Chana Daal with Squash

Chana daal adds texture, heft, and density to this stew of tender summer squash. Adding the squash at the very end ensures it doesn't completely disintegrate before the daal is softened. "The inspiration for this recipe is doodhi chana, a stew of bottle gourd and dried split chickpeas that I grew up eating in Gujarat," chef Vishwesh Bhatt says. "I always thought it lacked the oomph of other preparations my mother made. Then I discovered ras el hanout, preserved lemons, and pomegranate molasses, which elevated the previously boring gourd to new heights." Here, they do the same for yellow squash. Added at the very end of cooking, ras el hanout, preserved lemon rind, pomegranate molasses, and fresh dill and parsley add beautiful color and flavor to the finished dish.

Squash with Chana Daal
Photo: Cedric Angeles
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins


  • 1 cup dried chana daal (split chickpeas)

  • 9 cups water, divided

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped scallion whites (from 3 medium [4-ounce] scallion bunches)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (from 3 medium garlic cloves)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (from 2 [7-ounce] tomatoes)

  • 8 cups chopped yellow squash (from 12 small [3-ounce] squash)

  • 1 ½ tablespoons ras el hanout

  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped preserved lemon rind

  • 2 teaspoons Urfa or Aleppo pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

  • Warm pita rounds, for serving


  1. Place daal in a large bowl; add 3 cups water, and let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Drain and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium until shimmering. Add scallions, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until scallions are soft and garlic and ginger are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to release their juices, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add drained daal and remaining 6 cups water to tomato mixture, and stir to combine. Increase heat to high; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until daal is just soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in squash, ras el hanout, preserved lemon rind, and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over medium until squash is soft but not mushy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, dill, salt, and molasses. Season with additional salt to taste. Serve hot with pita.


Chana daal and ras el hanout can be found at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. Preserved lemons can be found at Middle Eastern or specialty grocery stores. In a pinch, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest.

Suggested Pairing

Tangy, light-bodied white: McPrice Myers Beautiful Earth White

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