Yellow Split Chickpeas with Spinach Channa Dal Sai- Bhaji

Makes 4 to 6 servings

My niece, Mini, who grew up in Mumbai (Bombay), makes this dish and shared it with me. A specialty of the Sindhi community settled in Bombay (they were originally from northwest India, an area that is now in Pakistan), this dish ( sai- bhaji ) is almost a one- pot meal, traditionally served with steamed rice. It is very simple with the pressure cooker, and although this recipe calls for frozen spinach, it turns out all the more delicious when you use fresh.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled minced fresh ginger
  • 1 ⁄ 2 cup yellow split chickpeas (channa dal), sorted and washed in 3 to 4 changes of water
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped, or 1 ⁄ 2 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste 1
  • (8- ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 ⁄ 2 bunch ( 1 ⁄ 4 cup) fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 small russet potato (or any kind), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat the oil in a large pressure cooker over medium- high heat and add the cumin seeds; they should sizzle upon contact with the hot oil. Quickly add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the dal and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Then add the tomato (or tomato sauce), salt, and cayenne pepper, and stir about 2 minutes.

2. Add the spinach, dill, potato, and carrot, stir about 5 minutes then add the water. Secure the lid and cook over high heat until the regulator indicates high pressure, then cook 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and allow the pot to depressurize on its own, 12 to 15 minutes. Carefully open the lid, add the lemon juice, and stir well, mashing some of the dal and vegetables with a ladle or a spatula. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with the cilantro, and serve.


One comment

  1. Worked fine and loved by the kids. Probably could have spent more time in the pressure cooker. Also probably added too much spinach – a whole frozen pack. Didn't actually look that appetizing but was fine.


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