Masala Vegan

Plant based recipes inspired by spices and green living!

Lentils & Beans Onion & Garlic Free Sides Vegan Vegan Recipes

Spicy Split Gram Stir Fry A.K.A. Chana Dal Usli (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Split gram lentils or, split chickpea/ garbanzo beans called “Chana Dal” in Hindi, are a great source of protein. Most Indian stores sell these lentils in two forms, a raw form and a roasted one. The roasted form is commonly used as a base for making “Chutney” and Dips.

  • Split Gram Lentils – 1 cup
  • Coconut Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Dried Red Chillies – 2 medium sized
  • Asafoetida – 1 teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves, fresh – 8 to 10
  • Turmeric Powder – 1
  • Desiccated Coconut – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water – 1.5 to 2 cups
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stalks, minced finely for garnish – 2 tablespoons
  • Grated Coconut (optional, but recommended) for topping – 1 tablespoon


  1. Soak the split gram lentils for 3 to 4 hours, rinse and drain.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a deep pan (I used my 3 Litre pressure pan).
  3. Add the mustard seeds to the warm oil and cover till they pop.
  4. Sprinkle the asafoetida, red chillies and curry leaves into the oil. Cover!
  5. Mix in turmeric powder and desiccated coconut, cook until aromatic.
  6. Tip in the lentils and season with salt.
  7. Cover the lentils with water till they are just about under the water line.
  8. Bring to a boil and close the lid. Cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Take off the heat immediately and remove steam (or,  it turns mushy!).
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves and/ or, grated coconut.

Tastes great warm or at room temperature. I tend to eat this protein rich dish by itself, but the rest of the family, often pairs it with “Pulao” rice or, flatbread.

Please check out these recipes by clicking on Pulaoand Roti“. Thank you and happy cooking 😊 





I am an enthusiastic plant based home cook and baker who delights in sharing my creations on unsuspecting non vegans, when they least expect it! When not recipe developing, testing or making, I'm found organising and/ or writing, the two other passions of my life ❤️


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