Cholar dal recipe is one that I have wanted to try for long. Had it many years ago at a friend's place and it was on my list ever since. A dal that is made to a thick consistency(I didn't make it that thick as I planned to serve it with rice, you can make it thicker to your desired cocnsistency) and is mildly spiced, this is one with a very sophisticated taste. Mild yet making a huge statement is what the cholar dal is all about. This is also the first dal where I have used whole spices for the tadka and also no onion and tomatoes. This is one very quick to do dish too and so decided to add it to my Sunday lunch menu. Rice, a stir fry cabbage and a kerala style fish curry completed the meal.
Cholar dal - 1 cup (soak for 1 hour or else it will take a long time to cook)
Water - 3 cups
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (you may add more if you like it sweeter)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Whole spices - cardamoms (2), cloves(3 to 4), cinnamon (1" stick), Bay leaf(1)
Whole dry red chillies -2
Hing or asafoetida - 2 pinches
Cummin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Ginger - 1 tbsp (grated)
Garlic - 1 tsp(minced)
You may also add cashew nuts, raisins and pieces of fresh coconut.
Method for making cholar dal:
1- Wash the chana dal and add to the pressure cooker. To the dal, add the 3 cups of water, salt, sugar, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix. Pressure cook the dal for 10 minutes till well done but also not in the mashed state as we need pieces of the dal to be visible.Wait for 10-15 minutes before opening the pressure cooker.
2- Take a pan, add the ghee. Now add the cummin seeds and hing. Add the ginger and garlic. Add the dry red chillies and the other whole spices one by one and saute for approximately half a minute. If you wish to add cashew, raisins and coconut pieces do so now.
3- Add in the cooked dal and let boil for 4-5 minutes. Adjust salt. Boil till it is of thick consistency.
Serve with luchis or steamed rice/pulao.
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