Bengali Cholar Dal (sweet lentils with coconut and spices)



Cholar Dal, which has its roots in Bengal, is a sweet, yet savory dish of lentils. Split chana (chickpea) dal is mixed with toasted coconut and raisins along with sugar and spices to give its authentic Bengali flavor. Served during special occasions, this dish is sure to make your tummy happy. Bengali comfort food at its best.



  • 1 cup split chana dal, soaked overnight
  • small handful of fresh coconut pieces
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3-4 small bay leaves
  • 3-4 green chilis, sliced
  • 2-3 red chilis
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger sliced
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • handful of raisins
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar


To Make:

Add the 1 cup of chana dal to a pressure cooker with 3 cups water. Cook till 3 whistles, let steam release on its own.

In a pan, heat ghee on medium.  Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, red chilis, green chilis, cloves. Stir till seeds start sizzling. 2013-09-22 21.00.44

Add coconut pieces. Cook till golden brown. 2013-09-22 21.01.08


Add ginger and garlic, along with turmeric powder. Stir for around a minute, then add onions and raisins. Cook till onions are translucent. 2013-09-22 21.10.24


Add the dal along with salt and sugar. Add more water if needed, but cholar dal is nice when it is thick. 2013-09-22 21.13.05

Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Finish by adding garam masala powder. Top with coriander leaves and toasted coconut if desired.

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