Cholar Dal is a quintessential Bengali Dal that we prepare during any special occasion and especially during the festive season. We prepare this dal with Bengal gram (chana dal) and it has a beautiful flavor blend of sweet and savory. Paired with Luchi, this is such an indulging hearty meal.
We enjoy this classic Cholar Dal during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Filled with warm flavors, this Bengali Chana Dal comes together super quick and with very minimal ingredients.
The texture of the dal is prepared based on what you are pairing it with. The dal tastes good with rice or luchi or paratha.
You keep it more soupy if you are enjoying it with rice and make it into a thicker stew if you are serving with Luchi.
My favorite way to enjoy Cholar Dal is with Luchi, and so I keep the texture thick.
Pure Vegetarian Cholar Dal
Every family makes dal a little different based on how spicy they want it and what texture they prefer.
I personally prefer the Pure Vegetarian Cholar Dal without any onion and garlic.
Spices Used in this Bengali Chana Dal
- Bengali five spice – Paanch Phoron – Link to the recipe
- Bhaja Moshla – A unique three spice blend spice mixes used in several vegetarian recipes. Link to the recipe
- Cinnamon Stick
- Green Cardamoms
Few Key Ingredients that make this Dal so interesting:
- Sliced Coconut
Split Bengal Gram (chana dal) is very commonly confused with Split Pigeon Peas (toor dal). They both look very similar, except the Bengal gram is chunkier and doesn’t cook down to creamy or mushy.
It’s kept whole and soft, giving a beautiful texture at every spoonful.
Just how Dal Makhani is a specialty in North Indian wedding and special occasions, we Bengalies love our Cholar Dal the exact same way.
The sweetness from coconut and raisins works beautifully with the earthy chana dal. Making it so very comforting!
Pro-tip to prepare Cholar Dal
Soak the Split Bengal Gram overnight and then boil, so the texture comes out perfect. You want to see the texture of the dal, but it should also just melt in mouth.
Since there are no onion added, you want to mix the dry spices with water before adding to the wok. This will avoid the spices getting burnt in hot oil.
The dal is typically prepared in mustard oil for the pungent aroma. But at the end, add a little ghee.
Once you soak and boil the dal which in my opinion takes more amount of time. The rest of the cooking happens effortlessly with almost no chopping at all. This festive season give this Cholar Dal a try!
- 1/2 cup Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
- 1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
- Few coconut slices, sliced in tiny pieces
- 1/4 cup cashew
- Few raisins
- 2 green chili
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon panch phoron (Indian five spice)
- 3 green cardamoms
- few cloves
- 1 teaspoon Bengali Bhaja Moshla (link in notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- Sat and sugar as per taste
- Soak the chana dal in water overnight.
- Boil the dal but don't make it mushy. You want it to hold the texture.
- In a bowl, add the bhaja moshla and turmeric with little water and whisk.
- In a heavy bottom wok, add the oil and heat it up. Then add the coconut slices and roast it to golden. Also roast the cashew. Take both out of the wok and keep aside to be used later.
- To the wok at medium heat, add the whole spices (bay leaves, cardamoms and clove and panch phoron) and stir for few seconds. Then add the spice paste that was kept aside and keep stirring for few seconds. Add the grated ginger and continue stirring.
- Add the boiled dal and mix it around. Season with salt and add some sugar. Now add the green chili, toasted coconut and cashew along with the raisins.
- Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Once done, taste for salt and add more if needed.
- Finally, add the ghee.
- You can make some extra toasted coconut slices to garnish on top.
RECIPE LINK for Indian Five Spice and Bengali Bhaja Moshla
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1 Servings
Amount Per Serving Calories 290Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 8mgSodium 253mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 5gSugar 18gProtein 5g
All nutrition information presented are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.