Would you add keema to the Bengali chholar dal? I did and quite liked the result!

Chholar dal with kheema and pav
Chholar dal for President

As you must have gathered by now, I am a big fan of chholar dal or the Bengali version of channa dal.

For me chholar has associations of being a special treat. When I fussed about my food as a kid, my didu (granny) made me luchi and chholar dal and I couldn't get enough of the dish.

It became a dish that I associated with wedding feasts while growing up in Kolkata

Didu would make chholar dal and luchi for me whenever I visited her in Kolkata after I moved to Mumbai too. Those were special occasions for me.

In Mumbai I would start meals in Bengali restaurants with luchi and chholar dal, trying to recreate my granny's hugs and love even though we were at opposite ends of the country by now.

Sometimes, when staying in luxury hotels in Kolkata, I order luchi chholar dal for breakfast and had some lovely chholar dal at both the ITC Sonar and the Vedic Village last month when in Kolkata.

The restaurant chholar dals tend to be a bit sweeter than my granny's as they usually follow the Ghoti style of cooking which likes a bit of sweetness.

Our family is  Bangal on the other hand and we prefer our food to be savoury and not sweet.

However, having travelled across the world and having settled across the country, my taste buds are more eclectic, and I don't mind a touch of sweet in my food.

My experiments with the Mahindra Nu Pro chholar dal

The other day I was making some chholar dal at home after I received the packs of Mahindra Nu pro dals to cook with. I thought of experimenting a bit with it and added a bit of kheema (minced meat) to it. This is sometimes done with ghoogni, a dish made with split peas.

The pulses in chholar dal can sometimes get a bit mushy at the end so I wasn't sure if it would combine well with the meat or whether it would become a mush.

Well, I must say that I was impressed by how well the Mahindra Nu Pro chholar dal held out. The granules of dal held its shape and was distinct from the minced meat even after cooking. Yet,  when you bit into the dal grains, they gave in tenderly, wasn't uncooked at all. And I didn't have to add any soda for the dal to cook.

A mark of a good quality dal.
Nice textural contrast with the Mhaindra Nu pro dal holding firm
after cooking despite being soft inside
Mumbai runs on pav

I don't make luchi though and find it too intimidating.

So I did what any Mumbaikar would do. I paired the mangsho diye chholar dal with pav.

I think the Portuguese, to whom we owe the existence of pav in Mumbai and who had influenced the bakery tradition in Kolkata too, would have approved!

Here's the recipe for what I cooked:

Ingredients (for 2):

Step 1; 100 g channa dal, 4 coffee mugs of water, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and turmeric powder
Step 2: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 clove, 1 1/2 inch cinnamon piece, 2 cardamom, 1 dry red chilli, 1 bay leaf/ tej paata, 1/2 tea spoon whole jeera/ cumin, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, 5,6 raisins, 1/2 tomato finely chopped, 200 g minced meat, 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, red chilli and garam masala powder, 1/2 teaspoon ghee, 1 split green chilli


Step 1:

1. Put 100 g chholar dal in about 4 coffee mugs of drinking water in a pressure cooker. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Let it cook for 6 whistles and then another 10 minutes on simmer. Turn of the gras and open the lid once the cooker cools

Step 2

  1. Heat the oil
  2. Add whole jeera, garam masala, bay leaf and dry red chilli. Stir
  3. Add ginger paste
  4. Add tomato if you'd like some tanginess to it and raisins
  5. Add kheema (ideally mutton)
  6. Add masalas and sugar and salt
  7. Mix and let it cook for about 10 minutes on a low flame
  8. Add the dal and water mix from the pressure cooker
  9. Mix and let it cook for another 10 minutes or so on a low flame
  10. Sprinkle some garam masala at the end and top with ghee and the split green chilli

Note: This post was done in association with Mahindra Nu Pro pulses. I've told you about my experience with the dal in the post. 

This is what the folks at Mahindra have to say about their dals:

NuPro pulses are procured from the Latur, known for growing high-quality pulses
·         Split from whole grains
·         Dried in natural sunlight
·         Chosen after 5 stage sorting process
·         Natural & Unpolished 
·         All natural aroma and taste
·         No artificial colour
·         High in natural nutrients 
·         Cooks faster even when not soaked  
·         Blooms evenly
·         Preserved in moisture proof pack