Vegetables cooked with chana dal in a roasted onion and spice gravy

Vegetables cooked with chana dal in a roasted onion and spice gravy

I have been a great advocate of one pot meals. They are wholesome, often quick to make and can feed an army. While this dish is vegetarian you can always satisfy you meat craving by adding chicken along with the vegetables.

A few tips

  1. This is an onion based gravy with roasted spices. It has no coconut in it.

  2. Soak the chana dal or Bengal gram for at least two hours if not overnight.

  3. Use hardy vegetables to accompany the robust flavour of the gravy

  4. I used a combination of carrot, white pumpkin and ivy gourd or tendli. Another great combination is cauliflower, peat and potato or French bean, carrot and corn

  5. Avoid using vegetables which have a strong overpowering flavour, you want this gravy to show off a bit

  6. This dish requires your patience and is not one of those flashes in the pan and ready to eat

  7. The ingredients in this dish can feed at least eight people.

  8. Dice all your vegetables the same size and they will cook evenly. For this dish I cut the vegetables the size of my thumb nail. You want to be able to eat this comfortably and not stretch your mouth when eating.


Onions – 3 large or about 300 grams, sliced finely

White Pumpkin – 300 grams, diced

Carrot – one large, diced

Ivy Gourd – 300 grams

Red Kashmiri Chilies – 10 (Trust me it is not hot)

Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon

Methi seeds – ¼ teaspoon

channa dal – 100 grams 

Poppy seeds – 1 teaspoon or use about seven cashew nuts

Peppercorns – ¾ teaspoon

Cumin – ½ teaspoon

Garlic – 5 large cloves with skin on

Cinnamon – ½ an inch stick

Cloves – 3

Cardamom – 1

Turmeric – ¼ teaspoon

Oil and salt as desired

Fresh coriander – a handful, chopped


Soak the chana dal overnight. Rinse  in fresh water and pressure cook with salt for about four whistles. You want the dal to retain its shape yet be cooked perfectly. Retain the stock of the boiled chana dal for the gravy.

Peel and dice all vegetables evenly. Slice the onions thinly and in a pan fry them. Do not use oil in the pan  while frying; it browns well, if not better. The objective is to brown the onions not burn them. This process will take about ten to fifteen minutes and you need to stir the onions constantly for an even browning. In another pan roast (no oil) all the dry ingredients including the garlic with the skin. Now add the browned onions (make sure it has a rich dark brown colour) and the roasted spices into a blender and blend till smooth.

In a pot, add oil and the blended masala of onions and spices. Fry this for about two minutes on a medium flame. Now add the chana dal and enough of the dal stock to form a smooth gravy. Bring this to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Now adjust the salt(remember you have added salt to the chana dal and it is still in the stock) and add the vegetables and cook for five minutes on simmer. Shut off the gas and cover with a lid. Allow the vegetables to cook in its own heat for the next ten minutes before serving. Add the chopped coriander and serve hot with rice or chapattis.

Do leave your comments…they encourage

Fr Warner D’Souza

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