Cholar Dal in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Dal is one of the important meals of almost all the Indian cuisines. This is one of the soupy preparations that is made from the legumes or pulses. This is an inexpensive and readily available source of protein.

There are different types of preparation all over the country. In some parts like Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Orissa “cholar dal” is prepared.

There are a variety of preparations like Dhokar dalna, Dal Chechki etc.

Cholar Dal in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Cholar Dal in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Cholar dal is mainly a Bengali preparation but it is cherished all over the country. The split chickpeas or split Bengal gram which is Chana Dal or also known as Cholar Dal. It has a nutty flavor of its own and it has a sweet smell.

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This dal is tempered with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf which is also known as khada garam masala. To make the texture elevated you can add coconut bits.

In the Bengali customs onions and garlic are not being used. But if you are making Punjabi dal Tadka for Dal fry then you temper or add tadka of onion, red chili, sliced onions and little bit chopped tomatoes.

You can have this with koraishutir kochuri, luchi, dal puri, roti etc. In fact, if you are having Dal Tadka then you can also have jeera rice etc.

What Can Be Made from Cholar Dal?

Authentic Bengali Cholar Dal:

I am being inspired by Minakshie Dasgupta’s “The Bengal Cookbook” where I got this authentic Bengali Cholar Dal recipe. This is a “Niramish” or a vegetarian recipe. You can mainly see this in the breakfast, in some kind of occasion or during the weekends.

So let us check the recipe:

  1. Wash the dal.
  2. Boil the water in the saucepan or “dechki” and when bubbling then add the dal. Add turmeric and chili paste and stir. In a simmering flame cook the dal.
  3. Then add the garam masala, coriander and cumin paste and cook it till it is thick.
  4. Then in a separate fry pan add some ghee, whole garam masala, bay leaves and dried red chili and fry it.
  5. Add this tempering over the dal when it is cooked.
  6. Garnish it with fried and diced coconut.
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Dhokar Dalna:

This is also an authentic Bengali recipe and this recipe can be divided into two parts. At first we need to prepare the “Dhoka” – the dal cubes or it is actually diamond shaped cakes which are then deep fried.

For making the dal cubes, you need to soak the chana dal and then paste it and stir fry the paste in the wok with ghee, salt, chili paste and little bit of sugar.

Then it is placed on a greased plate and cut into diamond shaped cakes which are then deep fried.

Then for “Dalna” or curry which is made with tomato paste or puree with cumin, coriander, chili and turmeric powder.

When the gravy starts to separate the oil then dip all the “Dhoka” like you do in any chili chicken recipe.

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You add the garam masala and ghee with sliced green chilies. Finally garnish with freshly cut coriander leaves.

Questions and Answers:

How Do You Boil Cholar Dal?

Boil the water in the saucepan or “dechki” and when bubbling then add the Cholar dal.

How Long Should Cholar Dal Be Soaked?

Cholar Dal or Chana Dal needs to be soaked for 3 to 4 hours or soak overnight.

What is the Difference Between Chickpea and Cholar Dal?

There are two kinds of Chickpeas – Whole Chickpea and Split Chickpea. Cholar dal or chana dal is the Split Chickpea.

Is Chana Dal and Cholar Dal Same?

Yes, Chana Dal and Cholar Dal are the same. Cholar dal or chana dal is the Split Chickpea.

What is Cholar Dal Called in Different Languages?

Cholar Dal in Bengali, Chana Dal in Hindi and Split Chickpea in English.

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