Cholar Dal is the perfect accompaniment to Luchis. This mildly flavored dal is a perfect option for those who don’t like their food too spicy!
So yesterday we ate luchis, how could cholar dal be left behind? Cholar dal is a Bengali preparation of mildly spiced and slightly sweet channa dal. Personally, I think it is a bit bland but with luchis and pickles, it tastes pretty good. However, the child at home loves it and I think its perfect food for kids since it hardly has spices. I was introduced to this by a Bengali friend years ago, when O was still a wee toddler and I was looking for adding variety to his food.
This dal is very simple and has very minimal ingredients. While it is usually made during the festivals, especially Durga puja, this dal is also a standard dish for special occasions like a wedding or a birthday. I guess, for me, what makes it a winner is the easy procedure of making it. Just a few steps and some ingredients and you have a winner in hand.
Surprisingly, this dal does not use any panch poran masala (typical Bengali masala with five spices, which is a standard in a lot of Bengali dishes) and yet the flavors are so amazing. There is no onion or garlic to this dal, but there are strands of coconut which are used to impart that slightly sweet flavor. And what makes the dal more flavorsome is the use of ghee for the tadka. So don’t skip that, ok?
You can make this dish completely gluten free by avoiding the hing. And also, channa dal is really good for health too. Did you know that? It is apparently low in hypoglycemic index and is great for diabetic patients. It is a great source of zinc, calcium and proteins. Now, these are reason enough to try this dal at home, isn’t it?
Cholar Dal : Bengali Style Channa Dal
- 1 cup channa dal
- 2 - 3 cups water for boiling
- 2 tsps ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup coconut sliced
- 2 - 3 green chillies sliced
- pinch heeng
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- to taste salt
- Wash and soak the channa dal in warm water for approximately an hour.
- Pressure cook your channa dal with salt and turmeric till just done. We don't want the dal to be mushy. I give it one whistle and then lower the heat and cook for 5-6 minutes and let the pressure release itself.
- In a small pan heat ghee and add heeng, roast for a minute till it turns brown. Add the cumin seeds and roast further for about 2 minutes till golden brown. Add the green chillies.
- Add the sliced coconut and roast till it starts to turn brown. Add this to the dal along with sugar and bring to boil.
- Serve hot with luchis or rice.