Bengal Lentils

Back to lentils, this is the no.1 lentil recipe of Bengal, I have been told. In March of last year, we had the no.1 chef of India visit DC, and I had the opportunity to eat food cooked by him. When I tasted this lentil dish prepared by his team, it was exactly how I make it at home. I felt so good that day, really really good :) It was more like a compliment to myself. I wish I was able to work with him for years, and I just hope that I keep doing a good job at something that I love the most...FOOD.

Serves: 4


1 cup split yellow peas (chana dal), soaked in 2 cups water overnight
2 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon shredded coconut powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into two pieces
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf, dry, torn into two pieces
1 dry red chili, broken into two pieces
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Handful of raisins


Cook lentils (along with the soaked water) with 2 cups water on medium heat, once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook partially covered. This may take about 45- 60 minutes, if the lentils start drying up, add another cup of water.
In a 3 qt sauté pan, heat ghee and add whole spices. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Add lentils, turmeric, sugar, salt, coconut and ginger. Mix well. Bring it to a boil, adjust salt if needed. Add raisins and mix.

Note: Lentils should be semi-thick and not runny, that’s the consistency you are looking for.

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