Maa-er Narkel Diye Cholar Dal ( Split Bengal gram with Coconut )

Maa's cholar dal has been one of my favorite dishes for as long as I can remember. 
My husband joined the club soon after we got married.  

But no matter how hard I tried, it wasn't easy to replicate the taste of her dal  until she shared her special tips with me  last summer . Ever since I have been flaunting her recipe at every gathering I can and thought it would be the most appropriate dish to begin the New year with....

Narkel diye cholar dal is a traditional Bengali recipe that is simple enough to cook on a weekday and special enough to cook for a special Sunday lunch or for your dinner guests. It pairs excellently with luchi and begun bhaja(fried eggplant). And if you wish to go that extra mile just add to the menu a bowl of chaler payesh (rice pudding) sweetened with nothing other than nalen gur and you'll have your family and friends smacking their lips and licking their fingers long after the meal is over. Not to mention the praise and blessings that will follow. The combination is full proof and has never failed to delight anyone I know...  But don't worry if you do not have the time or have decided to be stringent with your calorie intake ... Rice, cholar dal and a simple stir fry taste just as good and will leave you satiated anyway....

Now over to Maa's recipe. It is really simple. Extremely tasty. And somewhat non-flexible. Yes, really... non-flexible... that is if you want that authentic taste. Because I like to experiment,  on different occasions I have tried different substitutions.. but each of those versions failed to match Maa's cholar dal.... The mustard oil, the panch phoron, the sugar, the ginger, the bay leaf, the combination of dried chillies and green chillies.. each of them go hand in hand to replicate "that" taste.... So try it out Maa's way and let me know how it fared with you and your friends.

Narkel Diye Cholar Dal (Split Bengal gram with coconut)

Recipe by Urmimala Pal (my mother)
Preparation Time: Needs overnight soaking                                                         Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Serves : 4-5

  • 1 cup Chana Dal (split Bengal gram)
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Panch Phoron
  • 2­-3 dry red chili
  • 2 green chili
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1⁄4 ­- 1⁄3 cup grated coconut
  • 1⁄2 inch knob of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Soak the dal overnight.
  2. Next day drain off the water, wash the soaked lentils and put in the pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water. Pressure cook the lentils on high until the first two whistles then lower the heat and cook for another 10 minutes. By then the dal should have cooked properly. Once the pressure from the cooker fizzles off, open the lid and keep the cooked dal aside. 
  3. Heat the oil in a medium sized wok/kadai. 
  4. Once the oil is hot enough, reduce the heat and add the panch phoron and the dry red chilis. The spices tend to foam up the oil. 
  5. Wait till the splutter dies then add the bay leaves, green chilis, turmeric powder and 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Stir them for a minute or so, then toss in the grated coconut followed by the ginger and sugar. Stir them together and cook the grated coconut along with the other spices for 3­-4 minutes until the aroma of the lightly fried coconut comes across. 
  6. Finally add the boiled lentils to the kadai and let it come to a simmer. Now adjust the salt and cook for a couple of minutes. Then switch off the heat. Your cholar dal is now ready to be served.

Wish you all a very happy new year. As per my new years resolution you'll probably get to hear more frequently from me than you did in 2015. But we'll see about that. Till then.... take care....

Sharing this at the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at AprilJHarris of the 21th Centuary Housewife and Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 


  1. lovely dal preparation. Mums always make the best food.

  2. This recipe looks like a fabulous combination of flavors.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.

    Olivia- Co-Hostess
    Reinvented Collection

  3. I love this coconut dal combo, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning and tweeting.

  4. This looks fabulous, I can almost taste this fantastic combination of flavors. Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. trying this tonight, thanks. as for the section about cooking the coconut, do you mean 3 - 4 mins? it states 34 mins, but that seems like a lot!!

    1. You are right. Its 3-4 minutes. I just made the correction. Thanks a lot for pointing out.


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