Cholar Dal

Cholar Dal is a very popular Bengali dish that is often made for festive celebrations in Bengal, specially for Durga Poojo bhog. This dal was introduced to me by my husband (who is a bengali) and instantly became my favorite. For me this dish truly symbolizes simplicity at its best,  it is aromatic and slightly sweet. Traditionally cholar dal is accompanied with luchi or kachori but we often have it with plain steamed rice.

For cooking chana dal:
1.5 cup split Chana dal or Bengal gram (soaked overnight or atleast 4-5 hours)
3.5 cups Water
1.5 tsp Turmeric powder

For Tempering:
1 Inch Cinnamon
2 Cloves
4 Cardamom Pods
1 Bay leaf
2 Dry red chilies
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 inch Ginger, grated
2 tbsp Coconut, chopped
1.5 tbsp Clarified butter (or ghee)

Other Ingredients:
Salt as required
1 tsp Sugar
2 Green chilies (slit lengthwise)


Preparing Dal:

  • Add soaked chana dal, turmeric powder and water to the pressure cooker.
  • Pressure cook the dal for 1-2 whistles on medium flame, let the pressure settle down on its own before you open the lid.
  • Once you open the lid, dal should be tender but should still hold its shape.


  • Heat clarified butter or ghee in a small pan.
  •  Add the coconut pieces and fry until they turn golden brown, transfer the fried coconut pieces in a bowl.
  • Add cumin seeds, once seeds start popping add dry red chilies, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and grated ginger.
  • Fry for a minute or two.

Putting it all together:

  • Add tempering to boiled chana dal.
  • Add salt, sugar, fried coconut pieces and green chilies.
  • Simmer it for 3-4 minutes.

Server it hot with some luchi or kachori or a big bowl of steamed rice!



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