Dhokar Dalna

‘Dhokar Dalna’ is one of the most popular and traditional ‘Niramish’ (vegetarian) Bengali dish. By niramish here we actually mean that it entails to the quintessential Satvik Bengali cuisine wherein even onion and garlic will not be added. Here I won’t go into details about its history or nomenclature. This specialty dish is basically Bengal gram and split peas cakes simmered in delicious and spicy gravy. Mator dal or yellow split peas is not always readily available outside Bengal (luckily nowadays I am getting it in Mumbai). In that scenario one can go ahead with cholar dal (chana dal) only, tastes great any which ways. The recipe is not very simple per se, a bit time consuming, but then it is very delicious and every bit worth the effort taken.

 

Dhokar Dalna Recipe

Preparation time: 10 - 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 - 30 minutes
Yield: 4 - 5 servings

Ingredients

- FOR DHOKA (LENTIL CAKES) - 

  • Cholar Dal/ Bengal Gram Dal: ½ cup
  • Mator Dal/ Yellow Split Peas: ½ cup
  • Ginger: 1” piece
  • Green Chilli: 2-3
  • Cumin Seeds: ½ teaspoon
  • Asafetida: A pinch
  • Coriander Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Salt: As per taste
  • Red Chilli Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon + for frying

 

- FOR DALNA (GRAVY) -

  • Potato: 1 or 2, medium sized
  • Tomatoes: 2, medium sized
  • Ginger: 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Curd: 2 tablespoon
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Bay Leaf: 2
  • Garam Masala Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Salt: As per taste
  • Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoon
  • Green Chilli: 2
  • Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 1 teaspoon

Method

  1. Wash and soak both the dals for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and grind into a smooth paste with ginger, green chilli and little water.
  2. Heat oil in pan, add cumin seeds and asafetida. Pour the dal paste. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Fry till the excess moisture dries off.
  3. Spread the mixture on a greased plate, leave for 5-10 minutes. Cut into diamond shapes.
     
  4. Heat oil in a pan, deep fry the diamond shaped dhokas till golden brown. Take out and keep aside.
     
  5. Fry the potatoes till golden brown, keep aside.
  6. Grind the tomatoes and ginger into a puree.
  7. In a bowl add the chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and little water to make a paste.
  8. In a separate pan, heat mustard oil. Add bay leaves and cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds start crackling, add the tomato-ginger puree.
  9. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spice paste to the pan, cook on low to medium heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Now add the whisked curd and continue frying till oil leaves the sides. Add the fried potatoes and mix well. Add water and bring it to a boil.
  11. Add the fried dhokas, adjust seasoning, simmer for 2-3 minutes or till the dhokas are well soaked and the gravy thickens.
  12. Add garam masala powder, green chillies and ghee. Stir lightly, take it off from heat.
  13. Serve ‘dhokar dalna’ with plain rice or pulao.