Bengal Coconut Dal

I chose to go a little out there while staying simple. I’m still not in the mood to make anything complicated. This week’s recipe is one for Bengal Coconut Dal from the BBC show Indian Made Easy. This recipe uses chana dal or split chickpeas. You can find these at a well stocked grocery store, Asian grocery or online. I happen to have purchased a bunch of different types of dal for another recipe and had a bunch sitting around to use. I like this recipe because it is simple, yet complex in flavor. Not to mention full of nutrition and it’s vegetarian. I do need to add a few more veggies to round out the vitamins, but that should be pretty easy. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I removed the added salt to reduce the sodium.
  • I added red bell pepper to increase the vitamin C.
  • I added butternut squash to increase the vitamin A.
  • I added brown rice to add protein and round out the carbs.
  • I reduced the amount of dal slightly and added some tofu to increase the protein.
  • I increased the servings from 4 to 8 to reduce the calories.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:


Bengal Coconut Dal

Serves 8

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 15oz package of extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
  • 2 pints water
  • 7 oz chana dal, thoroughly cleaned
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2-3 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil, unsalted butter or ghee
  • 5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1-2 dried red chillies
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 heaped tbsp flaked or desiccated coconut
  • 7 oz butternut squash, cubed
  • 4 red bell peppers, chopped
  1. Bring 1.5 cups of water and rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  2. Heat the water, lentils and turmeric in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about an hour, or until soft. If necessary, add a bit of extra water.

  3. Stir in the coriander, garam masala, salt and sugar, to taste. Cook until the lentils are completely soft and beginning to break up.

  4. Heat the oil or butter in a small pan. Fry the cardamom pods, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds, chilies and bay leaves for 30 seconds. (Be careful as the seeds may pop a bit.) Add the coconut and stir until it turns golden-brown.

  5. Add in the tofu and brown on all sides. Then add the butternut squash and bell pepper. Saute until soft.
  6. To serve, stir the spice mix into the lentils and divide among eight serving plates.


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