Make this delicious, earthy, Bengali-style cholar or chana dal. Chana dal is also known as Bengal gram or, in English, split chickpea. Chana daal tends to be sweeter and meatier than the chickpeas we are accustomed to here in the west. This Daal, unlike other Daals is flavoured with whole spices or garam masala during the cooking process. Then finally, another layer of flavour is added with the tempering or tadka. The result is a multi-layered depth of flavours that are comforting, sweet and warming.
Vegan-friendly with no compromise on taste!
- Chana Daal
- Coconut flakes
- Tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
- Cassia bark (Indian cinnamon)
- Black cardamom
- Turmeric powder
- Black peppercorns
- Olive oil
- Coriander powder
- Black mustard seeds
- Chilli powder
See the recipe card for quantities.
Soak the chana daal overnight or for approximately six hours. Rinse the Daal until the water runs clear.
Add the chana daal, tej patta, black cardamom, mace, cassia bark, cloves and black peppercorns in a pot. Then add 700ml of water and turn the heat to medium-high.
Next, add the ginger, salt and turmeric, close the lid and bring to a boil.
Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to a simmer and remove the white foam forming on top of the daal. Cover and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the Daal is tender.
Using the back of a ladle, partly crush and mix lentils
Add half of the coconut chips and simmer for another ten minutes.
For the tadka, add the black mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Be careful, they will fly everywhere. Then quickly add asafoetida, coriander powder and chilli powder. Take off the heat immediately, swirl, and add the tadka to the Daal.
Finish with the remaining coconut chips and serve hot.
You can use cumin seeds instead of black mustard seeds for the tadka.
Fresh coconut slices are better than dried ones; replace them if fresh coconut is available.
I use olive oil for the tadka You can also use coconut oil; however, if you are not vegan, you can use ghee.
You can make this a gluten-free recipe by omitting the asafoetida from the tadka, or you can buy gluten-free asafoetida.
You can store this Daal in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. It can also be frozen for up to three months. As always, reheat thoroughly before consuming.
Soaking the Daal overnight not only helps with digestion but also reduces cooking time. If, like me, you cook without a pressure cooker, this step is essential.
Bengali Style Chana Daal With Coconut
- 200 g Channa daal (Bengal Gram)
- 20 g Finely chopped Ginger
- 15 g Dried coconut flakes
- 1 Tej patta
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Black cardamom
- 1 Mace
- 1 Cassia Bark (Indian cinnamon)
- 4 Cloves
- 4 Black pepper
- 700 ml Water
- 1 tbsp Olive oil Extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon Black mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon Red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon Asafoetida
- Soak the lentils overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.
- Rinse lentils the next day until the water runs clear and drain the water.
- Add the soaked and washed lentils, tej patta, black cardamom, mace, cassia bark, cloves and black peppercorns into a pot. Add 700ml of water and turn the heat to medium-high.
- Add the ginger, salt and turmeric. Close the lid and bring it to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer and remove the white foam forming on the top. Cover and continue cooking for about 30 minutes, until the daal is tender.
- Using the back of a ladle, partly crush and mix the lentils.
- Add half of the coconut chips and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
- While the daal is simmering, in a separate pan heat the extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the black mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Be careful, they will fly everywhere. Then quickly add asafoetida, coriander powder and chilli powder. Take off the heat immediately, swirl, and add the tadka to the daal.
- Garnish with remaining coconut chips and serve hot.
In a professional kitchen, food hygiene and safety are top priorities, and from the beginning of my training, I practised good habits and routines. Of course, practising good food hygiene and safety at home is also essential. Here are some fundamental practices to adopt in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands regularly while preparing, handling and cooking food.
- Wipe down countertops and high-contact points regularly.
- If you cook meat and fish, do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat. Use separate chopping boards for meat and fish. Wash your chopping boards immediately after use.
- Thoroughly cook food to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods (more than 2 hours).
- Store food correctly.
For more details regarding food hygiene and safety in the home, visit the UK Government's Food Standards Agency webpage.