Standing out

Mallika Basu - Standing out

Posted 20th April 2007

img_6263-sm.jpgFor all this talk about drinking and dancing, some of my favourite evenings are the really quiet ones with good friends and great food.

Take yesterday, for example. My good Russian friend from our youthful university days has just splashed out on a film projector and surround sound audio system. Hubby picked me and another friend up after work and we drove down for a very exclusive home cinema experience.

At dinner before the film started, my friend’s flatmate revealed that he makes curry powder from scratch. And that he’s just perfected his special dal recipe.

Blimey… the guy was beginning to give me a complex!

During the gory, black comedy that ensued on a giganormous wall, I racked my brains for a dal recipe that would fox him. I remembered the cholar dal or channa (Bengal gram), which I cooked at Friday’s dinner party.

This dal is eaten on special occasions in Bengal like weddings. It is traditionally served with luchi – light, fluffy, flaky little Indian breads. These are called pooris in the North of India.

As with a lot of other Bengali dishes, the dal has a hint of sweetness and is best enjoyed piping hot.

This one’s for Dave. A wise man once said, when you think you know all life’s answers, someone changes the questions. True, how true.

Serves 4:

250 gm channa lentils
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
Half tsp chilli powder
Half tsp cumin powder
Half tsp coriander powder
Half tsp sugar
1 green chilli
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp shredded coconut (I used freshly diced ones)
2 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste

Wash the dal thoroughly. Add it with three times as much cold water and bring it to the boil.

Then add the garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric powders and the sugar and boil until the lentils are soft to the touch but still intact. You can pressure cook this for 15 minutes after the first whistle.

Now mash up some lentils in the pot to thicken the mixture. In a seperate little pot, heat the ghee and when hot add the shredded coconut bits, the garam masala and chilli powders and the green chilli.

Fry for a minute and then add to the lentils along with the raisins. Voila!

17 responses to “Standing out”

  1. asha says:

    Oooh!! He made curry pd from scratch!!!! That’s a miracle!!!;D

    Cholar dal looks good and I love love the photo.You need another person to take a photo,most of the time I am the only one at home.I have got to try and get that once.Thanks Mallika.

  2. Manjula says:

    Just love your pictures…Its always in action, never a static pic.
    Never tried any Bengali dishes so far..Cholar Dal with from the scratch curry powder..sounds good.

  3. marvelous picture. I’ve never added coconut to a dal, it’s a new concept for me. I’ll have to try it, once I get over the “Can I really add coconut to dal?” hump.

  4. Ooo i love dal and i love all the variations that I’m discovering through blogs like yours 🙂 I’ve never had dal with coconut in it before, I can’t wait to give it a try 🙂

  5. UK Food Blogs – April 2007 List…

    Several new additions warrant an update to the list of UK Food bloggers. In fact this is a food and wine blog list. No UK beer blogs as yet though, which I find surprising, although perhaps I am not looking……

  6. Trig says:

    I totally agree with Sarina (TriniGourmet), I’ve never seen dal with raisins in, but why not. Your photo looks beautifully elegant

  7. seema says:

    Oh thats a beautiful shot lady. Just love the picture. Beautiful food photography. Loved the recipe as well but somehow can’t take my eyes away from that picture.

  8. sandeepa says:

    Mmmmmmm cholar with luchi no doubt

  9. sharmi says:

    you have a beautiful blog with awesome recipes. liked this dal a lot. looks yum.

  10. Devika says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I forgot my mum’s one and need to make some right away as I’m having guests!

  11. […] mother’s horror, the Bengali cholar dal featured on yesterday’s episode had three teaspoons of sugar. It was also accompanied by the […]

  12. prasad says:

    loved the recipie …but more than that loved the accompanying picture….correct composition…try thre same picture with a little distortion in the foreground angle the camera downwards….(try)….the sender of this mail is a professional photographer …with a lots of liking for bengali dishes…

  13. Anima says:

    Photo is really good. I am cooking this dal for 50 people > I hope it will be good.

  14. Xeelee says:

    Looks good! 🙂

  15. […] be nice, informative and interesting. The recipe for Luchi is adapted from there. I adapted Cholar dal recipe from Mallika’s Quick Indian Cooking – an absolutely lovely blog! I really love her […]

  16. […] un plato vegetariano proveniente de la India: cholar dhal. En la gastronomía de la India son frecuentes los alimentos vegetales altos en proteínas ya que […]

  17. […] in tatters, I turned to the food. We ate Kosha Mangsho, Cholar dal, Beguni with Kumro Chokka, a deceptively simple sweet and spicy pumpkin stir fry with little black […]

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