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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chana Dal w. Coconut Milk

Who do you think is a better faker Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze in the Usual Suspects or Matt Damon as Tom Ripley in the Talented Mr. Ripley (that movies has the most amazing location and wardrobe...)? Or maybe Johnny Depp as Donnie Brasco?

Well as dishes go this may be the best faker I've come up with. It's something I make every couple weeks because it takes 4 minutes (not kidding) and tastes like you spent your afternoon stirring a high maintenance pot of dal.The trick is the classic slow cooker. I know slow cookers are very "rubber meat stew" and "kinda good chili" but let me tell you, they really are wonderful when used creatively.

 photo above from hsa*ba

Chana Dal w. Coconut Milk
1 cup chana dal
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 can water
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
grated fresh ginger - as much as you like. I tend to use 12 grates from a microplane.
2 big pinches salt

Stir everything together in the slow cooker bowl. Put on low all day or high for half the day.  You know it's ready when the sauce is thickened and the dal is tender. Stir it when you walk through the kitchen.

Babies and toddlers may like this as well - it's soft, creamy, full of protein, and does not contain any high allergy foods.


  1. Oh my goodness that looks good!

    We eat a lot of lentils at home but usually mashed or in salads or in rice. I really shoud try this out!

  2. Yum! I love a good dal :) Perfect for this crisp fall weather!

  3. Do you think you could substitute yellow split peas for the Chana dal?

  4. Erika, yes for sure! I've used yellow split peas before and it is delicious. Let me know what you think.
    Happy Eating!

  5. I made this twice. First time in my rice cooker, then I bought a little slow cooker for 20 bucks (in Japan, the regular ones are upwards of $200!) It's just big enough for your recipe. Sarah, do you know the nutritional specs for this recipe? I'm on a bit of a diet so I used %75 fat reduced coconut milk. I'm just curious.


  6. Thanks so much for the recipe - I made this last night and really liked it. I served it on top of basmati rice, but it seemed a little bland. Not sure if that's because of the rice or because I used dried ginger instead of fresh. I've seen some other recipes that include cayenne, turmeric, cumin, and/or corriander. Have you ever added any other spices?

  7. James, sorry I don't know the full nutritional specs but check out this site - it allows you to enter each ingredient and the serving size and it will spit out the results. I'm not sure how accurate it is but interesting and helpful!

    Kimberly - I'm glad you liked it but am sorry it turned out a little bland. I agree that the fresh ginger adds a specific spice that the ground doesn't. And yes I've added a couple pinches of my favorite spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cinnamon etc.) and that is delicious too - experiment! Another way to add a kick of flavor it to top the dal with chutney. I like spicy mango or a spicy cilantro (both sold at Indian markets among other places).

    Happy eating!


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