Cholar Dal (Bengali Chana Pulse)
There is little to be said about this Classic Bengali Pulse. Bengalis cook this for all special occasions be it the Pujas, weddings, rice eating ceremony, gathering of friends and family or just for a special Bengali meal. You can team it up with all purpose flour pooris which Bengalis call 'luchi' or hot steaming rice and julienne potato which is deep fried .
The bottom line is that, this is a classic dish. Now its mostly the same recipe followed everywhere with a few variations. Here is one that I know of passed down by my Mimi (aunt) whose mother had passed it down a long time ago.
Serves 4 to 5
1 cup Chana pulse 'cholar dal'
1 tbsp clarified butter 'ghee'
2 green cardamom
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 to 3 dried red chili
Half a cup diced fresh coconut
A handful of raisins
Salt as per taste
Pinch of turmeric
Sugar as per taste (Now, traditionally this pulse is supposed to be a bit on the sweeter side so I would personally use 1 tbsp to 1.5 tbsp sugar but you can adjust as per your taste)
4 cups of water
1 large bay leaf
Soak the pulse for 1 hour and then pressure cook it on low flame till 1 whistle to 2 whistles and let the steam go out on its own. It should have cooked by that time.
Now heat the ghee and add the ginger and saute and then add the cardamom , bay leaf and red chilies and keep sauteing and then add the coconut and raisins and finally the pulse. If it seems too thick add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil and add salt, turmeric and sugar and simmer for 10 minutes. It should be of a medium thickness and the pulse must retain their shape. Its traditionally supposed to be a thick pulse but not as thick as the North Indian Mah ki Dal aka Dal makhani