Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bengali Style Cholar Dal ( Lentils with Coconut and Spices )

I am slowly realizing that blogging is not that easy and sometimes can become hectic too. Though I am enjoying this life of blogging, learning new stuffs and receiving feedback every day from readers or my other blogger friends, sometimes it’s too difficult to keep some time left for trying out and writing down new recipes.  For example, I had this one in mind for few days but couldn't concentrate because of day-to-day usual stuff and weekend party, socialism and shopping. On the other hand, generally I don’t like to stay awake till late night and so my working day becomes shorter. Anyway, we have to cope up with this challenge of balancing between our interest and other day-to-day boring stuff.

Last week, on Friday night our dinner menu was Cholar Dal with Luchi. Cholar Daal, whose English name is Split Bengal Gram, is a very popular Bengali dish, especially when it is prepared with coconut. This one is much different from the Daal (lentil soup) we cook every single day. The regular daal is simpler, flavored and tempered with some spices, which Bengalis generally have with rice. But Cholar daal is mostly cooked on special occasions, usually served with Luchi (Indian Puff Bread) or sometimes with Pulao. The humble combination of Cholar daal and Luchi makes any occasion special and you would find many Bengali who would start licking their lips after hearing this phrase.

The recipe is not complicated and flavored with minimum spices. The addition of coconut, other spices like chilies and the seasoning is simply delectable to the palate. Though it is a not sweet dish, still the original dish tastes little sweet. Please note that Cholar daal (Split Bengal Gram) that is also known as Channa dal and Channa Dal and Toor daal (Split Pigeon Peas) both look very similar, but taste-wise they are completely different. Sometimes people get confused between these two. Many recipes are there in Bengali cuisine with Cholar Dal and all are delicious. Will try to share some of them later. 

Try this recipe of channa dal for a change, hope your family will simply love it.

Recipe of Bengali Style Cholar Dal : Split Gram with Coconut and Spices : Yield : 3 servings 
Cholar Dal  / Chana Daal / Bengal Split Gram : 1 cup 

Salt : 

Turmeric : half tsp 

Oil : 2 to 3 tbsp

Asafoetidia (hing ) : a pinch 

Whole Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp 

Dry Whole Red Chilies : 1 or 2 

Bay leaves : 2 

Coconut flakes ( or thinly sliced or chopped )  : a handful 

Cashew nuts ( halved ) : 2 to 3 tbsp 

Golden Raisins : 2 tbsp ( optional )

Grated Ginger or Ginger paste : 1 tbsp 

Cumin powder  : 1 tbsp 

Kasmiri Red chili powder or Red Chili powder : 1/2 tsp or as per tolerance 

Sugar : 

Method :

1. Soak the Chana Dal in water overnight ( at least 2 to 3 hrs )

2.  Boil the Dal, there are two methods, one is pressure cooker method. Another one is sauce pan method.

3. For pressure cooker, rinse dal and put it in the cooker along with enough water, salt and the turmeric powder. The water level should be half of the finger ( 1 cm approximately ) tall above the dal. Cover the lid and let it cook in medium heat until you hear three whistles. Remove from heat, first let it cool down completely, then open the lid.

4. Another process of boiling dal, take a deep sauce pan, rinse dal and put it in the pan with enough water, salt and turmeric. Bring it to boil and then let it simmer until the dal is well cooked. Add more water in the boiling process, if needed.

5.  Once dal becomes soft and well cooked, set it aside.

6. Take a deep pan or wok, heat 2 to 3 tbsp oil. Add asafoetidia, whole cumin seeds,dry whole red chili, bay leaves. 

7. Once they become aromatic and start to splatter, add the coconut. Fry it until they change color to nice golden brown. 

8. Add the the cashew nuts, stir it for 2 minutes, add the raisins. Add ginger paste, cumin powder, red chili powder and 2 tablespoon water. Give some stirs, until oil starts to come up from the sides of pan.

9. Now drop the cooked dal to the pan and stir it nicely. Let it cook for couple of minutes. Add water if needed ( as per your desired consistency ). Add sugar, check the seasoning, add salt if required. 

10. Once done, pour it in the serving bowl, garnish with some fried coconut flakes and roasted cashew nuts. Serve hot with bread or rice. 


  1. Ohh I just love the last two pictures, they are so so tempting and very nicely presented. Excellent job done Rumela .. :)

  2. A beautiful and comforting dish! I love split peas and spices. Great clicks too.



  3. delicious and comforting dal...wonderful presentation

  4. i love dals and this looks very delicious. going to try it soon. appreciate if you visit me too.

  5. It looks so warm and comforting rumela... u did an excellent job :) keep it coming ...

  6. Oh, such pretty pictures and styling. the simplicity of the dish is so nice.
    And yes, blogging can get quite overwhelming at times.