Mar 09

Cholar Dal

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There is almost a 50 page report waiting for me to be completed by tonight and submitted tomorrow morning. So, it seems to be a long night. In all these lab reports – proteins, DNAs, RNAs and whatever molecules you can name of, I just thought of publishing this post tonight. Cholar dal is one of my favorite lentils. Cholar dal or chana dal is prepared in different ways throughout India. This preparation is very specific to Bengal. This authentic Bengali recipe has an affluence of sweet taste in it, and the charming yellow color will drive any foodoholic crazy. Cholar dal is best had with kachuri, luchi or chapattis.

As the wiki link says, Chana dal is produced by removing the outer layer of Kala chana (black chickpeas) and then splitting the kernel. Although machines can do this, it can be done at home by soaking the whole chickpeas and removing the loose skins by placing the chickpeas between two towels and rubbing with a rolling pin.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 25min
Serves 6


  • Bengal gram (Cholar Dal): 1 cup
  • Coconut (Narkel): ½ cup, cut into very small pieces
  • Ginger paste (Ada bata): 2 tablespoon
  • Turmeric Powder (Halud guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Lal lankar guro): 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder (Dhane guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar (Chini): 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili (Lal lanka): 3 /4
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel) : 3 tablespoon
  • Clarified butter (Ghee): 1 tablespoon


  • Soak the pulses for half-an-hour before preparing
  • Put the soaked pulses along with salt in a pressure cooker with ample water so that the dhal remains 1cm below the water level, cook till three whistles of the pressure cooker
  • Take out of flame, let the pressure cooker cool
  • Open the lid, add ginger paste, cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, sugar – mix well with the cholar dal
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom wok and fry the coconut pieces till brownish, take out and keep aside
  • In the same heated oil add the chilies and fry till then turn a darker shade of red, pour in the boiled dal, pour in little more water if required
  • Cook till the dal attains the desired consistency, pour in the ghee if using
  • Garnish with the fried coconut pieces, serve warm with puri or luchi

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  3. sangeeta

    hii its a great post!!! For a cook like me who is new on board. well i jst want to ask cumin is not mentioned in the ingridient list but you later mentioned in preparation so what would be the quantity for the same. Hope to hear from you.

  4. dr amrita

    Good recepie loved it .simple nd easy to cook .

  5. dr amrita

    Good recepie .easy to make nd tasted very good ..i love bengali food especially vegetarian. t hanx

  6. soham

    madam, your recipes are really really great.I follow your recipe whenever i cook for my wife and dad. They love it. your recipes are learning process for those who wants to cook proper traditional bengali recipes. thank you for helping.

  7. debjani

    Ilove cholar dal. this is too good.

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Cholar dal with luchi on a Sunday morning followed by a sandesh is just heavenly. :)

  8. rajon

    … hold on a sec. Dal without onion! sounds strange

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Cholar dal is never had with onions as it subdues the other flavours

      1. Tamal

        Dada money hocchey south-indian…peyaj chara dal bojhen na! Only bangalider-i peyaj charao prochur ranna aachey…ami kazakhstan thekey ei blog portey portey satti jibey jal eney felechi…Dhanyabad Sudeshnaji key

        1. Sudeshna Banerjee

          Tumi ki kazakhstan-e cholar dal khuje pao?

        2. Lakshmi


          For your information, south Indians also cook various dals without onions. For example, sambar can be made without onions, and rasam, molakutal, koottu, etc are all dal preparations made without onions.

          Please don’t bring the Bengali-non Bengali issues into a food blog.

      2. Chandrima

        ..many cuisines in india …are based on onion ginger garlic …melange ….Bengal n uttar pradesh N Bihar …boost a lot of delicacies …with the subtle flavors of panch phoron….ginger + tomato ….Ada Kanchalonka phoron ….only heeng….only kalojeere…only mustard seeds….the original taste of the food’s key players steal the show n play the main role in such cuisines ….n is not masked by the strong onions…n gg pastes…..am glad sudeshna ….you r holding the batten to true flavors…

  9. Sudeepta

    Thanks for the recipe. Cholar dal is awesome with luchi or kochuri :)
    I preapre it with a slight variation. I use jeere phoron in ghee and add a pinch of hing to perk it up.

    will try out this recipe soon.

  10. Oto Kiralama


  11. vanamala

    Nice recipe…

  12. sahiti

    Thank you very much Sudeshna….for the recipe…and for that important tip too.

  13. Kalyan

    Very nice pic. specially the third one. yellow dals are quite difficult to click

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Thanks a lot for the appreciation, I really had a hard time clicking

  14. Sharmilee

    Dhal is all time comfort dish, looks gud!

  15. Deepa G Joshi

    hey the dal looks so comforting..too good clicks..

  16. sahiti

    Love the subtle flavours of this daal.
    I’ve learnt this one from a pressure cooker cook book when I was newly married…..and served with pulao to guests, and this combi has become “my speciality dish” in my friends circle…D.
    Btw,I’ve small block of khajur gud (nalen gur in bengali?).Can you please suggest a recipe using it…not sandesh….Thank you in advance Sudeshna.

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee


      Thank you for your comment here. There are a lot of ways to use up the nalen gur you have, but the simplest way is probably to prepare gurer payesh, I have used sugar for sweetening in here. You can use the gur instead. Use a little less gur than the specified sugar in here.
      PS: Before pouring the gur to the payesh, put in a little gur to some warm milk and see if it curdles. Don’t use the gur if the milk gets curdled. It happens at times.

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