Friday, 13 March 2009

Cholar Dal diye Muri Ghonto / Fish head cooked in lentils

The hills on the outskirts of the city are clearly visible from our windows or balcony. The changing seasons show them in different hues throughout the year .... my favorite being the monsoons. Not only do they turn into absolutely beautiful hues of green but also are a great help to me ... I can see the rains approaching my place much before they actually do .... giving me ample time to be prepared for them .... read shut the windows etc.

A couple of evenings back we were enjoying a light breeze on the balcony when we saw this fire on the hills. I couldn't help clicking these snaps .... knowing full well that that the zoom is not enough for the distance.

So you can see a lot of noise in the snaps .... but I just had to share them with you all. :-)

Coming to today's dish ... it is a Bengali favourite. Fish head is a delicacy in Bengali cuisine .... but it is not one of those delicacies that are made rarely or occassionally. On the contrary it is a regular in Bengali homes ... often incorporated with different kinds of dals or vegetables like cabbage and sometimes with rice too.
Even though Moong dal is commonly used when cooking fish head, my Ma used to make an equally tasty version with the Cholar dal or Chana dal. It used to be thickish with a very subtle sweetness. The dal that I get here never turns out that way ... maybe because we get the polished version here.
To save time I cook the dal in the pressure cooker and add the already fried fish head later.

Need : Washed and soaked chana dal, fish head marinated with salt and haldi/turmeric powder, onion paste, ginger paste, chopped tomatoes, whole green cardamom, whole cloves, bay leaves, whole red chillies, haldi / turmeric powder, salt and sugar to taste, water, a little mustard oil.

How to : Heat enough mustard oil and fry the fish head and keep aside.
In a pressure cooker heat a little mustard oil. Add the whole cardamoms, cloves, red chillies and the bay leaves. Then add the onion paste and fry well.
Then add the ginger paste, the chopped tomatoes, haldi powder, salt and sugar. Fry well.

Add water, cover and cook till dal is done ( should be around 3 whistles on low heat).

Wait till steam is released. Open cooker and add the fish head. Cover and let it boil well for some time. Adjust water and keep stirring till everything mixes up well.

Serve hot with steamed plain rice.


  1. u are so fortunate to have a pretty hill to look at from your window. where we live, it is as flat as it can be.

    BTW recipe ta to heavy dieycho:-) iiiisssh ki khete ichey korchey. ma korte moog dal diye, cholar dal diye kono din khayi ni... ami cheshta kore chi kintu thik oi taste hoye na. tomar ta to besh authentic lagchey:-)
    that pic is pretty.even tho at a distance.

  2. Cholar Dal maacher matha diye khaini, thik i bolecho shob shomoy moong dal e kheyechi
    Dekhe khub khide pache, aaj shokale cereal er box khule dekhi sesh, tai sudhu dudh kheye esechi ar ekhon black tea khachi. Tai bujhtei parcho ki abostha
    Ajke tar upor amar niramish, salad ar dal ache sudhu, lunch er jonno :(

    Amar hubby macher matha muri ghonto(chaal diye) chara khai na. Oi jonyoo amar ar bandhakopi ba dal e deoa hoy na. Jokhon Ma ba in-laws ra she tokhon khaoa hoi

  3. Thanks Soma! Post ta korar koyek ghonta pore ekhon besh megh kore jhir jhir brishti hocche. First rain of the year! :-) Chobi tulte gelam ... bhalo holona. :-) Dalta ekbar baniye dekho .. bhalo lagbe.

    Sandeepa .. bhabte paro ... aaj amar o lunch korai holona .. shudhu koyekta peanuts chibiyechi,ar post lekhar shomoye amar i pet chenchamenchi korchilo. :-)
    Niramish amar o bhalo lagena.
    Mone hocche aaj boro dukkher din. :-(

  4. Sharmila,
    it looks so delicious , never had it with cholar dal though ..
    and hill pics are awesome...I mean ami jaani zoom kore eyirokhom chobi neva eto easy noi ,amader camera professional noi hain na!!..great pics ...
    hugs and smiles

  5. Cholar daal die macher matha besh notun variation. amar hubby abar macher matha die kara dish bhishon bhalobase, ami aaji katla macher matha die bhaja muger daal banalam Aswini'r Lentil melate debar jonyo. kaal chobi tulbo. next time tomar ei recipe ta try korbo. besides tomar alu fulkoi ta baniechilam kal. khub bhalo hoechilo... quick and tasty.

  6. wowowow..cant stop drooling Sharmila..:)..Back at home,I used to fight for fish heads with mom,cos bro wont eat that..:D..combo of it with dal sounds so so drooling..!!
    The hill pics look are lucky as Soma said..:)

  7. Thanks Jaya! Cholar dal diye kore dekho ... ektu thickish rekho .. khub bhalo lagbe. :-)
    Snap ta ratre tulechi ... tobe khali chokhe agun ta dekhte ki shundor lagchilo dur theke. :-)

    Thanks Sayantani! Aloo phulkopi try korecho jene bhalo laglo. :-) Ei dalta amar khub priyo ... jodio macher matha dile bodh hoye ucche o amar priyo hoye uthbe. :-)

    Thanks Varsha! You love fish head too! Then do try this recipe ... am sure you'll love it. :-)

  8. Ki byapar go tomader...tomra shobai ajkal Ghonto pachchiko shobai mile..tumi Cholar Daal die Muri Ghonto...r Sandeepa BandhaKopir Ghonto...ekhon ki Ghonto pakabar contest cholche? :D

    Jokes apart...recipe ta amar kache notun bcoz Ma Moong Dal diye kawre!

  9. I am a total novice here, kono ghonto ii banaate aami pari naa..kheyechhi jodio but aamar mone nei bishesh!! :(
    Aamar khoob bhalo laage traditional bangla recipes shikhte. Aami ei ranna gulo jedin rendhe khawate parbo khoob khushi hobo :)
    A big thank you for sharing.

  10. Sharmila, hills e je aagun legechhilo, did it cause any harm to the local people? I am sure there must be people living out there!! aagun taa dekhe baar baar mone hochhe, kaarur badi noshto holo hoyto, baa karur kono khhoti holo!! it seems like a pretty huge fire. The hills must be so pretty and serene to look at otherwise.

  11. wow a view to a hill?!!! that's awesome..:)
    Great recipe, could I make this with spinach instead of the fish? you a recipe for an authentic cholar dal that you could post? I'm looking for one!

  12. Fire in hills or jungles is common here Joyeeta. Bengal/Bihar/Orissa te khub dense jungle hoye ... shekhane to agun laga khub common.
    Besides local people out here burn the sugarcane fields after a harvest ... so don't worry ... am sure nobody was hurt. :-)

    Thanks Ranjani! You can definitely use spinach for this ... and if you want a little bulkier stuff you can use cauliflower too. With veggies it will be better if you use a little roasted jeera powder in the dish. Will taste great. :-)

  13. And yes Ranjani ... will definitely post the usual cholar dal soon. :-)

  14. Sharmila, aamio taai guess korchhilaam that it may be a forest fire but taao ekta doubt hochhilo!!


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!