Instant Pot Bengali Cholar Dal / Instant Pot Chana Dal with Raisins and Coconut

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Instant Pot Bengali Cholar Dal / Instant Pot Chana Dal with Raisins and Coconut

Bengali cholar dal is made from chana dal. Chana dal known as split chickpeas, is a dried, split pulse that is made by removing the outer layer of black chickpeas and then splitting the kernel. Chana dal is used in a variety of recipes in India, for instance soups, salads, curries, chutneys, sweets, and several different types of rice dishes.
Chana dal is available in all Indian grocery stores. Chickpea flour (besan) is made by grinding chana dal. Chana dal is an excellent source of protein especially for people that do not eat animal protein.
Cholar dal:
Cholar dal is a traditional Bengali dal recipe made from chana dal, ghee, coconut and some ground as well as whole spices. It is very easy to make and is very delicious. In the traditional recipe, the dal is boiled with water, salt, and turmeric. The spices and coconut and sautéed in oil and then added to the boiled dal. The cooked cholar dal can be eaten with steamed rice or with luchi (Bengali style deep fried puffed bread/tortilla made with all-purpose flour).
For purposes of this Instant Pot recipe, I have sautéed all the spices first and then cooked the dal under pressure in order to make it quick and easy. The raisins and the coconut in the dal give it a unique flavor. This is one of the go to comfort food in my family. We eat cholar dal with some pickle and steamed rice.
Bengal is a region specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle and fiery flavors. Bengali cuisine is also known for their incredible desserts. Cholar dal is often cooked in homes when people have visitors, or during durga pooja and celebrations.
Ingredients needed for cholar dal:
Chana dal, thinly sliced coconut, oil, salt, sugar, and raisins.
Ground spices: ground turmeric, grated ginger, and asafoetida.
Whole spices: Cinnamon stick, bay leaves, green cardamom pod, whole dried red chilies, cloves, cumin seeds, seranno peppers (green chili peppers).
Coconut: I bought a small pack of fresh chopped coconut from the Indian store and thinly sliced it.
Raisins: The traditional recipe uses golden raisins, however, I used California sun-dried organic raisins.
Prep Time2 hrs 5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Dal soaking time (included in prep time)2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Instant Pot Bengali Dal, Instant Pot Cholar Chana Dal, Instant Pot Cholar Dal, Instant Pot Lentil Soup With Raisins and Coconut
Servings: 4
Author: Shilpa

Ingredients

Instructions

Prep

  • Rinse the chana dal a few times and discard the water. 
  • Soak the chana dal for two hours. Discard the water once you are ready to cook.
  • Slice the coconut finely into thin strips. Wash and chop the cilantro and slit the serrano pepper.

Cook

  • Select sauté on the instant pot and adjust to normal.
  • Add oil to the pot.
  • When the oil is hot add coconut slices and fry until golden.
  • Then add the cumin seeds and asafoetida.
  • Once the cumin seeds splutter, add the green cardamom, cloves, dry red chili peppers, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, serrano pepper, and minced ginger. Make sure this step and the next steps are quick in order to prevent the cumin seeds from burning.
  • Then add the turmeric powder, dal, and water. Stir. 
  • Add salt, sugar and raisins. Stir. Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot well.
  • Press cancel.
  • Secure the lid on the pot and close the pressure-release valve.
  • Select manual and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • When cooking is complete, use quick pressure release to depressurize.
  • Open the lid. Select sauté again and mash the dal roughly with a potato masher or back of a ladle.
  • Keep stirring until the desired consistency is reached. It should take about 4 minutes. The dal doesn’t need to be watery and is slightly thick.
  • Transfer into a serving bowl immediately. Discard the bay leaves.
  • Garnish with cilantro.

Serve

  • Serve with steamed rice, luchi (deep-fried flatbread), or puri (unleavened deep-fried bread).

Notes

  • This recipe has been tried on the 6-quart instant pot. The proportions may vary depending on the size of the instant pot you choose to use.
  • All the ingredients can be found in an Indian grocery store.
  • Dal tends to thicken up if you refrigerate it overnight or if you reheat it. In that case add about 1/4 cup boiling water and stir.
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