Tantalizing Cholar Dal

… Post Admin / September 6, 2023 / Photo Credit: AboutUttarakhand.com

Cholar Dal

Cholar Dal is a comforting Bengali meal that celebrates the region’s love of lentils via a medley of spices. This beautiful dish exemplifies the skillful blending of ingredients and spices that characterizes Bengali cooking. Cholar Dal is more than simply a meal; it’s a window into the cultural roots of Bengal’s cuisine. Cholar Dal’s foundation is the lowly Bengal gram, which is slowly cooked until tender. Spices like cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves are gently simmered with the dal until their flavors permeate every spoonful. Grated coconut and fragrant ghee take the meal to the next level, creating a harmonious blend of textures and tastes.

Cholar Dal is unlike any other dish because of the way it harmoniously combines sweet and salty flavors. The jaggery and green chilies dance on the tongue with their contrasting flavors. A touch of class is added to the simple lentil meal by serving it with fried coconut slivers and a dusting of raisins. Cholar Dal is more than simply food; it’s an event that bonds neighbors. It is the centerpiece of both celebratory feasts and regular old dinners when served with Luchi or steamed rice. Bengali culture is deeply rooted in history, flavor, and the pleasure of sharing food with friends and family, and it comes through in every bite.

  • Origin: West Bengal, India
  • Category: Cholar Dal is a Bengali Vegetarian Side Dish which is considered Main Course
  • Ingredient: Chana Dal (Bengal Gram), Coconut, Spices are treated as main ingredients for this recipe. Other ingredients used are Coconut, Ghee, Garam Masala
  • Time and Flavour: This recipe takes approx 1-2 hours and the flavour is Mildly Sweet and Sav
  • Nutritional Information: Cholar Dal contains 160 kcal calories per 100 g serving. This serving contains 3 g of fat, 10 g of protein and 25 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 1 g sugar and 5 g of dietary fiber, the rest is other nutritional component. [ These values may vary based on ingredients used and its quantity ]

Bengali dish - Cholar Dal

Photo Credit: AboutUttarakhand.com


Cholar Dal, a quintessential Bengali dish, is a flavorful lentil preparation that marries the earthy taste of split Bengal gram with a symphony of aromatic spices. This dish exemplifies the balance of sweet and savory flavors that characterize Bengali cuisine.

To create Cholar Dal, split Bengal gram is soaked and cooked to a soft consistency. In a separate pan, a tempering is prepared with ghee, cumin seeds, bay leaves, and dried red chilies. The lentils are then added to the tempering, along with a touch of turmeric and salt.

What truly sets Cholar Dal apart is the addition of coconut, which imparts a mild sweetness and a rich, creamy texture. The dish is elevated with the inclusion of raisins and cashews, adding layers of sweetness and crunch. A sprinkle of roasted cumin powder adds depth to the flavors.

Cholar Dal is often served with Luchi (deep-fried puffed bread) during special occasions and celebrations, creating a harmonious pairing of flavors and textures. The sweet and savory notes of the dish, combined with the nutty richness of coconut, create a truly satisfying experience that embodies the heart of Bengali cuisine.

In essence, Cholar Dal is more than a lentil preparation; it's a cultural emblem that reflects Bengal's culinary artistry and its ability to balance diverse flavors into a harmonious whole.


  • Slit Bengal Gram [ चना दाल ], 1 Cup
    → Washed And Soaked For 1-2 Hours.
  • Coconut [ नारियल ], 1/4 Cup
    → Grated.
  • Mustard Oil [ सरसों का तेल ], 3 Tablespoons
    → Use Any Oil Of Your Choice.
  • Cumin Seeds [ जीरा ], 1 Teaspoon
  • Bay Leaves [ तेज पत्ता ], 2 Pieces
  • Cinnamon Stick [ दालचीनी ], 1 Piece
  • Cloves [ लौंग ], 3-4 Pieces
  • Green Cardamom [ हरी इलायची ], 3-4 Pieces
  • Whole Dried Red Chilies [ सूखी लाल मिर्च ], 2 Pieces
    → Broken Into Pieces. Adjust To Taste.
  • Ginger [ अदरक ], 1 Piece
    → Finely Chopped.
  • Green Chili [ हरी मिर्च ], 2-3 Pieces
    → Slit Lengthwise. Adjust To Taste.
  • Turmeric Powder [ हल्दी चूर्ण ], 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Red Chili Powder [ लाल मिर्च चूर्ण ], 1/2 Teaspoon
    → Adjust To Taste.
  • Hot Spice [ गरम मसाला ], 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Sugar [ चीनी ], 1 Tablespoon
    → Adjust To Taste.
  • Salt [ नमक ], As desired
  • Clarified Butter [ घी ], 1 Tablespoon
  • Raisins [ किशमिश ], 2 Tablespoons
  • Cashew [ काजू ], 2 Tablespoons


Method for preparing Cholar Dal

  • Rinse the soaking chana dal well.
  • Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker until it smokes. Then reduce the heat.
  • Stir in the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, green cardamom, and dried red chilies, if using. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the chopped ginger and split green chilies. Cook for 1 minute more.
  • Combine the drained chana dal, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly.
  • Cover the dal with water and bring to a boil. Cook till the dal is mushy and thoroughly cooked (approximately 2-3 whistles).
  • After the pressure has been released, open the cooker and stir in the grated coconut, garam spice, sugar, and ghee.
  • Cook the dal mixture, stirring periodically over medium heat until it thickens and the flavors combine.
  • Heat the ghee in a separate pan and softly cook the raisins and cashew nuts till brown.
  • Stir in the fried raisins and cashew nuts in the heated dal.
  • Serve the Cholar Dal with steamed rice or luchi (deep-fried bread) while it is still hot.

Health Benefits

  • High Fiber – Cholar dal is made from split chickpeas (chana dal), which is a good source of dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting satiety.
  • Plant-Based Protein – Cholar dal is a plant-based protein source, making it suitable for vegetarians and supporting muscle health.
  • Complex Carbohydrates – The combination of dal and coconut in cholar dal provides complex carbohydrates that release energy gradually.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Cholar dal contains various vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, and zinc, contributing to overall health.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – The use of turmeric and ginger in cholar dal lends anti-inflammatory properties that can support overall well-being.

Although these components may offer some health benefits, it's crucial to keep in mind that everyone's experience may vary, and they must be consumed in moderation as a part of a balanced diet. If you have any specific health issues or concerns, it's recommended to speak with a healthcare provider.

To Conclude

Simply said, Cholar Dal is more than a meal; its a symphony of Bengali tastes. This golden-hued lentil dish is emblematic of the philosophy behind cooking in this part of the world. The mild symphony of the lentils, coconut, and spices is both soothing and refreshing. Cholar Dal is more than just a tasty dish; it also represents the Bengali way of life, which is characterized by a mix of old and new.

Its a symbol of community since its present on both special occasions and everyday meals. The time and effort put into preparing the lentils and infusing them with taste is symbolic of the diligence and attention to detail that are hallmarks of Bengali culture. A cultural treasure and a modest reminder that even the simplest of foods may bear the weight of history, tradition, and the shared pleasures of life, Cholar Dal is more than simply food.

Thank You

The pictures displayed on this website are usually royalty free stock photos taken from Unsplash, iStock, Pixabay, Pngtree, and other sources. We appreciate the work of the individuals who own them. This is to thank them for their work and let them know how much it is appreciated.

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