Cholar Dal / Bengali Channa dal

Cholar Dal / Bengali Channa dal

Cholar Dal is a popular Bengali festive dish. No Bengali festival is complete without this Cholar Dal (Channa dal). Be it Durga Puja or wedding or any celebration, this simple, sathwik (because it uses no onion or garlic) dal plays a great role in the menu. Being a festive dish, it’s little sweet due to the addition of coconut and raisins & little spicy due to addition of all masalas– the ingredients that make this dish very delicious.

Cooking vegetarian dishes is a bit challenging for Bengalis. More so if it has to no onion, no garlic. But this dal takes thee cake. In general, dal is considered a comforting food. Being a festive dish, this dal is little away from the normal simple comforting dal. The addition of spices and Raisins make it rich and delicious at the same time. Added to that it uses Channa dal which is a little heavy. Hence do NOT forget to add asafoetida that helps in digestion.

Most importantly, the taste and texture of the Dal depends on how it is cooked. It should not be mushy but cooked perfectly. Traditionally it is served with Luchi or Kachori. But it goes very well with any rice, roti, paratha, puri, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Can’t be more versatile than this.

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Cholar Dal
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Bengali
Serves: 4 people
  • ½ cup Channa dal (soaked for 2 hrs)
  • 1¼ cups water (approximately 2 to 2½ times water)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp jaggery powder
  • Tempering:
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida
  • 2 dry red chillies broken
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 green chillies & 1” piece ginger crushed coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (optional)
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coconut grated / cut into thin pieces
  1. Drain and add the dal and water in pressure cooker.
  2. Add turmeric powder and Bay leaves and cook for 2 whistles. Let pressure settle.
  3. The dal should be cooked in such a way that the grains are soft and separate but not mushy.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, hing and broken chillies.
  5. When they are done, add cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick and roast till you get the aroma of the spices.
  6. Add crushed chilli and ginger, raisins and sauté for a few minutes
  7. Add chilli powder, cumin powder and garam masala.
  8. Sauté adding 2 teaspoon water to make sure that the masalas don’t burn.
  9. Add the dal with water, add salt and boil on a slow flame till the dal thickens slightly. It should be non watery.
Traditionally Bengali cuisine uses mustard oil. If you are not used it it, pl feel free to use oil of your choice.
The taste & texture of this dish depends a lot on how well the dal is boiled. The dal should be perfectly cooked, but not mushy.
The consistency of the dal depends on the main dish. If you want to eat it with rice, it can be a little watery. If its for Luchi, it can be a little thicker.

Serve with rice or Luchi (a kind of Puri).

Tastes best with rice and Begun Bhaja

Cholar dal


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Welcome to my blog


February 10th is celebrated as World Pulses Day. I am an avid fan of whole pulses / lentils. When I took a review of my posts so far, I realised I have as of today posted 22 recipes using whole pulses & legumes. I decided to compile all those recipes and make an eBook that you can download from my site.


Healthy Eating ?

Rama Ganapathy