Channa Dal Cauliflower Pilaf

A dal simply refers to a lentil (aka split bean/legume) and channa dal is split garbanzos. We like to use this pilaf as a side dish or even as a main meal! 

makes 6.5 cups


1 cup basmati rice

½ cup channa dal

4 Tbsp ghee 

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup onions, finely chopped

½ of a large cauliflower, cut into 1” florets

1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves

2 Tbsp ginger purée

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

3 inch cinnamon stick

1 ½ tsp salt (more or less to taste)

1 ½ cups water (or stock) 

1 cup cherry tomatoes


    1. Combine the channa dal with the basmati rice, rinse in cold water 2-3 times, then soak for 30 minutes. Drain.
    2. Heat the ghee in a medium sized heavy bottom stockpot – pop the cumin seeds in the ghee. Lower the heat to medium, add the onions. Cook until golden brown. 
    3. Add the cauliflower, fenugreek, ginger, and turmeric and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the drained rice and channa dal, chili powder, cinnamon stick, salt and water.
    4. Bring to a boil then cook covered at medium-low for 7-8 minutes.  Do not stir.
    5. Turn heat off, let the pilaf rest covered for 5 minutes, remove cinnamon stick, then add the cherry tomatoes.
    6. Fluff the rice with a fork.

    ideas / variations

    • Garnish with cilantro and/or peanuts or use mustard seeds instead of cumin. 
    • For a vegan version, substitute oil for ghee.