Cholar Dal

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. 

Cholar Dal 

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. 

Bengali special chana dal

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
  • Clove 

Few Key Ingredients that make this Dal so interesting: 

  • Sliced Coconut 
  • Cashew
  • Raisins

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! 

Bengali special Chana Dal

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. 

Bengali Cholar Dal - Sweet and Savory

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! 

Cholar Dal

Cholar Dal

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

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. 


  • 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


  1. Soak the chana dal in water overnight.
  2. Boil the dal but don't make it mushy. You want it to hold the texture.
  3. In a bowl, add the bhaja moshla and turmeric with little water and whisk.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Once done, taste for salt and add more if needed.
  9. Finally, add the ghee.
  10. You can make some extra toasted coconut slices to garnish on top.


RECIPE LINK for Indian Five Spice and Bengali Bhaja Moshla

Nutrition Information
Yield 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.


Bengali Cholar Dal - Sweet and Savory
Did you enjoy this Cholar Dal? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Reem
    February 6, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    A simple dal like this is no less than a feast..
    Loving the pics. Stunning as always:)

  • Lail | With A Spin
    Lail | With A Spin
    February 6, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    What a co-incidence, Kankana. I soaked some cholar dal about half an hour ago to cook tomorrow and now your post. The photos are beautiful as always. Can’t wait to eat some dal tomorrow 😉

  • Papori
    February 6, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Yummy. Superlicious. :p

  • Anamika | madcooking
    Anamika | madcooking
    February 6, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    cholar dal looks so yum Kankana..awesome pics :), we make the chana dal in punjabi style, would love to try this version with Indian five spice!

  • Deepa
    February 6, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    only you can make a simple dal look so so gorgeous …ami luchi er shonge khabo…Thanks for this virtual treat

  • Mallika
    February 6, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Chana dal is not my favorite of all. Yet this one looks wow and I can probably eat this heartful! Your Cholar Dal looks delicious!

  • indugetscooking
    February 6, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    The dal is gorgeous. When there is no non [email protected], I like to cook dal. I like how you have added coconut flakes to the dish.

    Lovely, lovely pictures as always.

  • Prerna@IndianSimmer
    [email protected]
    February 6, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Love love LOVE! And you know that, don’t you? 🙂
    Making it tomorrow.

  • Joyti
    February 6, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Coconut flakes in dal – never had that before. And now I’d really like some dal…I haven’t made it in a while.

    Gorgeous, GORGEOUS photography! Your work really, truly does amaze me.

  • Rosa
    February 6, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    A great split pea dish! Wonderfully flavorful and wholesome food.

    I’m bookmarking that recipe.



  • chinmayie @ love food eat
    chinmayie @ love food eat
    February 7, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    I have a spiced yellow pea soup on my blog right now 🙂
    Beautiful dal and I am sure I can eat this as a soup.

  • Sia | Monsoon Spice
    Sia | Monsoon Spice
    February 7, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    Kankana, I keep getting comments on how easy it is to be food blogger as all you need is a good camera and write a recipe! I just smile every time I hear someone talk like that and walk away. hope one day they will understand 😉 If not, we are not really loosing anything!

    To make the humble and simple dal look this gorgeous is not easy and you have pulled it off with aplomb! A bowl of rice with ghee, dal and pickle is something that I never get tired of eating.

  • Archana
    February 7, 2013 at 4:36 AM

    Beautiful pics! I too make dal quite often at home…it’s just so simple to make and wholesome! Love the addition of coconut here!

  • Erin Hess
    Erin Hess
    February 7, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    As always you inspire me to write, cook and blog. Thank you. How long do you estimate boiling the dal will take. I don’t have a pressure cooker.

  • debjani
    February 7, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    Can I say this is your best yet? Although, I might say it again!
    You have tremendous talent, you certainly do. Someday you will be going places, teaching workshops and inspiring many more. I keep telling you the same thing, don’t I?
    That coconut does wonders to cholar daal. Cholar dal and bhaat, cholar daal diye luchi or porota…aar cholar daal diye murgir mangsho…

  • Charul @ Tadka Masal
    Charul @ Tadka Masal
    February 7, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    OH MY GOD YUMM! The pic with rice with dal poured on the top, that is my comfort food, to-go-food, not-in-mood-to-cook food and what not! Will try cholar dal now. 🙂

  • Radhika@JustHomemade
    [email protected]
    February 7, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    Can totally feel your thoughts about blogging being anything but easy. When I started blogging, I thought it would be an easy hobby to keep. But now, I know how consuming it is of me and not just my time! I know how much you put in to make each post so good and keep things consistent. That takes a lot!
    Know that you are doing a fantastic job out there!
    I’m sure your readers are very well aware of that and truly appreciate your efforts and talent too.. You have already come a long way from where you started and will go places for sure.. So, shake it off and smile your sunshine smile!

    As for the five spices, I am crazy about Paanch phoron. I need no excuse to use it in my kitchen often. The aroma has me intoxicated every time! Dal with five spices is an ultimate comfort food..

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      February 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Thanks so much sweetie 🙂 I am blessed to have friends like you in my life!

  • Vijitha Shyam
    Vijitha Shyam
    February 7, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    So beautiful! Dhal is one comfort food for sure.Everytime we make, I am sure we are transported to our growing up days.

  • Soma
    February 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I love it with luchis. Now I have to have some. I know what you are talking about…food blogging is no easy hobby. It’s definitely hard work if you want to do it nicely.

  • melanie
    February 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Oh wow, the pictures are absolutely amazing ! i love your style of photography !
    The recipe also sounds delicious … I think I will try it very soon !

    kind regards from vienna,

  • Abbe@ThisIsHowICook
    [email protected]
    February 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Without sounding like an idiot-is this the dal that is so often found on Indian buffets? I love that one and would love to figure out if this might work. I too, find dal very homey and wholesome.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    February 7, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Beautiful images! I love the flavors in your dal :).

  • Shri
    February 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Had this in Kolkata recently! The coconut slices and sweet-spices are new to me.
    Beautiful snapshots.

  • Sudeshna
    February 7, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    The colors are so brilliant, would love to have it as an entry for the Holi event in my blog.
    I never used panch phoron in cholar dal, I always do it with jeera. Will try panch phoron the next time I make it.

  • Meeta
    February 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Dal has always been special comfort food. My brother and I used to laugh at my mum when her cure to everything was a good dal! But now i totally agree. Whenever I miss them i make a good dal. Yours looks gorgeous!

  • dassana
    February 8, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    stunning pics of dal. i love the way you frame and compose your pics.

  • wok with ray
    wok with ray
    February 8, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    Someone once told me. . . “If you love what you do, you are not working.” That got stuck in my mind all these years and the same with food blogging. I treat it as fun activity or hobby but never a job because if I do . . . I am working for free. I don’t think anyone likes to work for free unless it’s for charity. But you don’t need to worry about any of these because I think you are a “natural.” You have the natural ability to see and to create all of these delicious food arts that amaze everyone including me, Kankana.

  • kale
    February 8, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    i totally relate to what you said about blogging. it doesn’t mean you don’t love it or don’t have fun to admit that it can also be hard.
    but i am happy you do it, because you make it look easy.

  • Pia
    February 9, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Kankana, I could flip through a book of your photography for hours and not get bored. You fill your blog with such beauty, really.

  • Eva
    February 9, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    That sounds delicious! I’ve never heard of Indian five spice before but now I am quite intrigued!

  • Kiran
    February 11, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I think we can all relate to the blogging issues. It’s never easy. But my philosophy about blogging is similar to Ray — take it as something you love doing, and it’ll never equate to “work” 🙂

    This recipe has “comfort” written all over it!

  • IshitaUnblogged
    March 5, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Fabulous pictures to accompany one of my favourite Bengali dals. Surprised that you haven’t mentioned Cholar Dal and Luchi! I love Cholar Dal with Pulao or Luchi or ‘Karaishutir kochuri’!

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