Cholar Dal – Split Bengal Gram with Indian Five-Spice

Cholar Dal

Cholar Dal – Split Bengal Gram with Indian Five-Spice

Split Bengal Gram (chana dal) is very commonly confused with Split Pigeon Peas (toor dal). They both look very similar except the Bengal gram is chunkier and doesn’t cook down to creamy or mushy. It’s kept whole and soft, giving a beautiful texture at every spoonful.The recipe is simple, uncomplicated and flavored with Indian five-spice Paanch Phoron.


1 cup chana dal
1/2 tablespoon Indian five-spice
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 inch ginger grated
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes, roughly chopped to bite size
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
chopped cilantro to garnish on top


Soak the chana dal in water overnight.
Pressure cooker method of boiling the dal – Rinse dal and put it in the cooker along with enough water and 1 teaspoon salt. The thumb rule says the water level should be 1 cm above the dal. Cover the lid and let it cook in medium heat until you hear three whistles. Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before you open the lid. Be very careful while doing so as hot steam will come out as soon you open the lid.
Boiling the dal in a deep sauce pan – Rinse dal and put it in the pan with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring it to boil and then let it simmer until the dal is soft. Add more water in the process, if required.
Once dal is boiled, keep it aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a deep pan or wok. Add bay leaves and five-spice. Give it a couple of seconds for the spice to sizzle and infuse the oil. Now drop the boiled dal and add turmeric. Stir and let it cook for couple of minutes. Add water, if it looks too thick.
Add sugar, grated ginger and half of the toasted coconut flakes. Check for salt and add any, if required.
Once done, pour it in the serving bowl, add chopped cilantro and more toasted coconut flakes on top. Serve hot with rice or bread.

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