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Shepuchi Bhaji with Channa Dal (Dill Leaves Bhaaji with Bengal Gram)

A lot of Indians cook a pulse and a vegetable together making the dish more nutritious, delicious, and filling. Channa dal is great to combine with dill leaves, fenugreek leaves, cabbage, capsicum, and bottle gourd, snake gourd, ridge gourd, etc. either in a dry vegetable or curry form. Dill leaves are rich in a variety of nutrients including Vitamin A, C, D, riboflavin, manganese, folate, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc and dietary fibres. These nutrients and antioxidants, not only protect the cells against free radical damage but also promote healthy vision, augment skin, boost immune functions, treat digestive anomalies, remedy sleep problems, fortify bone health, relieve respiratory infections, regulate hormonal balance, and enhance reproductive health.

Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 people as a part of an Indian meal.

A lot of green leafy vegetables are combined with a pulse in Maharashtrian cuisine to make it not only more nourishing but also more delicious. This combination makes it a very affordable dish, easy to make, satiating and energy providing when eaten with jowar bhakri as is done in most villages in Maharashtra. It keeps you full for a long time because of the low glycemic index, especially if made with minimal oil.

Many people don’t like the strong flavor of dill leaves and the channa dal in this recipe helps to tone it down. The combination of dill and garlic is very popular in many cultures especially in Asia and the Middle East. Even so, it is a cultivated taste if you aren’t used to eating it from childhood. Most children in the rural areas of India eat it happily.

Channa dal has a low glycemic index. This means your body absorbs and digests it slowly and so releasing energy gradually over a longer period of time. It also has a type of starch that digests slowly, called amylose. Both these help people with diabetes. Channa dal is relatively high in dietary fiber, especially a soluble fiber called raffinose. The good bacteria in your gut breaks this down so your colon can digest it slowly. And eating it can help make bowel movements easier and more regular. It also contains soluble fiber which is good for more than gut health. It can lessen your total cholesterol and your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart disease. When you eat chickpeas, your body makes a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, which is said to help get rid of sick and dying cells. This may lower your risk for colorectal cancer. Chickpeas have other cancer-fighting compounds, too, such as lycopene and saponins. The calcium, magnesium, fiber, and other nutrients in channa dal are great for strong bones, and the choline in it is said to boost mental health.


  • 1 bunch dill leaves (approx. 250-300 gms)
  • ½ cup channa dal (Bengal gram)
  • ½ cup of fresh coconut grated
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp sambhar powder
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coconut or groundnut oil, preferably cold pressed
  • Salt to taste


Wash and soak the channa dal for around 2 hours. Clean, wash, drain and chop the dill leaves coarsely. Heat oil in a kadhai (Indian wok) and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add onion. Sauté on a low flame till the onion is soft and translucent. Cook the channa dal till it is half cooked. Add this and the chopped dill leaves to the sautéed onion, cover and cook on low heat till both are well cooked. Add some water to prevent the bottom from burning. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, sambhar powder, jaggery, grated coconut, and salt. Mix well, and remove from heat. Serve hot or warm with fresh rotis or bhakris as part of an Indian meal.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Use rock salt instead of refined salt.

Use date paste instead of jaggery. Use soft dates and blend them with very little water. If using dates that aren’t very soft, soak them in warm water for half an hour (or more if required) before blending them to a paste.

Do not use oil. Heat an iron tempering ladle and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter transfer them to the onion and dill mixture. Continue with the rest of the recipe as above.

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