Chana Dal and Lamb Masala



Chana Dal is another name for dried split baby chickpeas. Once soaked and simmered they have the texture of a firm lentil and hold their shape well. I used a blend of spices common to Pakistani cuisine with lots of fresh ginger and garlic, and lamb is often a featured meat of the culture. It is worth a trip to an international grocery store as the variety of spices are vast there, and are generally well priced. So fun to experiment with new flavors and combinations.


1 cup Chana Dal - dried split baby chickpeas

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 large tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 pound ground lamb

2 teaspoons kosher salt


Spice Blend

Combine and set aside:

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds crushed

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder


Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon honey


Jasmine rice, cilantro and whole milk yogurt for serving


  • Measure out the Chana Dal and cover with water and allow to soak for about 2 hours. This is not necessary but the longer it soaks, the shorter the cooking time. Rinse them and place in a 4 quart pot and about 4 cups of water and the bay leaf

  • Bring to boil, then reduce and simmer until tender, if they have been soaked start checking at about 20-25 minutes

  • In a large Dutch oven heat the oil to medium high and add the spice blend and stir until fragrant

  • Add the onions and saute until the onions are starting to brown

  • Add the lamb and saute until the lamb in no longer pink and starting to brown

  • Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic and ginger and stir

  • Simmer until the liquid starts to reduce and the meat is cooked through

  • Drain the Chana Dal (reserving some of the liquid) and add to the mixture and stir, you can add some of the cooking liquid to loosen it up

  • Simmer for about another 10 minutes to bring the flavors together

  • Take off the heat and add the juice of a small lime and the honey and stir well

  • Serve over jasmine rice and top with cilantro and whole milk yogurt