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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dal Chenchki ~ A very traditional simple Lentil dish of Bengal

Today I'm back with a Bengali lentil dish after quite a long time. The dish is prepared with red lentil & pearl onion cooked together, seasoned with nigella/black cumin seed and has a flavour of garlic and a little touch of lemon.

Lentil is one of the daily staple diet of Indians and we, bengalis love red lentil. The term "Chenchki" is a cooking style of Bengali cuisine, where small pieces of vegetables, like radish(mulo), bottle gourd(lau), Pumpkin(kumro) etc, are seasoned with either panch phoron, mustard seed or nigella seed and cooked in a very simpler way, hardly using any ground spices. Onions and garlic are also used sometimes. It's a very easy-to-make and simple, spice-less way of cooking vegetable. I usually prepare chenchki with different varieties of vegetables, but had no idea of Dal Chenchki/using lentil. When I saw Dal Chenchki on Soma's blog(who is also a bengali girl), I was tempted enough to try this out.
It's so easy-to-prepare and has an unique taste. You should check her post to see her tempting pictures. I followed her recipe as it is, just adjusted the amount according to my need. I loved it and now it's a regular in my place whenever I feel to have a very simple and light meal.

You Need : 
Red Lentil/masoor dal : 1 cup
Pearl Onion : 7-8 nos.
Nigella/kalonji/black cumin seed : 1 tsp.
Green chillies : 2-3 nos, slitted(use as per taste, optional)
Garlic : 4-5 big cloves/1 tblsp. grated
Tomato : 1, small, chopped finely
Water : about 4 cups
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
Sugar : 1/2 tsp.(We,bengalis add this much of sugar to almost all dishes to balance the taste of the dish)
Salt to taste
Oil : 1 tblsp. of any cooking oil + 1 tblsp. Mustard oil
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
Lemon juice before serving according to taste(optional)

How To :
  • Wash lentil and soak in little water for at least 15 minutes. Drain and spread the lentils in a plate evenly to dry out the water.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, add nigella seed, garlic paste and slitted green chillies, stir them for a minute, then add lentil, turmeric powder, salt and saute to mix together all the spices with lentil in medium heat for couple of minutes.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and sugar and wait until tomatoes mix well. Now add water and cover with a lid. Let it cook until lentils are half way done. Now add pearl onions and again close the lid. [we are adding the pearl onions now so that onions get cooked but still holds their shapes and crunch]
  • Cook until the lentils are cooked through but holding their shapes well. The texture of the dal should be like a thick soup, not runny. But if you want a thinner soup, then add little more water or if you want it dry, then open the lid and in high heat evaporate more water from the soup. 
  • When you have your desired consistency of lentil, pour 1 tblsp. of mustard oil over the lentil and remove from fire. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and before serving add lime juice over it.
  • This lentil soup can be enjoyed itself or with hot rice. I had it with  a bowl of hot rice and it was so heart warming.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 / by / 10 Comments


  1. Wonderfully made dal chechki. Bhalo laglo dekhe.

    today's recipe:

  2. wonderful dhal

  3. Wow.. dal chechki ta dekhei khete ichha korchhe. Darun hoyechhe ami khub taratari try korbo...

  4. Thank you!! :) ki shundor lagchey.

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