The erstwhile Viceroy of India Lord Curzon would have thought twice before proposing to split Bengal in 1905 had he been regularly fed on yellow split peas (Cholar Dal) with some luchi.
Also known as Bengal Gram in English, its most common names are Cholar Dal in Bengali or as Chana Dal in Hindi. 250 grams, 500 or even a full 1000 grams – you can never have less of Bengal Gram in any authentic Bengali house-hold menu. Not only prepared and served during religious festivals, the yellow lentils bring sunshine around Bengali dining tables with its unique texture, taste and colour even in every ordinary day. These are perfectly appetising with some soft and supple luchis (deep fried flatbread made of wheat flour) to gently envelop a fingerful of hot cholar dal to delight your taste buds. Read below to get the grammar right of preparing this delectable Bengal Gram recipe.
Ingredients I Used:
250gm Split peas
2 dry red chillies
2 green chilli
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coconut,chopped
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon ghee (clarifying butter)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2-3-inch Cinnamon sticks, and salt to taste
Lets cook now
Step one: Wash split beans, drain water and pressure-cook it with 1-cup water, green chilli, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 3-liter capacity steel pressure cooker for 4-whistles over medium flame. Alternatively, bring them to boil in a deep pan until its cooked through.
Step two: Remove from the heat and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes to release the pressure inside the cooker (do not open the lid of pressure cooker immediately as it may burn with piping hot steam). After pressure releases, open the lid and keep cooked dahl aside.
Step three: Heat oil in a deep pan in medium heat. Add dried red chilies, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and sauté them for 20-30 seconds.
Step four: Add onions and shallow fry them until light brown. Add ginger paste, all spices except garam masala powder and mix it all together.
Step five: Add cooked dahl and mix well, cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat.
Step six: Add half cup water and mix it well together and now add sugar.
Step seven: In a separate pan, add ghee, add the coconut and saute them for 20 seconds, remove from the heat.
Step eight: And the coconuts to the dahl, add garam masala powder, mix properly and cook until medium thick consistency for approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in between locationally to prevent sticking on the bottom. Taste for salt at this stage and add more if required.
Step nine: Remove from the heat and transfer the cooked dahl to a serving bowl.
Voilá! Authentic Bengali Cholar dahl is ready.
Chana Dahl will turn thick as it cools so adjust the water (in step 6 ) accordingly to make it thicker or thinner to your liking.
Serve it with Bengali style fried flat bread also known as luchi.