Cholar Dal

Cholar (chana) Dal by Ratna Prakash


  1. Chana (Bengal gram)Dal – 2 cups, soaked overnight or at least 2 hours
  2. Onion – 1, diced fine (about 3/4 cup )
  3. Tomato – 1, chopped into small pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  4. Ginger – 3/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, diced fine
  5. Coriander Leaves – 1 tablespoon, chopped, to garnish
  6. Coconut – 3 Tablespoons, grated
  7. Fennel Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon
  8. Onion (kalaunji) Seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon
  9. Bay Leaf (tej patta) – 1 small
  10. Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
  11. Green Cardamoms – 6
  12. Cloves – 3
  13. Green Chillies – 3
  14. Ghee – 1 Tablespoon
  15. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
  16. Sugar – 1 Teaspoon
  17. Roasted Cumin Powder – 1 pinch
  18. Salt – to taste


Boil the dal with salt and turmeric powder till it is soft, but not mushy. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and toss in all the whole spices. Add the diced onion and ginger. Sauté till onions are soft. Add tomatoes and stir till the tomatoes are cooked. Add dal, let it come to the boil, then add coconut and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add a pinch of roasted cumin powder. Garnish with chopped coriander before serving. It should be enough for 6 to 8 people.

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Krishna Sahai

Krishna Sahai took voluntary retirement as a senior Commissioner of Income Tax of the Indian Revenue Service to follow alternative paths. A multi-talented person, she is a trained Bharata Natyam dancer and has also published a book on the subject. Krishna has imbibed the old traditions of Avadhi culture from her family and is concerned about preserving the vanishing cuisines of India. She consults on financial and business matters apart from running a not-for-profit organization.

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