Chholar Dal (Spiced Split Gram Lentil)

By  Ratna

Chholar  dal-12

We  sat  on  the  beach  with  our  feet  buried  in  the  sand.  The  cold  water  of  the  Atlantic  ocean  slapped  our  feet.  Each  wave  brought  with  it  shells,  seaweeds,  crabs.  There  were  ducks  bobbing  in  the  water  and  gulls  flying  over  our  head.  “Dekhecho  ki  korche?”  Did  you  see  what  they  are  up  to?,  said  Buro  my  son. On  closer  look  I  realised  that  the  gulls  kept  a  keen  eye  on  the  bounty  brought  by  the  waves,  grabbed  their  catch  flew  high  only  to  drop  it  on  the  rocks.  Once  the  crab  shells  shattered  they  were  quick  in  returning  to  complete  their  seafood  supper.  No  pincers  or  crackers  were  needed.

Chholar  dalChholar  dal-2

We  travelled  to  the  east  coast.  The  Cherry  trees  with  their  pastel  pink  and  white  flowers  created  such  a  celebratory  mood.  The  Dogwood  flowers  seemed  as  if  they  are  floating  in  the  air. There  was  a  graduation  in  the  family. This  university  city  was  full  of  proud  parents  like  us.

It  seems  only  the  other  day  that  I  held  the  seven  and  some  pounds  bundle  of  joy  close  to  my  heart.  Kissing  the  bald  head  I  checked  the  ten  fingers  and  ten  toes.  Where  did  the  time  go?  Buro  was  in  Hat  and  Gown  today!

Special  events  calls  for  special  menus.  Chholar  Dal  is  no  ordinary  Dal.  It  is  the “Little  black  dress”  of   dals.  Carefully  stored  in  the  back  row  in  the  Pantry  and taken  out  on  days  such   as  these.

Chholar  dal-600

Chholar  dal-13



Chholar  dal                                       One  and  half  cup

Ginger                                              One  inch,  grated.

Cinnamon  sticks                               One  inch  pieces,  couple.

Tomatoes                                          Two  large,  cut  in  small  pieces.

Ghee                                                 One  and  half  Tbsp

Coconut  slivers                                 Broken  into  small  bite  size  pieces.

Cilantro                                             Two  Tbsp  chopped

Salt                                                  To  taste

Jaggery                                            Two  tsps

Asafoetida (Hing)                                Very  small  pinch

Cumin  seeds                                    One  tsp

Dried  red  chillies                              A  couple

Bay  leaf                                           Two


Wash  and  soak  the  dal  in  water  overnight. Throw  in  the  turmeric  powder  and  boil  it  on  high  heat  till  done.  It  should  retain  its  individual  shape.

Fry  the  coconut  pieces  in  oil  till  light  brown  in  colour  and  set  aside.

In  a  saucepan  melt  the  ghee  on  medium  heat.  When  done  add  the  Bay  leaves,  cinnamon  sticks,  red  chillies  and  cumin  seeds.  Wait  till  the  seeds  get  some  colour  then  add  the  Asafoetida.  As  soon  as  you  get  a  nutty  aroma, about  ten  seconds,  throw  in the  cut  tomatoes.  Saute  till  mushy  and  add  the  boiled  dal.  Add  salt,  jaggery,  grated  ginger  and  bring  it  to  a  boil. It  should  not  be  runny  but  thick. Throw  in  the  fried  coconut  pieces  and  turn  the  gas  off.  Add  the  cilantro  and  Garam  masala. Cover  until ready  to serve.

Goes  really  well  with  Pooris  ( Fried  bread),  Parathas,  fried  or  plain rice.

Inside  Scoop;

Garam  masala.  Can  be  made  at  home by  grinding  equal  amounts  of Cinnamon,  Clove  and  Cardamom.

4 thoughts on “Chholar Dal (Spiced Split Gram Lentil)

  1. This dhal looks amazing. I live in Durban in South Africa, which has the largest Indian community outside of India, and are surrounded by amazing place to eat curries. My favourite is bean curry and dhal. Will definitely have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing xxx

    • You are welcome Ev. Dal is eaten almost everyday sometimes twice a day. A very good source of protein. Let me know how it turned out.

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