Cholar dal/ Chana dal

This is a nutritious and tasty dish, its speciality being tchanahat is is a little sweet
.  Apparently, it is made during festivals in Bengal, but I make it any time!  There are a few versions around, so any suggestions to improve this one are also most welcome!

Chana dal is a kind of pulse made from split black chickpeas.


1 cup chana dal (soak for 1 or 2 hours before so it cooks faster)

2 1/2 cups water

1 green cardamom pod

1 clove

1 tsp turmeric

1 bay leaf


-Place all above ingredients in a pressure-cooker and cook for 4 or 5 whistles.  (This is with an India-style pressure cooker.  With the European style, you will probably have to cook for around 8-10 minutes one it has reached full pressure.  If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it will take at least 45 minutes…  so better just buy one!!)


1 spoon ghee (or oil if you don’t have ghee, but the taste is different)

2-3 green cardamom

2 cloves

1 small stick cinnamom (or a (very) little powder if you don’t have the stick- you can also leave it out)

2 dry red chillies


1-2 teaspoons sugar or gur

2 spoons toasted grated coconut (fresh is best, but if you don’t have it, dry coconut also works, but 1 spoon is probably enough)

1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

-Heat the ghee or oil, and add the chilli, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamom stick.  Lastly, add a little hing.  (If you only have cinnamom powder, add it directly to the dal).

-Add the ghee with spices to cooked dal, along with the sugar or gur, coconut, and ginger.  Boil until you have the right consistency (it should be quite thick).  Serve hot with rice or puri.


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