Romy’s Chana Dal

Romy Gill is a chef, businesswoman, writer, wife, mother and runner!
She focuses on the nutrition and healthy aspects of Indian cooking.
Twitter: @romyskitchen
Facebook: Romy’s Kitchen

Passionate about good health, Romy has lost a great deal of weight and devised her recipes – ‘Curries without Calories’ – to complement her own branded range of pickles and sauces.

Romy has performed in food festivals all over the country, has appeared on TV and used to be a presenter on a local radio station Thornbury FM.

She is proud to be heavily involved in youth culture and gives talks and cookery demonstrations in schools and cookery classes, where she discusses how food is grown, the importance of eating seasonal food and its impact on the environment.

Romy will open her first restaurant – Romy’s Kitchen – in the autumn. Watch this space!

Dal is favourite of both my customers and mine because it’s loved by not only the vegetarians but meat lovers too. Within the Indian community dal is a must as it is versatile as a standalone or as a complement to a dish. Depending on where you are, dal is cooked in very different ways, but at the end of the day lentils and pulses are very healthy and so it does not really matter how you cook it.

I love this particular recipe due to the different flavour of spices, blending excellently with onions, ginger and garlic.


Serves 4


  • 250g chana dal
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp fresh corriander
  • 500ml hot water
  • Salt and green chillies to taste


  1. Soak the chana dal in the cold water for 15-20 minutes and wash it in cold water so that all the starch comes out. Finely chop the red onions and grate the ginger and garlic and then put aside.
  2. On a medium heat and in a deep pan, cook the dal with turmeric and salt for 30 minutes.
  3. In another pan, heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds until they start popping. Add the chopped onions and soften slowly, taking care to make sure all of the onions are cooked, but make sure you don’t caramelise them. Add the grated garlic and ginger and cook for 6-7 minutes on a medium heat. Add crushed cumin and coriander seeds to the paste. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes, ensuring you keep stirring so that the paste does not burn.
  4. If the paste sticks to the base of the pan then add a few drops of hot water.
  5. Add the cooked chana dal and mix well in the paste. Cover the pan and cook on a very low heat for 2-3 minutes. You can add garam masala in some butter of ghee to give you a wonderful extra taste.

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