If you have not heard of Chana Dal before, it is the chick pea (garbanzo bean), split in half with the skin removed. This recipe blends the best of both worlds using both the Chana Dal along with Mung Dal (the yellow split mung bean), creating an amazing flavor, texture, and incredibly long list of nutrients and health benefits. Since many individuals are trying to reduce their grain consumption, this recipe is a great option, as I have added a long list of colorful veggies that will make you forget grains are even missing. Of course if you love your basmati rice (or quinoa!), this dal recipe can easily (and deliciously) be served over a healthy grain of your choice!
Although this recipe can be eaten anytime, it is a bit more specific for the summer or springtime, as the veggies listed are seasonally grown, and the overall energetic of the meal is cooling. Being cooling, it is a great recipe option for Pitta types. However being grain-free, fiber packed and filled with healthy lean protein, this recipe is equally as beneficial for Kapha types (and weight loss therapies!). Vata can partake, although Chana Dal may produce excessive gas in some Vata types. In these cases the Chana Dal should be replaced with extra Mung Dal which tends to be easier to digest.
The list of health benefits of this recipe are numerous but here are some of the most notable:
- High in multiple nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins
- Great source of dietary fiber
- Reduces appetite levels by keeping you full longer (great meal option for weight loss programs!)
- High in cancer-fighting, anti-aging antioxidants
- Cooling recipe perfect for late spring, summer and during Pitta imbalances
- Uses a wide variety of fresh, colorful, seasonal vegetables
- Balances blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance
- Improves heart health, reduces cholesterol levels
- Improves colon health and promotes healthy elimination
- Spices involved provide numerous health benefits such as reducing inflammation, flushing toxins, increasing circulation, boosting immunity, increasing the digestion and allowing better absorption of nutrients (see a full list of health benefits for these and other kitchen spices here)
- Doshic effect: Vata↓*, Pitta↓, Kapha↓ *Vata types should replace the Chana Dal with extra Mung Dal if gas or bloating occur
- Serving: 2-4, depending on portion size
- Time: 60-70 minutes (includes preparation and cooking time)
- Gluten-Free, Vegetarian (can be made Vegan)
- Large sauce pan
- Cutting board and knife
- 6 cups of filtered water
- 1/2 cup of organic Mung Dal (I recommend the Organic Tattva brand), soaked overnight (optional but recommended)
- 1/2 cup of organic Chana Dal (I recommend the Organic Tattva brand), soaked overnight (optional but recommended)
- 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
- 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/2 cup chopped kale
- 1/4 cup sliced carrots
- 4-5 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (all tomatoes and other nightshades should be avoided by those with an inflammatory condition)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Juice from one fresh lime
- 1-2 Tbsp of shredded coconut
- 1 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed*
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed*
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder*
- 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1-2 tsp fresh turmeric, finely grated (substitute with 1/2-1 tsp powdered turmeric if needed)*
- 5 black peppercorns, freshly ground
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt (more or less to taste)
1. Place one Tbsp of ghee or coconut oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the cumin seed, coriander powder, fennel seed and black pepper (or replace with Agni Churna or Pitta Churna). Stirring frequently, sauté the spices for about 2 minutes allowing them to slightly roast without burning.
2. Add in the filtered water and turn the heat to high until the water comes to a boil.
3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and add in the Chana Dal and Mung Dal. Cook here for 30 minutes keeping the pot covered, leaving a small crack to avoid overflow. Stir every 10 minutes.
4. While the beans are cooking begin to wash and chop the zucchini, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, carrots and cherry tomatoes.
5. After the 30 minutes has passed add in the vegetables listed. Continue to cook at a low temp for an additional 15-20 minutes, keeping the pot covered and leaving a small crack to avoid overflow. Stir every 7-10 minutes.
6. While this final cooking process is happening, chop the cilantro and grate the fresh ginger and turmeric.
7. After the dal and veggies have been cooking for 15 minutes, check to see if they are are at a good texture. The beans should be soft and mushy but not overcooked. The veggies should also be soft, yet still vibrant in color. If the veggies have lost their color and look dull, they are overcooked.
8. If there is any hardness left, continue to cook for as long as needed to acquire the desired soft consistency, checking every 3-5 minutes to avoid overcooking. Cooking the beans and veggies to a softer texture allows for easier digestion.
9. Once the desired consistency has been reached, remove from the heat. Add in the cilantro, fresh lime juice, grated ginger, coconut, grated turmeric (or turmeric powder) and salt.
10. This dal recipe is a great meal all in itself and can simply be served as is for a tasty, delicious and filling grain-free meal. However, other options include serving over a small portion of basmati rice or quinoa (or any grain of choice), or eating the dal with a side of chapati, roti, dosa or bread of choice. No matter what- eat, enjoy and share with loved ones!
- Feel free to garnish each bowl with some additional chopped cilantro, shredded coconut and ghee for a beautiful look and even better taste!
- If you are preparing this dish in the fall or winter season, warm it up a bit with brown mustard seed, dry ginger (instead of fresh), extra black pepper, a small spoonful of tahini (yum!), sesame oil (instead of ghee) and/or a cinnamon stick or two.
- If the listed vegetables are not available, replace with some veggies that are. The most important factor is to use a wide variety with multiple colors and to use seasonal options (i.e. root veggies in the fall, asparagus in the spring, etc).
- If the Chana Dal creates gas or bloating (as it does in some individuals) replace them with extra Mung Dal.
- Feel free to serve over basmati rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats or any grain of choice if preferred.