Cholar dal (Bengali style chana dal) step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
Cholar dal is a popular Bengali dish usually prepared on special occasions. This delicious dish is made with Bengal gram, whole spices, and coconut, and is on the sweeter side. The aroma from whole spices and the texture from coconut makes it very unique. This Bengali-style chana dal is a great accompaniment with luchi (Bengali deep-fried puffed bread).
To make this dish, I first soak and boil chana dal with whole spices. I then prepare a tempering in ghee and add the boiled dal along with coconut slices, sugar, and raisins. This dal is on the sweeter side and is served slightly thick rather than a runny dal. It tastes great with both luchi and plain parathas.
This simple dal full of flavours is perfect for a weekend brunch. Here is how I make this dish. Do try it and let me know how you like it.
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This dal is:
- easy to make and suitable for beginners
- good source of protein for vegetarians
- easily adaptable to be vegan-friendly by replacing ghee with oil
Step by step instructions
1. Boil chana dal with whole spices (cardamom and cloves), turmeric, and salt
2. Heat ghee and prepare the tempering (seasoning) with cumin seeds, cinnamon, bay leaf, and dry red chilli. Then add ginger and hing
3. Add cooked dal, raisins, turmeric powder, and sugar
4. Add water and adjust consistency. Once the dal boils, let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens
5. Once the dal is simmered and thickens, then add fried coconut pieces
- 1 cup Bengal gram (chana dal)
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 3-4 tablespoon coconut sliced into small pieces
- 1 small piece cinnamon
- 1-2 cardamom
- 1-2 cloves
- 2 dry red chilli
- 1-2 bay leaf
- ½ inch ginger grated or ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- 3-4 green chilli or as per taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- A generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- A handful raisins
- Soak the chana dal in sufficient water for 1 hour
- Rinse thoroughly and boil it in sufficient water along with cardamom, clove, ½ teaspoon turmeric, and salt. Make sure the dal is cooked, but is not mushy and holds its shape
- Heat ghee in a thick bottom pan or kadhai. Add the coconut slices and gently fry them until golden. Set aside
- In the same pan, add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add cinnamon, bay leaf, dry red chilli and fry for a few seconds
- Add ginger and hing and saute for a few seconds
- Add the cooked dal, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, green chilli, sugar, and raisins. Add water and adjust consistency
- Once the dal boils, let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. Check for seasoning and adjust
- Add the fried coconut pieces and mix well. Turn off the flame
- Serve hot with luchi