Cholar Dal- Chana Dal Bengali style


Cholar Dal  is a very typical Bengali recipe.

Made very often for festivities like the Durga Puja, this is also made for special occasions, parties or even for a weekday lunch.

 Thick in texture, with rich overtones of cinnamon, bayleaf, cloves and cardamon, this dal is best eaten with Luchi or parathas, a favourite in my husband’s family.

Fresh coconut pieces, that are lightly fried are added at the end, just before serving. They lend a nice crunchy texture to the dal. You could always make the dal without the coconut. For an everyday recipe, you could also do without the cashewnut and raisins,however, they are a must for special occasions.


  • Chana dal- 1 cup
  • Water- 2 1/2 cups
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander/ dhania powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Raisins (kishmish)- 1 tsp (optional)
  • Cashewnuts- 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Grated ginger- 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar- 1 pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coconut chips- 2 tsp (optional)

Ingredients for tempering/ Tadka

Cumin seeds/ Jeera- 1/4 tsp

Cinnamon /dalchini- 1 inch
Cloves /laung- 4
Green cardamoms/ choti elaichi- 4
Bay leaf/tej patta- 2
Dry Red chilies- 2
Ghee/ oil – 2 tbsp

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Step 1

In a small wok, add 1 tsp oil. Fry the coconut chips and keep aside. If using cashewnuts fry them and keep aside too.

Step 2

Rinse and soak the dal for half an hour in water.

Step 3

In a wok, add the ghee. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, dry red chillies and all the other spices for tempering in rapid succession. The cloves and cardamom will start swelling u as soon as they hit the hot oil.

Step 4

Pressure cook the dal with the water till soft. Remember chana dal takes longer than any other dal to cook, so it is safe to cook it for 3-4 whistles. However, the dal should be whole and not mushy.

Step 5

Add in the cooked dal with the water.

Step 6

Add the turmeric powder, grated ginger, sugar , salt and let simmer till the dal is thick.

Step 7

Add in the fried coconut pieces, cashewnut pieces (optional). Add in the raisins.

Step 8

Serve hot!


This dal is best served with  rice, parathas, or motorshuti kachori!

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