Jihva for Dal (part one) ~ The Trial

Chana Dal

Golden Chana Dal in Colonial aka Knife and Fork glass by Hocking, circa 1934

Jihva for ingredients


Jihva for Dal is particularly enjoyable for me. Actually, dal is responsible for the most fun I’ve had in some time, in the kitchen and on the internet: playing at blogging.

Back in January, I began to seriously toy (hmm.. sounds like an oxymoron!) with the idea of becoming vegetarian. I knew about beans/legumes and rice as a quality form of protein (thanks to Laurel’s Kitchen phase way back when). I had tasted dal in restaurants, and wanted to learn to cook it myself. Google “authentic dal recipe” sometime and see what results you find. I landed at Mahanandi; from there the links took over and I was hooked on Indian home-cooking.

Since then, I’ve met a kind, generous group of people who have offered advice and encouragement as well as fabulous food! I feel humbled on my daily blog-run; there is so much talent out there and you all share so willingly. I offer my heartfelt thanks for sharing with me.

On with the recipe!


Buttery Cilantro Poha with Crunchy Chana Dal
(a first attempt at poha)

1-2 TB butter

1/2 cup thick poha
1/4 cup chana dal

1 TB mustard seeds
5-6 fresh curry leaves
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small carrot, cubed
1 bunch cilantro, stems included, rinsed and cut fine
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp chili powder, or more to taste
1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for Cilantro Poha with Chana Dal

Clockwise from bottom: carrots, chana dal, cilantro, onion. Curry leaf in center.


Rinse thick poha well and leave to soften in strainer 30-60 min.

Heat butter in a medium-sized pan over low heat. When foamy, add chana dal and cook slowly, 5-10 min, until golden brown. Raise heat to med-high. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard pops, add chopped onion, carrot, and cilantro. Reduce heat to low and cook 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Add poha, chili powder, lime juice and salt. Stir well, cover the pan, and allow to cook 10-15 minutes.

Adjust seasoning before serving.

Interest in poha and the taste of crunchy chana dal in tadka/temperings gave me the idea for this ~ my first entry to July’s Jihva for Dal graciously hosted by Sailu of Sailu’s Food.


Cilantro Poha with Chana Dal

The Trial ~ Buttery Cilantro Poha with Crunchy Chana Dal


  1. L.G said

    You are really amazing Linda. First to befriend another completely different cuisine, method of cooking and to bravely embrace it .Wow! And that too, you understand the nuances of it. That’s what I call a real cook.

    I am about as brave as the proverbial chicken, but thanks! I do enjoy learning about new foods. The very basics of cooking are pretty much universal don’t you think? Heart, soul, desire to please those loved ones we feed, and courage to step up and try something different. You’re a great cook LG, so I am sure you know what I mean 🙂

  2. L.G said

    great cook! haha! My mom shouldnt hear that for she would faint! 🙂

    We’re all our own worst critics, aren’t we! I bet your mom is very proud, LG 🙂

  3. sailaja said


    I am so proud of you. Wonderful entry indeed!
    I absolutely agree with you … “Heart, soul, desire to please those loved ones we feed, and courage to step up and try something different.”

    Thank you so much for participating in JFI – Dal event and see you at the round up.

    Sailaja, coming from you that means alot to me — thank you! Anxiously awaiting your fabulous round up and all those yummy dals. 🙂

  4. Vaishali said

    Great to read your story, Linda. I was indeed wondering all these days as to how you got pulled into cooking Indian. However, considering that you set off on the journey only in January, I must say, you have made remarkable progress in six months. I, too, cook different cuisines for a few years, but I still prefer sticking to cookbooks. It’s only now that I ’emperiment’ a little with Italian food, but that too with much hesitation and anxiety.
    And you know what? I, as an Indian, feel honoured to see that you try and understand ‘my’ cuisine. (I know it sounds mellow-dramatic, but it is true.)
    I wonder how your family reacts to this.

    Thank you Vaishali. I felt happy to read this — hardly know what to say. I am the one who’s honored 🙂

    Blogging has made it easier for me to step out from behind the pages of a cookbook. I have learned far more from home cooks blogging recipes than I could dream of learning from a book (and I do *love* to read cookbooks!). This is a special group: sharing success and failure, offering suggestions and reinforcement. I feel grateful to be included. (Now I sound melodramatic, but it’s true. )

    So don’t feel anxious — bring on some more of your World Creations!

    p.s. My kids are older teenagers; pizza is their favorite thing. They do get points for trying new tastes here and there…

  5. […] Taste Corner – BDSN’s Spinach Milagootal 7. Out of the Garden – Linda’s Channa Dal Poha 8. Out of the Garden – Linda’s Sweet Pongal 9. Smorgasboard – Biblo’s […]

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