Thursday, August 25, 2011

Channa Dal Pulao (Split Peas and Rice)

Day 3 of the cooking blogging marathon I am participating in this week. My theme for the first part of it is Nawab Khana, referring to an elaborate and rich Indian cuisine.

This dish, Channa Dal Pulao, would have to be my favourite out of the dishes I've cooked for my Nawab Khana dinner party. (I invited a small group of friends around to taste and comment on my cooking.) The taste of the tangy, salty dal mixed through a good basmati rice with fresh coriander and mint. Yum!

Channa Dal Pulao

1/2 cup channa dal or yellow split peas
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, halved and cut into fine rings
2 tsp peeled, finely grated ginger
1 clove finely crushed garlic
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2-4 fresh green chillies, finely chopped (I omitted these)
2 tsp garam masala

To Make
1. Soak the channa dal in enough water to cover it for 1 1/2 hours.
2. Put the dal and its soaking liquid into a pan. Add 1/4 tsp of the tumeric and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until its tender but the grains are still whole.
* Alternatively I cooked the dal in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes on low heat.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot add the onions and fry until a rich reddish brown colour and crisp. Drain onto absorbent paper.
4. Put the ginger and garlic into the same pan and fry until light brown. Add the remaining tumeric and 1 tbsp of the yoghurt. Stir and fry until most of the liquid in the yoghurt evaporates and the remaining particles are lightly browned. Add the remaining yoghurt 1 tbsp at a time and cook in the same way.

5. Then add the drained dal, salt and chilli powder. Stir for 1 minute.

6. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil, add the washed rice and salt to taste. Boil vigorously for 5 minutes or until the rice is 3/4 cooked.
7. Drain the rice and add half of it to an oven proof dish. Cover the rice with the cooked dal and then top with the remaining rice. Spread the ghee and the cooked onions over the rice.
8. Sprinkle the lemon juice, milk, fresh coriander, mint, green chillies and garam masala over the top. Cover tightly and place in an oven for 30 minutes at 180C.
9. Stir gently to mix before serving.

Adapted from A Taste of India Madhur Jaffrey 1987 Pan Books.

Another time consuming dish but well worth it! I would definitely cook this one again for a special occasion. My dinner guests liked it too and commented on how flavoursome the dal was in the rice.

Check out what my fellow blogger are cooking here.

See what else I've cooked this week:
Day 1- Lamb Korma
Day 2- Shami Kebabs


  1. so now we have something veg...lovely recipe and i am sure it must have tasted good.looks wonderful.

  2. Wow, another to do in my ever growing rice recipe list.

  3. Pulao looks super delicious, btw regarding ur q'n about prawn briyani, they wont get over cooked Jane, just change the cooking time as per their size thats all,hope i cleared ur doubt,else pls let me know..

  4. Interesting pulao...Would like to try it sometime.

  5. Addition of Chana Dal is new! looks good.

  6. A wholesome and nutritious pulao recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  7. first time here...and i am amazed at how well you are making these indian dishes:)

  8. Very different and this recipe looks new to me

  9. interesting and new recipe Jane ! Thanks for posting it..

  10. this is surely a hit! it!

  11. The dum biryanis are so time consuming, but perfectly worth the effort. good to see that everyone enjoyed it :)

  12. Channa Pulao is totally drool worthy! The browned onions on the top is way too tempting!