Monday, November 30, 2009

Cholar Dal -- uppity chana dal

I have no time today, really none, nada, no time at all. And yet I need to post this, which I cooked for no reason, really none but for Sra who is hosting MLLA -- 17. You can never imagine things you would do for a blog friendship and that includes sneaking upstairs to a darkened room to make a call to one's favorite blogger while real life friends and family banter down.

Cholar Dal is the dal with uber arrogance. It is a bit of a snob, not the kind you would like to come home to every day but the kind you would like to glamorize your dining table with when you have company. Standing alone, presumptuous, it might not seem to be the best thing to befriend. But when it has company with Kachuri or Luchi or even a Pulao it will dazzle you.

Cholar Dal narkel diye or cholar dal with coconut is a very popular bengali dish and is a fixed item on the menu on wedding feasts or during Durga puja bhog. It is mostly cooked on special occasions and that could be the only-son's-getting-the-visa-day to the only-son's-homecoming-day. Usually it is not an everyday dal though you could have it everyday and there is no one stopping you.

When I made it last week, I did not have coconut and so skipped it, instead I adorned the dal with almonds. It was delicious and all I wanted with it was some Kachuri. Maybe another day, another time.

This Dal goes to Sra for MLLA --17, brainchild of Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook


Cholar Dal

Pressure Cook 1 cup of Chana Dal/Cholar Dal with
almost 2 & 1/2 cups of water
1 green cardamom,
1 clove,
1/4 tsp of turmeric
and little salt
for 6 minutes after steam has built up in the cooker or say about 10-12 mins on the whole. The lentils should be soft and cooked by this time, if not you need to cook more. Note: Once cooked, you may fish out the whole cardamom and whole clove from the dal. I will sometimes skip the whole garam masalas while pressure cooking and add only later.

Heat 1 tbsp of Oil (or Ghee) in a Kadhai or in a soup pot. Note: Ghee works best for this dal, if you don't want to use ghee as the cooking medium, add half a tsp towards the end for flavor.

Temper the oil with
1 small bay leaf,
2-3 green cardamom/elaichi,
2-3 clove/laung,
1" thin stick of cinnamon
and 2 dry red chili

Add a pinch of asafoetidia/hing to the oil

When you get the aroma of the spices add the cooked dal to the pot and saute. Do not add the dal water at this point. Reserve the dal water for later use.

Add a fistful of golden raisins, salt to taste, a pinch or two of turmeric and mix well. You can add a little grated ginger, I don't necessarily do it always.

Add about 1/2 - 1 cup of water and let the dal simmer till it comes to a boil. This dal will be on the thicker side and not very liquid, so simmer till it reaches a thick consistency.

Just before taking off the heat add 1/2 tsp of sugar and mix. Add 1/2 tsp of ghee if you have not used ghee for cooking. Taste and adjust for seasonings. Tip: If you are not used to whole garam masalas in your dal, fish out the cardamom, clove, bay leaf and cinnamon from the dal at this point.

Garnish with fried pieces of coconut. Since I didn't have coconut I garnished with blanched slivered almonds. You can also add a little grated coconut as the garnish.

Tip: A friend suggested adding a little Kasoori Methi to the dal at the very end for non-Bong touch. Have never tried that myself but she said it lends a nice flavor.


  1. We usually have chana dal only in kootu with some veggies. This one is very different and simple too. Appreciate your loving friendship Sandeepa :)

  2. Love cholar dal.Almonds are an interesting addition that I dare not have tried on my own, but now that it has the bong mom's approval...:)

  3. Wish i had this for my lunch today.

  4. Cholar dal e hing debo? Bolcho? Kokhono try korini. Must try now. :-)

  5. If it wasnt for the red chilli, I was thinking this was Chana Dal kheer :) what with the almonds. A must try for me now!

  6. Very new to me...looks extremely yum....simplicity at it's best...

  7. Cholar dal and luchi, there's nothing better to have on a Sunday morning. Amar narkel diye cholar dal ta khub bhalolage.
    Almonds diye kakhono try korini, but it sounds quite interesting :).

  8. Rekha

    I don't know about health, delicious it is


    This is really simple like any other dal but goes very well with Poori etc.


    Hee hee, almonds were just used for garnish, now I am not that radical ;-)

    You have way better lunches HC, now don't complain :)

    Ektu hiung diye dekho, amar bhalo lage hing er gondho ta dal e. Amar Ma kintu dey na

    There is a Chana Dal kheer too ?

    Kitchen Flavors
    Thanks :)'

    Narkel thakle to kothai nei, amar chilo na tai almonds dilam

  9. Sandeepa, yes! anything for friendship :)
    In our parts chana dal, like Nirmala mentioned is always used as accompaniment - added to veggies, seasoning etc., but never a star by itself. Got to give this way a try. Almond for coconut is the new in thing so you are right on.

  10. umm i m gng to mke this soon,.;-

  11. looks awesome bhalo rang hoeche.I also love cholar daal especially with Kochuri. amar akta version ache dekhi samay kore post korbo.

  12. love cholar daal especially with kochuri...dekhte fatafati darun rang hoeche.

  13. A virtual friend is more stronger this days....Almond in dhal definetly something crunchy !

  14. And I'm thrilled! Thanks. I have a cholar dal too, on my blog - it's one of the first Bengali dishes that I ever tried (in the pre-blogging life).

  15. mmmmmm must try this! (I think I'm addicted to dhal!)

  16. aaj shokhale ami bhachilam je cholar dal ami pot korini. of bengali dishes, A loves this cholar dal the best. luchi ar kochuri korlei chola dal kortei hoye. almonds sound good!

  17. The recipe is perfect as it is. Adding Kasturi methi would clash and totally ruin the subtle flavor of coconut.

    I originally come from north and have moved to Bengal and see that people here love to put things just for the sake of it to ruin the taste. They ruin the taste of classic Bengali food and even other food. Some caterer here kept arguing with me about Dal Makhani getting char magaz and curry leaves. All my life spent with Punjabis here in Delhi and Punjab, I never ever saw these two ingredients added to daal makhani traditionally cooked at dhabas or household.

  18. uppity..:))
    I am a staunch puri chole person but this dal luchi combination is making me curious. Have to try it, uppity or not.So how was thanksgiving/

  19. ohhhhhhhh! My Bengali friends spoke about this always. Is this an authentic dish?

    The addition of almonds is very interesting!

  20. My friend and I would frequent a bengali hole in the wall place and they would serve this dal with chawal and roti and a green chilli on used to taste so darn good!

  21. The almonds are a beautiful touch! I made your alur dom two days back (with double the spice!) and it was a great hit!

  22. Dear Sandeepa
    Just back from a marathon drive into the Himalayas..and here is my favorite dish. Hing sounds great,never thought about it, will give that effect of eating with Hing-er Kochuri :-)
    I normally put cumin with other seasonings , followed by coconut small pieces and raisins in the ghee and then add the dal. But I wont use Kasuri methi, it is a flavor spoiler. ( Although I am making Kasuri methi alu now :-))
    Thanks for the Hing suggestion.
    Bhalo theko


  23. Usnish Da

    You have hit the nail. That is the sole reason I think I put hing

  24. Ohh Yes! Chana Dal Kheer is the easiest to make if you ask me & delicious at the same time. Check this out

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. hi, I am very new reader of your blog. yesterday i have tried this recipe...and i really liked it. thanks a ton

  27. My dad loves that kind of soups so I think that I'll send thin link to him.

  28. So this is one of those dals where there is no phodon? Only garam masla phodon hmnn now i got why my cholar was coming short of the authentic flavor, I used to put jeere phodon :(

  29. This turned out excellent. Just the right balance is spices and sweetness, quite firm almost dry

  30. How do you recommend I cook the dal if I have no pressure cooker? Just simmer it for an hour?


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