal in bulk then defrost and use as you need.

PUL Team - March 15, 2022, 6:08 p.m.

Thanks for the tip, Chris! Do let us know if you have any other other feedback :)

Harsha - Feb. 24, 2022, 9:59 a.m.

You've missed out salt in the written recepie 😊

PUL Team - Feb. 25, 2022, 1:34 a.m.

Oh my great eye, Harsha, and thank you for the heads up! Apologies for any confusion that caused. We've updated the recipe to include it ☺️

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 😄