Friday, September 28, 2012

Cholar Dal...With luchi and begun bhaja..

Cholar dal or chana dal or bengal gram
Misti misti cholar dal(sweet bengal gram soup) has a special place in Bong's food chart. This is not a regular everyday food. It is made on special occasions and has its special accompanies, luchi(fried puffed Indian bread) and begun bhaja(fried egg plant).

The thick sweet dal flavored with aromatic spices and ghee(clarified butter) and jeweled with fried cashew, raisins and coconut is indeed something very special. Cholar dal, along with begun bhaja(fried eggplant) and luchi is very common in the menu during pujas, marriage ceremonies or birthday parties in Bengali household.

The preparation is very simple but the taste is heavenly. Few days back my friend Priyanka asked me for this recipe, so here is my take on sweet thick cholar dal....and don't forget the luchi.

Things needed to make Cholar Dal:

Cholar dal/Chana Dal/ Bengal gram: 1cup
Bay leaf:2
Cinnamon: 1inch sticks 2-3
Cardamom: 3-4
Dry red chilies: 2-3
Shah jeera/black cumin: 1/2tsp
Grated ginger:1tsp
Turmeric powder:1/2tsp
Cashew nuts:1tbsp
Coconut (cut into thin strips): 1tbsp
Salt to taste
Ghee: 1tsp


Steps of making Cholar Dal:

1. Soak the chana dal/bengal gram for 2-3hrs. Wash dal till water runs clear. Put the dal in a pressure cooker along with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Cook till 2 whistles. Wait till pressure releases.

2. As the dal is cooking, fry the cashew nuts, raisins and thin strips of coconut and keep them aside.

3. After the pressure releases, check the dal. It should be cooked perfectly but not mushy. In a kadai or pan add oil. When the oil is hot add bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, shah jeera(black cumin) and cook on medium heat till the spices release nice aroma.

4. Add grated ginger and cook for 1-2min. Add turmeric powder and the cooked dal. Mix well. Add salt and sugar and the fried dry fruits and coconut. Add sufficient amount of sugar to make the dal taste sweet. This sweetness is the speciality of this dal. Add water if needed. This cholar dal would be of a thicker consistency. But keep one thing in mind, as it cools down it will become more thick.

5. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add ghee and mix well. Switch off heat, serve with begun bhaja(fried egg plant) and luchi.
Cholar dal aar begun bhaja(chana dal and fried egg plant)

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