Beautiful, Spiced Indian Chickpea Dal Recipe

This recipe will teach you a beautiful, spiced chickpea dal recipe that couldn’t be any simpler if you tried!

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I have always been a huge meat eater. If you like meatier curries, you might like my Jamaican style beef curry or this gorgeous chicken massaman curry. For as long as I can remember, I have always seen meat as the purpose of a meal. It has always been the central component around which everything else was there to fit. At times, I know I still feel that way. But working with food for the past five years has definitely helped persuade me otherwise.

In my last restaurant job we had a rather extensive vegan menu. In the past I’ve always worked in the countryside, but this job was in the city. It was one of the more prestigious restaurants in the area with one of the more capable and dynamic chefs.

Over the course of my career, I have served any number of genuinely wonderful things. From beautiful plates of crisp, fresh seafood to mouthwatering slabs of perfectly cooked beef. I have enjoyed any number of flavours and smells and have tried cuisines from all over the world.

What I knew, then, when these vegan treats came flying from the kitchen was that something very special was happening. There were all manner of familiar tastes and smells, as well as untold ingredients I had never encountered before. I tried desserts made from black sticky rice, risottos without rice and curries made from jackfruit. I got to taste beautiful, light steamed buns and crisp, delicate Thai salads.


It wouldn’t be fair to suggest that I’ve been magically converted! A perfectly cooked piece of beef or a juicy slice of pork still hold a special place in my heart. I just want it to be said that I learned a lot about how delicious plant-based food can be. I could never give up meat, but I do now have days where I cook completely meat free food. That can only be a good thing!

The chickpea dal recipe I’m about to post isn’t quite as exotic as a few of the examples above. It is, however, a simple, beautiful dish with a really full, deep flavour. And it’s absolutely worth a try!

Time to begin!

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Subscribe to my newsletter now for a free guide to cooking curries! AND I’ll send you weekly tricks, tips and updates that will help you elevate your cooking to the next level!

Beautiful chickpea dal recipe.

Beautiful, Spiced Indian Chickpea Dal

This recipe will teach you a beautiful, spiced chickpea dal recipe that couldn't be simpler if we tried!
Servings 2


  • 3 Cardammon Pods
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 White Onion (or whatever you have available)
  • 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger
  • Vegetable Stock Or chicken stock
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • Chickpeas Either canned or dried and soaked overnight


  • Heat a pan to medium high and dry toast 3 cardamom pods and 2 cloves. You're basically drying and heating until they're nice and brittle. This won't take more than a minute or so, so be careful not to burn them.
  • Crush them in a pestle and mortar with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Any bits that won't break down you can either disregard or leave in.
  • With a pestle and mortar, crush together 1 chilli, 2 cloves of garlic and an inch of ginger.
  • Add some oil to the pan and lower it to a medium heat.
  • Dice the onion and add them to the pan with the fennel seeds. Cook for about 8 minutes, seasoning with salt and testing.
  • Time to add your dry spices. Namely, the teaspoon of coriander, the half teaspoon of cumin and the Garam Masala you made earlier.
  • Cook them off for a couple of minutes and add your ginger, garlic and chilli paste, then cook for two more.
  • All we have to do now is add the chickpeas. I haven't weighed anything out here because I was using dried chickpeas, but it's roughly a full can. They're the only real textural part of the dish, so it's important to make sure there's enough. That's the most important thing to bear in mind.
  • Pour the stock over and mix it all together. Again, it's less about the exact quantity and more about creating the consistency you want. I tend toward submerging all of the chickpeas, but not so much that the sauce becomes too thin.
  • Serve this gorgeous chickpea dal alone or with rice or naan, or really with whatever you fancy.

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe or have any comments or queries, please do let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to like and share!

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