Fennel-Ginger Dal

Ok, another Bengali recipe…  this one is quite unique, and is a perfect to eat together with alu-posto, one of the other recipes I just posted.  This recipe uses urad dal, a white coloured dal, that is normally used for idli, dosa, and other such recipes where you can’t actually recognize it in the final result.

Actually, I discovered this recipe in a round-about way.  We were translateing a few of the 5018 songs known as Prabhat Samgiita, that were given by the founder of Ananda Marga.  Most of them are mystical songs with spiritual (and some social) themes.  And then there are a few that are really just for fun!  One is about certain favourite Bengali food items…  since they were mostly quite local, it took a while to find out the authentic translation in English.  The most difficult to find was ‘virir-dal’, or’kalai-dal’, which is the recipe you ahve here.  After finding the translation, I became curious to try out the recipe, and searched far and wide on internet until I finally found it!  I have also posted the translation of the song at the end of the page.  I will probably post some of the other recipes later.


1 cup urad dal (split and skin-less)

4 green chillies, slit in half

1/4 teaspoon hing (or even less)

4 large teaspoons fennel seeds

4 cm piece of fresh ginger



3 1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)



  1. Dry roast the dal until some parts start to become golden.  (This step is optional, you can also skip it- the texture and taste will be a little different).
  2. Pressure cook the dal with 2 1/2 cups water and turmeric for 4 whistles.  Once it is cooked, you can whisk it a little with a fork to break it a bit.
  3. Grind the fennel and ginger with a little water into a paste.  There are a few ways to do this.  Chop or grate the ginger and then grind with fennel and water in a blender.  Or grind the fennel in a coffee grinder, grate the ginger, and smash everything together with a little water in a morter and pestle.  Either way, it should be paste-like.
  4. Heat the oil, and add the chillies, hing, and fennel-ginger paste.  Fry until the paste become dry and has a nice aroma.  Add the dal to the spices, and then add teh salt and remaining 1 cup water.  Cook for some time more to reach the desired consistency, and to help the flavours mix.  (It is not a very thick dal).  Serve hot with rice.

ps 5005


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