Rice with chana dal & meatballs


Rice with chana dal & meatballs(4)

I believe rice with chana dal is a Hyderabadi recipe which my mother used to make.  I never really had her recipe but have tried my best to emulate her creation.  She didn’t use meatballs either but I thought it would make for a more complete one-pot meal so decided to go for it and, guess what, it worked a treat!

Remember that rice must be boiled in a large saucepan with a lot of water, a little like cooking pasta.  As for chana dal, I usually add a pinch of baking soda which reduces the cooking time – do the same when cooking beans.


250 grams Basmati rice, soak for 1 hour
½ cup chana dal, soak for 1 hour
Pinch of baking powder
2 onions, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
2 inch piece ginger, grated
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
3+1 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons dried mint
8-10 meatballs (I used VBites available online and from Holland & Barrett in the chiller)


  1. Cook chana dal with the baking powder until cooked but not soft and mushy
  2. Fry the onion in 3 tablespoons of oil until golden brown
  3. Remove from heat and add turmeric, curry powder, garlic, ginger, ½ teaspoon salt and tomato puree and fry on low heat for about 5 minutes – add small amounts of water to keep it from sticking
  4. Add the chana dal, meatballs and gently fry for a couple of minutes
  5. In a deep saucepan, boil the rice in plenty of water with half teaspoon of salt and cook for about 3-4 minutes once it comes to the boil – you need to keep checking the rice and don’t let it overcook, just cooked or slightly al dente is best
  6. Strain the rice in a colander
  7. Put 1 tablespoon of oil and ¼ cup of water in the pan
  8. With a spatula, put about one-third of the rice in the pan
  9. Layer the rice with the chana dal and meat balls
  10. Top this with the rest of the rice and sprinkle with dried mint
  11. Cover the lid with a tea cloth and steam rice for 5 minutes on medium heat and then 15 minutes on low heat
  12. Carefully lift the lid – if it is steaming the rice is ready to serve
  13. Serve with a simple salad …..or

Avocado, red onion & tomato salad

and/or yogurt and cucumber

Mas o khiar(2)

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