When you start to feel slight nip in the air, you’re engulfed by a divine joyousness. The afternoons become more picturesque and evenings more charming with a lustrous sky to admire to. That’s when you know it’s officially Fall (Autumn) and it’s also the time to embrace the festivities ahead. The scent of Fall is enticing to say the least. I am sure, many of you are feel exactly in the same manner.
I always call this the “Dussehra Weather” because the weather feels auspicious and soon after “Durga Puja” or “Dussehra” commences. It’s a festival of worshipping Goddess Durga which is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur for 10 days. This festival is very close to my heart as I have many fond memories of it since childhood. This year I celebrated Dussehra in Kolkata with my in-laws and it was an amazing experience to celebrate it there during the puja , for it’s about merrymaking, travelling and feasting together.
In a typical Bengali household, it’s a complete feast during Durga Puja. Apart from many other typical Bengali dishes made during this festival, “Luchi & Cholar Daal” is a must on the day of “Ashtami” (8th day of the puja). Everyone relishes this heavenly combo in West Bengal and elsewhere. “Cholar Daal” is a classic Bengali dish which means split bengal gram lentils cooked in Indian aromatics. It’s a simple dish packed with flavours and when had with deep fried flat bread (made out of wheat flour), it’s just pure explosion of flavours inside the mouth.
Ever since I had authentically made “Cholar Daal”, I yearned to cook it myself and recently satiated this urge. It turned out to be absolutely lip smacking. However, an important ingredient, desiccated or thin sliced coconut was given a miss because of unavailability.
Read on for the recipe!
- Split Bengal Gram (Chana Daal) – 100 gms / a little more than 1/2 cup
- Dry Red Chillies – 2
- Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
- Sugar – 2 teaspoons
- Raisins – 1 tablespoons
- Bay leaf – 1
- Ghee – 2-3 tablespoons
- Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Grated ginger – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cinnamon stick – 1 medium sized
- Green Cardamom – 3-4
- Chopped Coriander leaves – 1 full tablespoon
- Finely diced / thin sliced coconut (Which I couldn’t use because of unavailability)
- Salt to taste
METHOD OF COOKING
- Wash the split bengal gram (Lentils / Chana Daal) properly and let it remained soaked for about 10-15 minutes.
- Strain and put it in a pressure cooker with water, salt and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Wait for 3 whistles of the cooker in medium flame and then turn off the heat.
- In a kadai or wok, heat ghee. Once adequately hot, saute raisins and take out once they appear puffed.
- Now add mustard seeds and dry red chillies in the same wok. After the seeds splutter well, add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and green cardamoms.
- Add grated ginger and saute till it turns golden brown.
- Now put the pressure cooked split bengal gram into the kadai / wok and mix well.
- Add sugar and sauteed raisins into the daal /lentil and mix well.
- Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
NOTE: Authentic “Cholaar Daal” recipe always has fried thin sliced coconut in it which can also be used as a garnishing.
Food doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious and “Cholar Daal” is an epitome of it. The Indian aromatics / spices works wonder for the dish. All you have to be careful about is to pressure cook the lentils to perfection in order to maintain that perfect look and texture. The Luchi & Cholar Daal combo is so unbeaten that no wonder, it’s a must have Bengali food during festivals. Having said that, it can equally be savoured with steamed rice or parathas (Indian flat breads).
I simply love the aroma that a properly cooked “Cholar Daal” exudes. It’s so enticing and pleasing to the senses that you would dig into it without thinking twice. I am so hooked to the taste now and I want all of you to try this once and feel the same about it. Needless to say, I not only enjoyed celebrating Dussehra in Kolkata this year but also loved grubbing onto the celebrated Cholar Daal with luchi.
Hope you enjoyed reading the post. Do try out the recipe and give your feedback in the comment section.
Till then, Happy Munching & Keep Smiling! 🙂