After the Mango Dal from Andhra Pradesh, Dal Fry from North India and Khatthi Meethi Dal from Gujarat, our next stop for a dal recipe is in West Bengal. The cholar dal is a speciality of this Eastern India state and is again on the sweeter side like the Gujarati Dal. Apparently, people make this dal quite sweet – as per their personal preference.
Addition of fried coconut bits, and sometimes even cashews and raisins make this a very different preparation from the other dal recipes. And like all other dal recipes, once the dal is pressure cooked, rest of the process is mostly a quick tempering which is added to balance and enhance the flavours.
Cholar Dal (Bengali Chana Dal)Course: MainCuisine: Indian, West BengalDifficulty: Easy
A traditional dal preparation from West Bengal using chana dal
- For Pressure Cooking
Chana Dal/Split Bengal Gram Dal – ½ cup
Water – 1.5 cups
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – as per taste
- For Tempering
Coconut slices – 2 tbsp
Fennel Seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
Bay Leaf – 1
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Green Cardamom – 2
Cloves – 2-3
Ginger – ½ inch piece, grated or finely chopped
Dry Red Chilli – 2, broked into two
Red Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
Sugar – 1-2 tsp (adjust per personal preference)
Step by Step Process
- Wash the dal and soak it for 2 hours. Drain off the excess water and pressure cook the dal with turmeric, salt and water for 3-4 pressures. Let the pressure release naturally. The dal should be cooked through and soft, but still retain its shape.
- In a kadai, add the ghee and add the coconut slices and fry them till a golden-brown color. Remove it from heat.
- In the same kadai, add some more ghee and once hot, add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
- Once the seeds crackle, add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and dry red chilli and cook for a couple of minutes till the ginger is fragrant.
- To this, add the chilli powder and saute for a couple of seconds.
- Next, add the cooked dal to this and stir well.
- Add the sugar and more salt, if needed, and stir well.
- This dal is usually of a thick consistency. Let it boil till the consistency is slightly thick. It will thicken further as it cools down.
- Finally, add the fried coconut slices and serve hot with some luchis.