November 8, 2012

Cholar dal

Cholar dal or Bengal grams is not cooked in Bengali household for everyday lunches. Neither does it make among the delicacies served when guests come. However, to accompany the luchi or kachori, one cannot think of anything else other than cholar dal. With a subtle hint of sweetness, this lentil preparation makes a heavenly combination with the perfectly rounded luchis. Cholar dal is a bit hard to boil and therefore soaking it overnight or for long hours is necessary. Then it is a celebrating the perfect harmony of heat from the dried red chili and sweetness from sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. The fragrant aroma of the ghee mingling with the ‘just enough boiled’ cholar dal is a treat for the soul.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 2)

1cup colar dal (split Bengal gram or chana dal)
2 bay leaves
1 dried chili
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 pinch asafetida powder
2tbsp golden raisins
2tbsp broken cashews
1sp ginger paste
1 pinch turmeric powder
1/2sp cumin powder
1/2sp sugar
1/2sp garam masala


1.      Soak the cholar dal in hot water overnight (7-8 hours). Drain the lentils.
2.      Heat ghee in a wok. Temper the ghee with bay leaves, dried red chili, cinnamon sticks, and a pinch of asafetida powder.
3.      When the nice aroma comes out, add the soaked lentils. Add the ginger paste, cashews, raisins, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Take care not to over sauté the lentils or it will be difficult to boil.
4.      Add 2 cups hot water. Simmer covered for 25 minutes until the lentils are cooked but not soft and mushy (the lentils should remain whole).
5.      Add the sugar and garam masala powder. Garnish with 1sp of ghee.

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