Karahi Daal

Any roadside stall or dhaba in Pakistan will definitely have a non-veg Karahi but it’s vegetarian menu will most probably list Karahi Daal as it’s first dish. This is a dry Chana daal or bengal gram lentil dish made in a spicy tomato base. Garnished with cilantro, ginger and green chillies, this daal is always served with Naan. I personally love Chana daal prepared this way. The spicy chillies, aromatic ginger and garam masala lend a wonderful taste and aroma to this dish.

Although it’s the star of my dinner table at most vegetarian nights, my most favorite memories of eating Karahi Daal growing up was with a very spicy Chicken Tikka. My Dad used to bring us some tikka from a restaurant near his work once a month on a weeknight. It would be a lovely surprise for us to see him carrying a bag full of food in one hand while balancing his small work bag in the other. My Mom would happily put away the homemade food in the fridge and I’m sure inside she was dancing with joy on not having to cook tomorrow. Isn’t it always such a great gesture when your husband shows up with dinner when you are least expecting it? But I digress. The guy would give this Karahi Daal as a condiment to the tikka. It was a match made in food heaven! 😋 This recipe is an ode to that love affair. It’s simple, delicious & very fulfilling. If you don’t have a Karahi then no need to worry. You can make this delicious dish in any deep sauté pan.

This daal is so delicious and easy to make that I always make it at dinner parties for a wonderful vegetarian option. I hope you all make it and enjoy either by itself with some Naan bread or as a yummy side dish.

Daal Karahi

Serves: 4


•Chana Daal (Bengal gram split lentil)- 1 1/2 cups; soaked for 2 hours in warm water and boiled till tender but not mushy.

•Oil- 1/4 cup

•1 inch stick of cinnamon

•1 black cardamom (optional)

•2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

•1 inch pice of ginger chopped

•Cumin seeds dry roasted – 1 tbsp

•Coriander seeds dry roasted & crushed – 1 tbsp

•Red chili flakes – 1/4 tsp

•Red chili powder – 1 tsp

•Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

•Salt to taste

•2 medium tomatoes chopped or 1 can of petite diced tomatoes

•3 green chilies slit in center

•1 small onion chopped

•Garam masala powder – 1 tsp

•Juice of one lemon

•Cilantro for garnishing


Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onion, piece of cinnamon & black cardamom. Fry till the onion becomes translucent, about 5-6 mins. Add in the chopped ginger, garlic, cumin and crushed coriander seeds. Fry for 1 min. Add in the chopped tomatoes. Turn up the heat on medium high and fry the tomatoes till mushy, about 10 mins. Add in the red chili powder, red chili flakes, turmeric powder, salt and garam masala. Mix well & add in the boiled Chana daal( lentils). Lower the heat, add the split green chillies, cover the pan and let the daal simmer for 5 minutes. Finally add in juice of one lemon and garnish with cilantro and julienne chopped ginger. Serve hot with Naan bread. Enjoy ❤️

3 Comments Add yours

    1. Leena says:

      Thank you! ❤️


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