Cholar Dal Recipe | how to make bengali cholar dal | bengali style chana dal | bengal gram lentil recipe

With Durga Pujo round the corner, I am taking a different route with recipes. Instead of sharing a Bengali sweet recipe, I wanted to share the recipe of something savory and traditionally Bengali that can be enjoyed on all five days of Durga Pujo – Cholar Dal (or Bengali-style bengal gram lentil). It’s also completely vegetarian and gluten-free! And if you pair it with rice, you have a gluten-free meal. 

This recipe has been a clear favorite from my kitchen. Last year, when my pro food blogger friend Pritha from Guiltfreeblog came over last December to our place, I made this along with Bengali mutton (goat) curry. The first thing she said to me after tasting this dal was, “This needs to be on the blog!”

And here it is.

Ingredients you will need:

1 ½ cups split bengal gram lentil or Cholar dal, washed

3 ½ cups water

2 medium-size tomatoes

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp vegetable oil/mustard oil/ghee (clarified butter)

2 cloves, whole

2 cardamom, whole

1 inch cinnamon stick, whole

3-4 dried red chili

¼ tsp whole cumin

½ tbsp ginger paste

½ tbsp sugar

¼  cup dessicated/grated coconut

1 tbsp raw cashews, halved

1 tbsp raisins, washed

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp red chili powder (optional)

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tbsp ghee

Salt to taste

 Method for cooking:

  • Halve a tomato and chop one-half only. Add washed dal, water, half a tomato chopped, turmeric powder, salt to taste. Combine everything and bring to boil till lentils are fully cooked (but whole).

        (If Boiling the lentils/dal in an Instant Pot – Pressure Cook it with this setting –
         Pressure Cook Mode – High Pressure/Normal/20 mins/Sealing
         Once timer goes off after 20 mins, don’t release vent immediately. Let it rest for 15-20 mins till natural pressure release)

  • Heat oil in a pan, add whole spices, whole dried red chili and let it splutter for a 10-15 seconds.
  • Add ginger and cashews, saute for a few seconds.
  • Add coconut, combine well, let this cook till coconut turns light brown. Don’t cover.
  • Combine rest of the chopped tomatoes, coriander and red chili powder, sugar, and salt to taste.
  • Cover in low-medium heat and let this cook for 15-20 mins or till reduced. Stir occasionally.
  • Now, add the boiled lentil mixture. Stir and cover. Boil for 5-10 mins on medium heat.
  • At last, add ghee and garam masala powder. Serve with rice and sides. It also tastes great with paratha and poori/luchi.


This is an easy recipe for any day, not just for a festival. Give it a try. Till then, happy weekend!

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3 thoughts on “Cholar Dal Recipe | how to make bengali cholar dal | bengali style chana dal | bengal gram lentil recipe

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