Cholar Dal (Bengali Chana Dal)

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


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



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
  • Ghee

  • 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)


  • 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.

Recipe Video

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