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This hearty Burmese-inspired dal from The Rangoon Sisters is full of flavour and warmth. It also happens to be completely vegan and makes for a nutritious, budget-friendly meal.

From the book

Amy & Emily Chung


This is our standard midweek dal. It is such easy-to-make comfort food: nutritious, filling and cheap. We ate a lot of this when we were students … naturally. There are so many recipes for this out there, using different types of lentils and varying combinations of spices. Every family has their own recipe and rules, and here is our version.

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250g chana dal (yellow split peas), soaked overnight or for at least 4 hours
2 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tsp cumin seeds
4 medium onions, finely sliced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1½ tsp salt
coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)


Rinse and drain the soaked chana dal, then add it to a pan with 1 litre of water. Add the garlic cloves, bring the dal to the boil and leave to simmer with a lid on for 1 hour, until soft. Make sure to stir from time to time and add more water if the dal looks like it might boil dry.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds. Fry for a minute or 2 until fragrant. Add the onions and fry slowly over a low heat until they are caramelised and slightly crispy. This should take 15–20 minutes. Set aside.

When the dal is cooked, add the turmeric, chilli powder and salt and use a spoon to gently mash the mixture with the cooked garlic until you get a thick, creamy consistency. Add some more water if you like your dal thinner.

Finally, when ready to serve, stir the fried cumin onions into the dal and serve garnished with coriander, if using.

Storage notes: This dal can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen on the day of cooking for up to 3 months. Defrost carefully and reheat thoroughly before serving.


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From the book: The Rangoon Sisters: Recipes from our Burmese family kitchen

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