Bengali Dal (Chana Dal With Raisins)

An aromatic main course served at weddings and other celebrations in East India, this flavorful Bengali dal contains four of our five featured healing spices, as well as panch phoron (a blend of five spices).




  • 1 cup chana dal (split lentils), soaked in warm water for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp panch phoron (to make your own, mix 1 ¼ tsp each of black or brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, and nigella seeds)
  • 2 dried red chilies, seeded and broken in half
  • 3 dried cloves
  • 1 stick Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2 tsp raisins
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh coconut slices
  • 1 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package directions, or 8 roti


In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add dal, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered. Check on lentils occasionally to skim foam off surface, and add more hot water as needed to keep lentils slightly submerged and soupy. Simmer until lentils are soft and broken down, 1 hour. Stir in turmeric and black pepper.

In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add panch phoron and cook until seeds begin to crackle, 15 seconds. Add red chilies, cloves, and cinnamon and fry for 10 seconds. Stir in raisins and coconut slices and fry until coconut begins to turn golden, 10 seconds.

Pour spice-and-coconut mixture over dal, stir, and bring to a boil; turn off heat. Remove cinnamon stick, cloves, and chilies. Serve over rice or roti. Serves 6.

NUTRITIONAL INFO 387 calories per serving, 6 g fat (2 g saturated), 65 g carbs, 24 g fiber, 18 g protein, 2 mg sodium

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