Niramish Cholar Dal is a hearty Bengali preparation made with split chickpeas. It is packed with a variety of flavours, and has a sweet tinge to it. Mostly made during Durga Puja or special occasions, this dal is served with luchis (deep fried Indian flatbreads) and even goes really well with a mishti pulao or plain rice. This version is niramish or purely vegetarian. It is usually cooked during the festival time and it does not use any onions or garlic. A few simple ingredients make this niramish cholar dal an absolutely magical recipe.
What makes this niramish cholar dal so special?
There are many ingredients that add a lot of punch and flavour to this niramish cholar dal. The dal is usually sweet in flavour. The sweetness comes from sugar and soaked raisins. You can also substitute the sugar with jaggery. And the crispy fried coconuts add a beautiful and nutty flavour to this dish.
Niramish Cholar dal is a royal preparation, and cooked for special occasions like Durga Puja, weddings or other events. It is cooked very differently than the north Indian chana dal. The fresh coconut is cut into small bits and fried till golden brown and crunchy. It is then married to the rest of the spices. The base of the dal is a simple mix of a few fresh spices and green chillies.
Make it vegan
This niramish cholar dal recipe is 100% vegan. A few recipes do put a dollop of ghee as garnish right at the end. But I have skipped that step.
The traditional dal also uses ghee, but I have used mustard oil here, which is another vegan option.
Here’s the recipe:
Niramish Cholar Dal
Niramish Cholar Dal is a hearty Bengali preparation made with split chickpeas. It is packed with a variety of flavours, and has a sweet tinge to it. Mostly made during Pujo or special occasions, this dal is served with luchis (deep fried Indian flatbreads) and even goes really well with a pulao or plain rice.
Wash 1 cup chana dal. Soak in water for atleast two hours.
Pressure cook the chana dal with 3 1/2 cups water and 1 tsp salt for 3 whistles. Do not overcook as we do not want the dal to melt. The pulses should be cooked and whole.
Heat mustard oil in a kadhai. Add the coconut pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes till they turn brown and crunchy. Set aside.
In the same kadhai, temper with cumin seeds, hing, bay leaves, slit green chilli and dried red chillies. Tun the flame to low at this point to prevent burning.
Add the fresh ginger paste along with sugar, turmeric powder and cumin powder. Mix on low flame till the masalas get cooked properly, oil starts to escape from the sides and the masala turns into a dark brown colour (see video).
Add some of the dal stock and mix well to prevent the masala from sticking to the kadhai or burning.
Once the masala is cooked, add the remaining part of the boiled dal. Increase the flame at this point and let the dal come to an aggressive boil.
Keep boiling for 5-7 minutes till you achieve a thick consistency.
Add the fried coconut and soaked raisins and mix.
Garnish with garam masala just before you turn off the flame. Give one last good mix and serve with luchi or mishti pulao.
The number of whistles may vary in your pressure cooker.
If you want the recipe to be more spicy, add more fresh green chillies.
Salt needs to be adjusted as everyone prefers it differently.