Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Bengali Cholar Dal / Chana Dal / Bengal gram cooked with coconut pieces

Spring is here. The city is a riot of colours ... one of the reasons I love this city so much. The roadsides are filled with every colour of the Bougainvillea plant ... the banyans and peepals bursting with fresh baby leaves .... and at the same time the trees are shedding old leaves in the light spring wind.

It is beautiful everywhere. :-) I will click some snaps and post them next time.

On one of our drives last weekend hubby mentioned how wonderful it is that God gave the boon of longevity only to plants ... rather ... trees ... the most harmless living things on mother earth. And how it is that the most intelligent species on earth are the only ones who can destroy them.

I clicked this peepal , our neighbor, early this morning. By tomorrow the leaves will be green ... yes, they change / grow very fast. :-)

My recipe here is again a simple dal ... the Cholar Dal ... or the Chana dal ... cooked with coconut pieces ... a favorite with all Bengalis.
A few of our friends ... and Ranjani had asked for the recipe. So here it is.

This dal is usually cooked to a thick consistency and is slightly sweetish too. A must have during Durga Puja, this is enjoyed as a breakfast too ... and is almost always had with Luchis / Puris.
The health conscious can have it with Parathas too ... but believe me ... if it has to be enjoyed ... it has to be with Luchis.

Having it with rotis is sacrilege though. ;-)
There are different ways of cooking this dal ... but as it is usually made on festive occassions, there is hardly any use of onion or garlic. Of course, you can make it with masalas too.

Need : Chana dal / Bengal gram, chopped fresh coconut pieces, bay leaves, whole dry red chillies, green cardamom, haldi / turmeric powder, salt and sugar to taste, ginger paste ( optional) , cooking oil, water.

How to : Wash the chana dal. Cook it in a pressure cooker with a pinch of haldi / turmeric and a little salt.

Heat a little oil in a kadhai / wok. Add the bay leaves, green cardamom and the red chillies.

If using ginger paste add now.
Add the chopped coconut pieces and fry till they turn brown.
Now add the cooked dal and a little sugar. Simmer till it turns thickish. Adjust salt and sugar to taste.
That's all. Believe me ... no other masala is needed ... not even powdered garam masala.
Alternatively .... if you want to save time ... cook everything directly in the pressure cooker ... tempering first, then add ing the coconuts and then the dal & water.
After releasing the steam, simmer it till the desired consistency.
If you want you can sprinkle a spoonful of ghee on top of it. Serve hot with luchis / parathas.


  1. amar rajasthani bor er jonne .. luci korlei ei dalkorte hoye:-) the very first time ami mishti di ni.. then he asked for it.. tai ami ektu chini di. tumi ki shundot easy way to reciep lekho!
    pune is a lovely city, very very pretty! i can almost visualize the bougnavillias..

  2. Love that peepal tree. Cholar dal yummy lagche

  3. Finally! I was hunting for the perfect cholar dal recipe, because the one I had lacked something.Then I saw Ranjani asking you, and knew its coming soon:)

    Accha, pls tell me, how bad is it to use grated, frozen coconut because its painful to procure fresh coconut here.

  4. thnks for the recipe,..:-)will give this try soon,..

  5. channa dal with coconut..innovative and new recipe..looks good..

  6. Soma thanks! Amar bor abar torkarite mishti bhalobashe na .. kichu bole na .. tobe khub kom enthu diye khaye. :-)
    Cholar dal ektu mishti na holey bhalo lage na. :-)

    Thanks Sandeepa! :-)

    Thanks Rashmi!

    I won't call it bad ... we do use grated coconut in dal ... especially Dalma / Dalna ( http://kichukhonn.blogspot.com/2008/05/dalna-dalma.html)

    ... but the usual cholar dal is always made with chopped fresh coconut.
    Since chana dal has a distinct taste of its own ... this way the flavors are not mixed up and yet enjoyed together in every mouthful.

    Of course if you don't have an option do use grated coconut. :-)
    Am sure there won't be much difference in the taste.
    Hope this helps. Any other questions ... just yell. :-)

    Thanks Priyanka, Trupti! :-)

  7. baah baah baah!! this is the perfect chholar dal...and again although I was not fond of this dal when I was young, I love it now (hehe funny to have to say when I was young!!) :)
    Khoob shundor aesthetic appeal thake the way u click pictures.
    Loved the way you described spring...can smell the fragrance of the new leaves in the air :)

  8. Mmmmm....Amar favourite Daal. Ei robibaar i korechhilam. Ami ektu jeera phoron & namanor aage ghee add kori..

  9. Yah! Spring time is the best..here the tulips are coming out so we know the worst is over.
    Fab. recipe Sharmila. It's this authentic stuff that is so hard to get a hold of.

  10. Thanks Preety! :-)

    Thanks Joyeeta! Tumi ekhono young. :-)

    Thanks SGD! I find jeera or paanch phoron too strong for this dal .. clashes with its subtle flavour. But then of course, to each his / her own. :-)

    Thanks Bharti! It is so simple that I have wondered if I need to blog about it .. but now I think my posting was worth it.
    Tulips huh? Lucky you. :-)

  11. cholar dal look so rich and yummy. Nice authentic recipe! :)

  12. This is incredibly good, Sharmila. I always wanted to try a great recipe with chana dal and this one has got to be it.

  13. enjoying it as i write this..it's sweet & fragrant & yummy

  14. Thanks Uma, Vaishali! :-)

    Am glad you tried & liked it Rashmi. :-)

  15. Yum!! it looks great:) thanks soo much for sharing this recipe!! I'm getting my mom to make this with lucchis for saturday morning brunch, will give you the verdict:))

  16. A pleasure Ranjani! Will be waiting. :-)

  17. First time here, following your blog now. I am planning to prepare this recipe over the weekend. Please do check my blog and specially an event called "Flavors of Bengal". I will appreciate your participation :)

  18. Tried this and blogging about it today :)

  19. I'm a 'Bong' at heart...and my tastebuds crave the food. Tried your chholar dal with narkol and aloo posto - both turned out great! Glad I stumbled upon your site!

  20. Sharmila

    I made the cholar dal yesterday for 25 people. Everybody loved it. I used scraped coconut instead of coconut slices.
    Your recipe is very simple and the food tasted great.

    I will be visiting your blog very often for simple recipes:-).

    Thank you,


  21. Thanks everybody! Sorry for not getting back earlier. :-)

    Thanks Anon and Mitra! Am glad you liked them. :-)

  22. Sharmila di,
    Tomar cholar dal-er recipe-ta peye je ki upokaar holo. Thanks,


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