Delhi Dhaba-Style Chana Daal Tadka

After Pakodewali Kadhi, Chana Daal Tadka is the OH’s favourite go-to food while he is in Delhi on work. This kind of daal tadka made using chana daal (instead of the regular toor daal or masoor dal) is commonly made in Delhi and Punjab, and is a huge hit with the people dining at roadside dhabas here. Whenever I visit Delhi, I usually try to get my hands on this dal tadka at least once, at a dhaba.

The chana daal gives the dish a lovely taste, we think, and it is a nice change from the toor daal tadka that is made commonly in our house. Post a couple of visits to Delhi by me and several scores of visits by the OH, this chana daal tadka has become a regular fixture in our kitchen, too. I make it every now and then, whenever I need a change from our routine South Indian foods, and whenever I start missing the glorious food scene of Delhi too much. πŸ™‚

How did I learn to make the chana daal tadka? Difficult question. I learnt by combination of some research on the Internet, some experiments in my home kitchen, and interactions with a few acquaintances in Delhi. Now, I have the recipe pinned down, and ready follow whenever I need it. This self-taught recipe is what I am here to tell you all about, today.


Here is how I make the dish:

Ingredients (good for 3-4 servings):

1-1/2 cups of chana dal (soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes)

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped finely

1 large onion, chopped finely

3-4 green chillies, slit length-wise

A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled

4-5 medium-sized cloves of garlic, peeled

A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely

2 tablespoons kasuri methi

2 tablespoons oil

A pinch of asafoetida

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds

Salt, to taste

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Red chilli powder, to taste

1 tablespoon amchoor powder

2 tablespoons garam masala

1 tablespoon coriander powder


  1. Drain out the excess water from the chana daal. Add just enough fresh water to cover the chana daal and pressure cook. Give it about 4 whistles. Once the pressure releases entirely, take the chana daal out of the cooker and let it cool down completely.
  2. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste. Keep aside.
  3. In a deep-bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter.
  4. Now, add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida to the pan. Let the cumin seeds sizzle for a second or two.
  5. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on a medium flame till they start turning brown.
  6. Now, add the ginger-garlic paste and the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Adding a little water if necessary, cook on a medium flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  7. Add the slit green chillies, the cooked chana daal, salt and red chilli powder to taste, sugar, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder and amchoor powder, along with the required amount of water to bring the daal to the consistency that you like.
  8. Let the mixture cook on a medium flame for 7-10 minutes, stirring intermittently. At this stage, check seasonings and add if required.
  9. Add the kasoori methi and the finely chopped coriander. Mix well.
  10. Let the daal cook for a couple more minutes on a medium flame, and then take off heat.
  11. If you want to, you can add a dash of lemon juice to the daal at this stage, but that is purely optional.
  12. Serve hot with rotis or plain rice. Enjoy!

Do you make chana daal tadka at home, too? How do you make it?




10 thoughts on “Delhi Dhaba-Style Chana Daal Tadka

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