Garam Masala Split Chickpeas ~ Chana ni Dal

January 2, 2016
Garam Masala Split Chickpeas ~ Chana ni Dal

Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions for the new year? I rarely do, but this year my resolution is to put up more posts on the blog! Of course, a common resolution is to eat healthy and exercise more. I have a theory that this happens because we go through several weeks of gluttony before the New Year rolls around. It all starts with Thanksgiving and proceeds forward with an onslaught of holiday cookies and sweet treats. Thus,  the New Year comes as perfect timing to make a change. To aid in this process, consider these delicious split chickpeas as a vibrant, flavor filled healthy dish. 


Garam Masala Split Chickpeas ~ Chana ni Dal

When I was a kid, this dish was rather standard fare and needless to say, I loved them. While we most often had this dish with some form of Indian flatbread, I found that this dish was well suited to any number of vehicles: toast, potato chips, pita chips, or simply a spoon! The dish is incredibly easy to make. After soaking the chickpeas, mix all of the ingredients together and simmer until the chickpeas are fully cooked! It’s a one pot dish that has is filled with slight sweetness from the onions, spiciness from the chilis, rich garlic, and of course the complexity of our family’s garam masala. As I’ve mentioned before, our garam masala is a key component to any of my family recipes. While you can use commercial garam masala, it may not carry the same flavor profile.

Garam Masala Split Chickpeas ~ Chana ni Dal

A quick note on the chickpeas: these split chickpeas are made from red chickpeas and are readily available at Indian grocery stores. Most people are familiar with the large, beige chickpeas that are readily available both dried and canned in most grocery stores. In my language, those are known as “kabuli chana”. We commonly use the small red chickpeas in many of our dishes, and it is these chickpeas that are split in half to make chana dal. This dish is well worth the trek out to your local Indian grocery store. They can also be bought online, including on Amazon! I hope you end up loving this dish as much as I do and I hope it adds some delicious flavor to your healthy eating resolution! Enjoy!

Garam Masala Split Chickpeas ~ Chana ni Dal


Garam Masala Split Chickpeas ~ Chana ni Dal

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: serves 4Total:

A healthy, delicious split chickpea dish fragrant with homemade garam masala.

You'll Need...


  1. Place the chana ni dal in a large bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for a few hours. If you do this in the morning, the dal will cook more quickly for dinner in the evening. Drain prior to using.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients including the soaked chana ni dal in a wide skillet. Stir well to combine. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and allow to simmer until the chana ni dal is cooked through and the onions are translucent with a slight golden hue. The chana ni dal when fully cooked should still retain its shape, but should compress with slight pressure between your fingers. Taste and adjust for salt.
  3. Garnish with cilantro. Squeeze lime juice to taste (I personally enjoy it a bit sour) and serve as a side, on toast, with flat bread, as a dip with pita chips, or simply with a spoon. Enjoy!

Additional Notes

If the onions are very strong and still retain some sharpness once the chana ni dal has cooked through, add some sugar to balance the flavors.

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  • Reply Suresh Hathiwala January 3, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Yum! You have enjoyed this remarkably simple and easy dish since your early childhood, and had often wondered out loud: why can we not use this as a filling for samosa! As kids, we used to roll this up in “rotli”, and almost never ate it sitting down!

    Love your passion!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Maybe that’ll be my next experiment! Kanda wali chana ni dal as a samosa filling instead of the chana ni dal that we normally use. It’s definitely going to be delicious and will be even better with lots and lots and lots of lime!

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