Lemon, Tomato & Cardamom Chana Dal



I love a good dal and cook it often, here I ventured away from my normal quick daily dal and used ‘chana dal’.

Chana dal is split chickpeas and they really hold their shape through the cooking process adding a lovely texture to the dal.

The dal, with coconut milk and lemon feels light enough to enjoy in warmer days as well as in the cooler months.

I fried a few curry leaves at the end in some coconut oil to top the dal which not only looks pretty but it does add flavour too.

Serves 4

Serving Suggestion:

I made a little sambal on the side with 1/2 cup roasted macadamia nuts, 1/2 lemon (skin & all), 1x chilli and few sprigs of mint/coriander. Simply chop this all together.


  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 cardamom pods, bashed
  • 200g chana dal, soaked overnight
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 4 ripe tomatoes or 1/2 tin tomatoes
  • 2 lemons, juice to taste


  1. Heat the coconut oil add the onions, pinch of salt and cook, covered until soft, add the chillies.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop, now add the turmeric and cardamom, adding a few tablespoons of oil if the mixture looks dry.
  3. Add the lentils, coconut milk, 1 teaspoon salt and stock and gently simmer, lid ajar until the lentils are soft, keeping an eye on the liquid. The lentils should be soft in 30-40 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach and the tomatoes, the heat will be enough to cook the spinach, season with lemon juice , salt and pepper.
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