Bengali Cholar Dal (Chana Dal/Split Chick Pea Lentils Bengali Style)

Cholar Dal is chana dal cooked the Bengali way with coconut, mustard oil, sugar and Bengali garam masala. A popular dish especially popular during Hindu occasions like Durga puja and Bhai Phota, cholar dal, even with its apparent simplicity, gives any dish a run for its money. Serve it with rice, luchi or porotha. I like to serve this with Koraishutir Porotha (stuffed peas paratha) @sarchakra

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOK TIME: 30 mins

YIELDS: Serves 5


  • Chana Dal 2 cups
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Dry red chilies 2, broken
  • Sugar 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon 2 inches
  • Cardamom 3
  • Cloves 4
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Nigella seeds 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder 1 tbsp plus for garnish
  • Roasted coriander powder 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Coconut slices ½ cup for garnish


  • Rinse chana dal a few times with water. Discard the water. Put rinsed Chana Dal in the pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Season with salt, turmeric and bay leaf. Cook in the pressure cooker for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release by itself.
  • While the Chana Dal is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of mustard oil. Fry the coconut slices a couple of minutes till golden. Keep aside.
  • In a bowl combine roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder, red chili powder
  • Heat mustard oil in a large pan. Add fry red chilies, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds and nigella seeds. Let it splutter. Add the spice mixture. Let it cook for a couple minutes till the water evaporates and the spice mixes into the oil.
  • Add the cooked Dal and a cup of water. Being the mixture to a boil. Add sugar.
  • Garnish with fried coconut and some more roasted cumin powder.


You can easily get coconut slices in the freezer section in Indian groceries so no need to use fresh coconut. Of course no harm in using fresh if you so wish but I’m all about convenience!

Traditionally Cholar Dal is quite sweet so a little more sugar is used in this recipe than usual.

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Cholar Dal
Cholar Dal served with Koraishutir Kochuri

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