Healthy Chana Daal with Tomatoes



When I started this blog, initially my vision was only to share the recipes without paying much attention to what goes into it. I believed in working out to burn the calories. I was not the one for dieting and I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was eating. Over the time as I grow older and my children are growing up I realize that my family not only needs to eat fresh and seasonal food but I also need to pay attention to how healthy our food is. I made little changes in our diet which really have been showing the difference in terms of how much more energy I have and how focused I stay on the tasks at hand. Although the kids still eat as many carbs as they like, me and my husband are changing our carb-heavy dinners. We eat dinner sometimes fairly late and eating a lot of carbs at that time was starting to take its toll. I came across this Daal preparation in one of my favorite books, Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian. Her version is more spicy so I toned it down and changed the recipe around so it can be eaten without the side a Rice thus avoiding the starch. So if you feel like eating Indian food but are not willing to compromise on your low carb diet, this is the recipe for you.

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  • Chana Daal dry 2 cups
  • Onion 1 medium chopped
  • Tomatoes 2 medium chopped
  • Oil 2 Tbsp
  • Red Chilies 2 (optional)
  • Mustard seeds 3/4 tsp
  • Cumin Powder 11/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic paste 1 tsp
  • Garlic minced 1 Tbsp
  • Salt
  • Bay leaf 1 whole large
  • Cilantro leaves (Coriander leaves) for garnish



  • Wash Chana Daal with at least 2 changes of water.
  • Soak Chana Daal for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Make sure the water is at least the amount of Daal.

Pressure Cooker method

  1. In a pressure cooker, add 1 Tbsp of oil and let it heat on medium flame. Add Mustard seeds. Let the seeds crackle.
  2. Add Bay Leaf and Turmeric Powder.
  3. In a couple of seconds, add Onion and Tomatoes together. Let it saute for 3-4 minutes. Onion will not burn because of water in Tomatoes but make sure to saute frequently.
  4. Add Daal and saute on medium flame for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add 3 times the water than Daal quantity. If you have 2 cups of daal then add 6 cups of water. If there is extra water, that is acceptable but if you add less water, Daal will burn. Daal also absorbs water after cooking.
  6. Add Cumin and Coriander powder, Add Ginger Garlic paste and Salt.
  7. Let Daal cook under pressure for up to 5 whistles. or in a non-vented position for 20 minutes. Do not release the pressure manually.

Slow-cooker method

If you are using only Slow Cooker (not Insta-pot), prepare the mixture in a separate sauce pan (follow steps 1-6). After step 6, add the mixture in the slow cooker and let cook on medium for about 4 hours.

Instapot method  (recommended)

Follow steps 1 to 6 in the Instapot on Saute function. Once you add the water, push the slow cooking button and cook on medium for 4 hours. I personally prefer this method because I don’t have to use separate pans and the flavor from slow cooking is more enticing than quick cooking method.

When you are ready to eat, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a small sauce pan, add cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add minced Garlic and red chilies. Let the Garlic cook but make sure it doesn’t turn brown. If it burns, it will taste bitter. Once ready, pour over Daal and mix. I like to eat this with a side salad but you can totally have it with couple of fresh rotis.



2 thoughts on “Healthy Chana Daal with Tomatoes

  1. I’ve been eating low carb for quite some time and my recipes have become boring. This one will spice it up! Thanks.

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