Bootor dali (split chickpeas dal)

by Sunita on June 7, 2010

Hello everyone! Hope all of you have had a refreshing weekend. Last week was half term for the kids, and so, haven’t been able to update the blog as much as I would have loved to. But, thanks for dropping by and leaving your marks; highly appreciated.

But there’s no half term in the kitchen, its’ as busy as ever; with ever hungry kids around, what do you expect? Now I adore experimenting with food, trying out new flavours, throwing random ingredients together. But, ever so often, I want to replicate all those dishes that I grew up on. The ones that I’ve seen ma make for us. Sometimes, those cravings die an early death, due to the lack of ingredients. But, at other times, a quick rummage through the cupboards reveals everything that is needed to whip up that dish, the taste of which still lingers in the mouth.

The following recipe for bootor dali ( chana dal/split chickpeas dal) is what we had for our lunch yesterday. This is how my ma used to make, a thick dal to be scooped up with poories( deep fried puffed Indian breads) or rotis (an Indian flatbread); usually it is the latter. In the picture below, the dal looks quite thick, but I had actually made it a bit thinner. This was the last little bit left, it had turned cold,and had thickened some more. Just mentioning this in case you do not see yours resemble mine as soon as you’ve finished cooking.

Ma added a little masur dal( split red lentils) as well. The red lentils cook faster than the split chickpeas, and helps in thickening the dal. Here’s how I made it in my kitchen, trying to remember how it was done in my ma’s.

What’s needed-

Bootor dali/chana dal/split chickpeas

1 and a 1/2 C bootor dali( chana dal/split chickpeas)+1/4 C masur dali ( split red lentils), washed and drained completely
1 small onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 green chilli, the stalk removed and slit half way from the thicker end
1 level tsp grated jaggery/sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp sunflower/vegetable oil
salt to taste
2 tblsp of chopped coriander+ a little extra for garnishing
hot water

for tempering-

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 whole red chilli, halved
1 bay leaf

How to-

  1. Make a paste of the onions, ginger and garlic together.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add the ingredients for tempering.
  3. Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste along with the turmeric and cumin powders. Stir constantly till the mixture thickens and most of the moisture has evaporated.
  4. Add the mixed pulses, jaggery and the green chilli and stir till they are nicely coated with the spices and start to brown.
  5. Add the water up to an inch above the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. ***Transfer the ingredients to a pressure cooker and close the lid. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 4 whistles.
  6. Remove from heat and let the pressure subside by itself  before opening the lid.
  7. Place over heat. Add the garma masala and the 2 tblsp of chopped coriander. If the mixture has thickened too much, add a little more water. Bring everything to a boil and remove from heat.
  8. Serve hot with some Indian flat bread and a fresh salad. Garnish with a little chopped coriander .

***If you do not have a pressure cooker, cool the dal in the pan itself. Cover and reduce the heat to low, checking every now and then till cooked.This will take a little longer than the pressure cooker. If the water evaporates before the dal is cooked, add more water.

We had ours with some roti and a fresh salad. This was supposed to be a simple, comfort  meal after days of over eating. But, to be honest, we ended over eating this time too! ;-)

Take care everyone, hope to come back with something else soon !

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosa June 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm

That spicy dish looks so good! Pulses are marvelous….




2 Happy Cook June 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I can imagine doing exactly what you have done in the last pic :-) Dal looks absloutley dleicous.


3 sarah June 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Hmm, looks tasty. I have been trying to recreate a lovely, smooth and satisfying dal for some time to no avail. Maybe your recipe is more authentic than the ones I have tried in the past, since it’s from your mother. :) Do you use split chickpeas instead of whole ones to speed up the cooking? Or is there another reason?


4 Sukanya June 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Dal looks so good. Nice recipe and pics. So mouthwatering….. YUM!!


5 Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal June 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Sunita, that is soooooooo tempting. I love chana dal in any form or shape :)


6 Oliver June 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Looks delicious and I will definitely try this recipe. What quantities of red lentils and chickpeas should I use, I can’t see this mention in the recipe.

Glad to have found your blog!


7 Sunita June 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Thanks Oliver, for pointing out the error, have updated the post.Do give it a try.


8 Krista June 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Mmm, delish! I love dahl so much. :-) My aunt and uncle lived in Ethiopia for years and taught me how to make dahl. Now it’s one of my favorite things. This is lovely!


9 Oliver June 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Thanks Sunita, I just ordered my atta flour (for my poories) and red split lentils. Can’t wait to try!


10 Cynthia June 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Chick pea dal has a flavour and thickness that I love very much.


11 anita June 8, 2010 at 10:16 am

i love this dal! and every time i’ve tried to make it, something is amiss :-) mom’s version is of course, perfect… sigh. the attempt shall continue!


12 Cherine June 9, 2010 at 7:36 am

This looks delicious!


13 Aparna June 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Just discovered one more way of cooking chana dal. Ultimate comfort food, truly. :)


14 Lakshmi June 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Awesome dal ! mine looked the same and tasted hevenly….my 3rd old loved the dal..Thanks for the wonderful receipe


15 Suresh Ramasubramanian June 16, 2010 at 2:55 am

Saw this recipe linked off a friend’s facebook page. I’ve cooked the same thing using tur dal / split pigeon peas – works great.

What I did was to coat the dal in the spice powders (used sambhar powder, a pinch of asafoetida / hing powder and salt, plus a pinch of turmeric powder + a few drops of oil, didnt use garam masala). The sambar masala powder already has cumin, ginger, red chillies etc in it, so works great.

Then just fried the ginger, 2 green chillies, then garlic, then onions (putting them one on top of the other, in that order, into the frying pan on medium heat, olive oil instead of sunflower oil).

Once the onions started getting a bit pink and the garlic / ginger was a nice light brown I put the dal in, and continued with your recipe (though used low heat and at the end, I tipped in a little coconut milk I had leftover, didnt want to waste it).

Took that and put it into the cooker for 3 whistles (tur dal cooks far faster than chana dal).

Worked great, I must say.


16 Sunita June 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

Hi Suresh, glad you liked the recipe. And thanks for sharing your twist to it.


17 Jeanne @ CookSister! June 16, 2010 at 10:12 am

That looks wonderful – I also use red lentils to thicken things & they do work really well! You’ve just reminded me that we haven’t had a pulse meal yet this week :)


18 Oliver June 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Great recipe, I tried it a couple of days ago and it was delicious. I even made poories for the first time to go with it – they came out, much to my surprise, perfectly!

Many thanks for the recipe.


19 Sunita June 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Well done Oliver! Am so glad that you gave it a try and loved it.


20 Poppy June 4, 2011 at 12:08 am

Just made it this afternoon. Awesome, awesome, awsesome…..a keeper!!!!Thanks Sunita.


21 Rupali Bhuyan November 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

Would like to know the recipes with urad dal (mati maa)


22 Bhaskar December 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Hello Sunita ba, being an Assamese myself, i am too fond of bootor dali. :D . My mom used to add slices of tomato too, along with one half-ed potato. Won’t that be a wonderful addition?


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