Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Masur Dal with Chalta (Tak-Dal) – Red lentils cooked with Elephant Apple (Sour Dal)

Dal goes hand-in-hand with Bhat (rice). They are friends of one another on the lunch spread. The other day there was a conversation going on between Dal and Bhat.

Dal: Bhai (brother) Bhat, today is so cold.

Bhat: Don’t you know that winter has already stepped in?

Dal: I know because Didibhai, puts my bowlful in the micro-oven and switches it on to warm me up.

Bhat: Hey Dal Bhai, you seem to be so stupid. Didibhai warms all of us before serving as Dada babu likes hot food during these winter days.

Dal: Bhai Bhat, but Didibhai is so good. She knows so many kinds of recipes and makes me so interesting before serving.

Bhat: That’s right Bhai. Even she cooks so many different dishes…specially she makes something different and tasty with me on holidays which all gobble up with happiness and satisfaction.

Dal: Shhhhhhhh…Nilima didi (the helping hand) is coming. Keep quiet!

Nilima comes, picks up the bowl of rice in her left hand and the dal bowl in her right hand and moves towards the dining table.

There are times when we move away from Facts to Fiction. But ultimately we are grounded to reality.

No more Hip-Hops, better to speak about the Tak dal with chalta. Dal is a must with rice. It can be cooked from all simplicity to spicy…always best to cook the way the family wants.

Masur dal/Red Lentils is a common dal in Bengali homes. Talking of Tak dal, it is mostly about masur dal cooked with green mangoes…specially during the hot summer days. This is so refreshing on hot days.

At home Ma used to cook masur dal with chalta also. You can read Chaltar Tak here.

Some days back chalta was available in the market. Having one at home thought could divide it…some for the Tak with mustard paste and some for my masur dal.

Dressing chalta is a difficult task. But the taste buds sometime make you overcome this difficult task…all for the sake of taste and good food.

Start Cooking:

Masur Dal
Take 1 cup masur dal. Soak it after washing for about 10-15 minutes.

Pressure cook with 3 cups of water. Add some haldi powder and cook it for 4-5 whistles.

Cut the chalta into thin longish strips (to know about it read my other posting Chaltar tak).

Pressure cook this and then just mash the pieces with the help of the fingers.

Mashed Chalta

For the tempering of the dal:

Take about 1 tbsp of oil in a kadhai. Once it is hot add the panch phoran (a combination of 5 whole spices) and 2 dry red chillies broken into half.

Next add the dal after mashing it with a ladle against the sides of the pressure cooker.

Once it starts boiling, add the cooked chalta.

Next comes the salt and some sugar to balance the sourness. If you don’t want to add sugar, you may not.

Let it cook for 3-4 minutes.

Pour it out on a serving bowl.

Serve with hot rice, bhaja, bhate or other sheddho.

That’s the magic of the dal-bhat in Bengali homes.

© gouri guha 2013


  1. looks very tempting n mouthwatering...

  2. awesome , didibhai, very new for me ..but the chalta season is gone , I guess