Cholar Dal | Split Chickpea in Whole Spices & Coconut

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Have you found yourself in a state of absolute zero inspiration? something like “Cooking block” may be? I did and off late its too often. My only comfort in those hours are my friends who are just a ping away. It just makes my rest of the day easy. Why is the “What to cook today?” taunting me!

Off late though, I have started to take an approach towards that question – I ask myself – What has to be used up from the pantry? What would mom cook with it? Does F like it? then let’s make that. If he doesn’t – then add cheese. There is no dearth of must-try recipes on my secret board, just that Post Eid and up until now and no idea for how long more - I am taking a very relaxed approach on cooking meals. I think in the process of feeding my blog, I fed us too much calories and we both need to keep a tab on our health now. It is a very thin line between cooking for blog, or blogging what I cooked! :-P

Bengali cuisine never fascinated me until I went for my Bestie Rajashree’s wedding in Calcutta. That trip changed my outlook about Bengali food! I instantly loved most of their dishes except for the fish fried in mustard oil. Ewwwww. If you haven't read already, I have her Kosha Mangsho recipe too. Before I bid adieu to Bangalore, I stayed with her for a few days and ate all her signature dish and went to Oh! Calcutta for extra Bengali food fix! :-P

Cholar Dal | Split Chickpea in Whole Spices & Coconut

Today’s recipe is her Cholar Dal! I have lost count of number of times I have made this and each time I want to take a picture, the circumstances were never favourable. Either I have a Hangry man waiting, or the sun such refused to stay longer! :-) Even these pictures are taken in the late evening and I am not too happy but I just can’t wait any longer to share them here!

Cholar dal is made with cooked split chickpeas that is poured into a freshly prepared tempering of fennel seeds and grated coconut. A richer version is with lot more whole spices and nuts and raisins. Traditionally served with poori, but I serve with phulkas and rice. It has a unique taste that was new to us and we love to have it once in a while. It is not spicy hot but mildly sweet with the flavours of whole spices lingering in each scoop.

So here you go...

Cholar Dal | Split Chickpea in Whole Spices & Coconut 


Pressure cook:
3/4 cup split chickpeas (channa dal), soaked for at least an hour
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cups water to pressure cook the lentils
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Prepare tadka:
1 and 1/2 tablespoons ghee or more
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1" cinnamon stick
3 to 4 cloves
2 to 3 green cardamoms
2 to 3 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
a few cashew nuts and raisins
2 heap full tablespoon grated coconut


  1. Pressure cook the soaked split chickpea with the spice powders and water for 3 to 4 whistles and let it cool on its own. If you do not have pressure cooker, you can cook in a pot until channa dal is cooked through and are soft but holds its shape. 
  2. Open the cooker and keep the flame to a very low mode and let it simmer while you prepare the tadka (tempering)
  3. In a deep pan, heat ghee on a medium flame, add all the items listed for tadka except for the coconut
  4. Fry them for a few seconds or until fragrant and ginger also gets cooked 
  5. Finally, add in the grated coconut and mix well 
  6. Switch off the simmering cooker and pour the contents into the deep pan of tadka immediately
  7. Serve hot with luchi, or any simple rice, or even methi or onion paratha would go well with this
I never knew poori was to be made with maida (APF) and luchi is variation of poori using Wheat Flour. So that means I have been making Luchi all the time I made Poori! :-S

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