Indian Chickpea Dal with Coconut Broth


When we first moved to Florida, we weathered through big hurricanes like Charley, Andrew, Wilma, Jeanne…I can’t even remember all of their names! At the start of every hurricane season, (right now) I take inventory proceed to stockpile on food, water, cash, batteries and gas for the generator. As a foodie, I mentally prepare a list of “gourmet” recipes that I can prepare if and when disaster strikes. I know, it’s stupid and silly, but we’ve been through 3 days without electricity (Hurricane Charley) and it’s not fun. Might as well make the best of the situation and eat well.


It’s been about 8 years since we’ve experienced a big one – I keep saying that, “we’re long overdue.” But each of the 8 years past, each time the season passes without a hurricane, we have to deal with the glut of canned foods and dry goods in the pantry.



This one is a perfect recipe that I’ll keep in the “storm gourmet” file – nearly every ingredient is found in the pantry or will keep well (garlic and onion). It’s an Indian dish from the cookbook, Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free Recipes for the Mindful Cook by Dahlia Abraham-Klein. The Silk Road is a network of trade routes spanning between China, Tibet, Persian Empire and Mediterranean countries. Silk and spices were the most popular trading commodities.

Silk Road Vegetarian cookbook will take you on a journey along that route, highlighting Dahlia’s family stories (she traces her family’s roots back to the Babylonian Exile of the Jewish people in sixth century BCE), and food traditions in Central Asia. silk road vegetarian dahlia

A quote from Dr. Jean M. Layton sums the book up best, “Imagine a vegetarian and gluten-free excursion along the Silk Road that is drdolent with spices and scented with roses, oranges, and herbs. Silk Road Vegetarian will bring you along on a journey through Asia, Africa, Europe and India – with a bit of Latin influence as well.”

A sample of recipes from the book: Lentil Tomato Soup Mushroom Wild Rice Persian Green Frittata Afghan Cauliflowre Curry Bukharian Tomato Salad Hamentashen Cookies Indian Spiced Coconut Cardamom Tapioca Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup and…Chickpea Dal with Coconut Broth.


I’ve modified Dahlia’s original recipe to use canned chickpeas (garbanzo) instead of dried to cut down on the soaking/cooking time. Dahlia approved of my using a Garam Masala spice blend instead of the separate 11 spices in the original recipe (see very end of post for the list of the spices in original recipe). Chickpea Dal with Coconut Broth and Basmati Rice ‘s a wonderfully fragrant, 15 minute, “storm gourmet” recipe that you’ll love. The dal is nutty, creamy, and beautifully spiced. Pair with basmati rice.


Indian Chickpea Dal with Coconut Broth Recipe Video



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Indian Chickpea Dal with Coconut Broth and Basmati Rice Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes

Adapted from Silk Road Vegetarian by Dahlia Abraham-Klein

If you do not have fresh tomatoes, use 1 can of chopped tomatoes, drained.
Substitute any rice of your choice for the basmati rice - however cooking times for wild rice or brown rice will be different. I have a recipe for cooking brown rice in the microwave - just search on Steamy Kitchen for the recipe.

Microwave-safe vessels for cooking rice can be found in any kitchen shop or Amazon. They are worth the ~$20! I also have a post on Steamy Kitchen on cooking regular rice in the microwave - lots of tips and links to products.


1 cup dried basmati rice
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
2 medium tomatoes
15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces coconut milk
1 sprig parsley


Cook the rice:
pour the 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of cold water into a 2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover. Microwave high for 12 minutes. Let rest for 3 minutes.

Prep the ingredients While the rice is cooking:
-chop onion
-mince garlic
-chop tomatoes
-canned chickpeas- drain, rinse and drain again

-chop parsley (leaves only)

1. Heat a large saute pan with the cooking oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add in the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until translucent and soft. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add in the garam masala and cook an additional 30 seconds.

2. Add in the chopped tomatoes, drained chickpeas, salt and the coconut milk. Stir well, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Top with parsley. Serve with basmati rice.



*The original recipe from the Silk Road Vegetarian Cookbook includes these spices (use in place of garam masala)  1 teaspoon of each: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ground cardamom, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, paprika, ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon of each: chili powder, grated nutmeg 1 thread saffron Instead of sauteing the spice blend for only 30 seconds, Dahlia recommends letting all of the spices simmer for 10 minutes (along with the onion and garlic).






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Comments 24

  1. Emma @ Chick-o-bowl

    Woww! I’ve never cooked rice in a microwave before. I’ll have to try it one day when I am rushing. It’s way less time than the 30-40 minutes on the stove. And that chickpeas look delicious! I love anything Indian. Thanks for sharing!

  2. AnnJ

    The second and third links don’t work for me, but the others do.
    When I read this recipe, I hadn’t thought of anything to have for dinner and it sounded like just the ticket. I had a few cans of a cheaper coconut milk that was new to me, with a preservative, and it didn’t taste very good from the can but was okay in the dish. (But I’m going to return the unopened cans and buy Thai Kitchen instead.) I used a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilis, which added some heat. They’re very handy to have in the pantry, especially because the cans are small enough for most recipes. I left out the salt, since there’s salt in the chick peas and in the tomatoes. I used coconut oil for the onions, etc.

    I have a small rice cooker which is always in the same place on the counter. I can’t think of when I last made rice on the stove. The rice is usually ready, with no effort on my part, by the time I’ve prepped my ingredients. One day, I’ll try your rice in the microwave, just for fun. (But do you really want to be using plastic in the microwave? In your other posts, you are using other microwave-safe materials. Well, I guess if I were really careful, I wouldn’t be using my aluminum rice cooker either – or a microwave for that matter.)

    I used a prepared garam masala. When I’m in the mood, I grind up my own mixture in an electric coffee grinder, but that would defeat the whole purpose of this quick and easy recipe.

    The dish was delicious, but for some reason, mine had much too much liquid proportionally. It was really like a soup. I added another can of chickpeas, which did the trick. Next time, I think I’ll also add some minced or grated ginger. I tend to add ginger to everything.

    Even if I never made this recipe, watching your video was worth my time just to see how you drained the chickpeas right in the can. I have always used a small colander. From now on I won’t have that extra piece of equipment for me or the dishwasher to wash.

  3. [email protected]

    This is a perfect comfort food for me!

  4. Vickie

    I sometime too busy to make deep fried spring rolls so instead I bake them and they turn out crispy and not greasey at all. Now I baked them all the time to enjoy.

  5. James

    I made this for dinner the other night and it was great. My only question is for someone who does not like rice what would you recommend to go with this?

    1. Dev

      Naan (delicious soft Indian flatbread) would be excellent with this! Tear off pieces of naan and scoop up the chickpeas.

  6. cryptochrome

    I like the recipe except for the parsley part. Should be replaced by coriander/cilantro. And lot’s of it too. I’d also add a couple of chilies.

  7. Alex

    This recipe looks amazing. Chickpeas are my favourite. I’m always looking for new ways to cook with them, thanks! I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

  8. Lori B.

    I just made this and WOW! So much easier that other recipes like this. & dirt cheap. It took me exactly 15min to have dinner on the table. I had leftover basmati rice from a couple of nights ago (from your General Tso’s) that was kinda dried out. I just dumped some of it into the bean/sauce, added a tad bit more coconut milk and warmed it up. It tastes so buttery! without the butter 🙂 Thank you!

  9. Tiffany Thompson

    I found this today, looking for a recipe to use up some of my pantry stock. I added some fresh spinach near the end of cooking and left out the parsley. The whole family *loved* it. I’m so glad I made a double batch so we have leftovers for tomorrow.

    1. Post
  10. Jamie Oliver

    It’s going to be pretty hard using that stove and microwave when you don’t have electricity. HAH! You may have to take this one out of your “storm gourmet file”. It’s moments like these that remind us of how much we take for granted in 21st century America… But that aside, this is not Chickpea Dal. Chickpea Dal or Chana Dal is a variety of split chickpeas, not a dish. What you made is Chickpea Masala, kind of. You made a poor and sick version of Chickpea Masala. It’s dying Jaden; it’s dying and it’s your fault. A masala needs nourishment, it needs love. Masala desires meaning and purpose just like you and I. It lives for it, and without it Masala is nothing. And you, Jaden, the Almighty Creator, Mother of this so called “Chickpea Dal”, you brought this Masala into the world but did not care to give it what was necessary for it to achieve it’s purpose. Where’s the spice? Where’s the love? Where’s the foundation that will keep the Masala from growing up to be a dead-beat, making a living as cat food? Damnit, Jaden, you did not understand the responsibility of making a Masala recipe and now look… Freaking TV Chefs…

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