Saturday 11 October 2014

Channa Dar/ Bengal Gram Lentil

Channa ni dar ma gos
Bengal Gram with meat

Lentils are called Dal in Hindi and Urdu and Dar in Gujrati. It is also referred to as Kaathor in India. The Channa ni dar commonly called the Bengal gram. 

While the concept of this dish is very similar to the Persian Khoresh - e - Ghemyeh  the difference in the ingredients to are individual to both cuisines. For its sourness we use unripe mango v/s the dried lemon and for spice its chilli v/s black pepper. The taste too is distinctively apart. 

This particular lentil has a sweet and nutty flavour. Split off a whole gram, they are harder in texture then most other lentils and take slightly longer to cook. It is highly nutritious and is often recommended as a protein substitute for vegetarians and vegans.


Served 6 to 8 persons


2 cups gram lentil
1 tbsp oil
½ kg/1 lb pieces of bone –in meat; lamb/goat/mutton
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1" piece of ginger
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp dhana jeera powder also called dhansak masala
1/4 tsp garam masala 
1 1/2 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
2 green chillies finely cut
6 leaves of fresh mint finely cut
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
2 cups crushed onions, already browned
2 small peeled unripe mangoes
1 tsp tamarind paste

Heat oil, add in the pieces of meat and braise for 5 minutes. Add all the spices and the washed lentils, fry 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, onions and mint.  Add 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. The lentils and meat should be soft but still remain whole. Add the pickled lemon or 1 tsp of tamarind paste. Simmer for another 30 minutes. 


Use a teaspoon of tamarind paste, or the juice of a lemon or two to finish off this dish at the end if unripe mangoes are unavailable. 
Adding a pickled lemon is an option. 
Adding a handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves can also add to the flavour.

Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime, some finely sliced onion and tomato and perhaps a cucumber and beetroot to compliment this dish. 
Generally crisp bread is served on the side, but fresh warm chapatis are a good option.

To read about an ancient cuisine you can purchase my cookbooks called The World of Parsi Cooking; Food Across Borders and The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

And For more Parsi recipes click to download my e-book

Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy

Readers Comments.

Vera H
July 20 2017

Turned out good!! Used your recipe. Cooked it for 21 minutes pressured
Lentils and beef cooked in an insta pot.

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