Saturday, 11 October 2014

Channa Dar/ Bengal Gram Lentil

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Channa ni dar 
Bengal Gram s

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. 

This dish is a perfect example of how Persian and Indian Cuisines blended together to create the Parsi Cuisine. While the Indian cuisine is influenced with their blend of spices the pickled lemon typical to Persian food is included to make it sour.

This particular lentil has a sweet and nutty flavour. Split off a whole gram, they are harder in texture then most other lentils and takes slightly longer to cook. It is highly nutritious and is often 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 chillie 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
1 crushed pickled lemon
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 fresh green mango or two, washed peeled and chopped instead of the pickled lemon or tamarind paste. If you do not have access to any of them, add the juice of 2 fresh lemons. 
Adding a handful of freshly chopped corriander 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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