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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dhokar Dalna (Lentil Cakes in a spicy gravy) ~A Bengali Delight

  I will share another favorite dish of Bengalis today, i.e. Dhokar Dalna. Dhoka is a shallow fried cake made from two types of lentils(dal) and then cooked in a curry with potato and very little spices is called Dhokar Dalna. Dalna, is a cooking term that means any vegetables or eggs cooked in a medium thick gravy seasoned with ground spices, specially with Garam masala and a touch of ghee.   
     You all must be wondering why this dish is called "Dhokar Dalna". Dhoka means "cheat" in hindi. I am not sure the reason behind it. But I have a theory. I think, from outside you won't realize how awesome this dish tastes. When you will taste, you will be surprised, in a good way, of course. When you are bored with your regular cooking, try this out. It's a mouth watering dish you ever had...may be I am little overboard....bec' I love this dish.
      This is one of the niramish(veg) dish of bengalis. For bengalis, niramish or totally veg. means not only no meat, no fish, no egg, but also no onion. Specially, in fasting days or on some puja days, there will be no onion cooking at homes. This is one of the recipe which are cooked on those puja days. In Bengali Cuisine, most of the veg. dishes are without onions and with very less oil and less spices to make vegetable more nutritious.

You Need :  
For making Dhoka/Lentil Cake :
Cholar dal (chana dal/bengal gram) : 1/2 cup
Matar dal (yellow split pea) : 1/2 cup (if you don't have matar dal, only cholar dal also works fine-then take 1 cup of it)
Ginger Paste
Green chillies
Salt to taste
Sugar : 1 tsp.

Roasted cumin seed  powder : 2 tsp.(take 1 tsp. cumin seeds and roast
them on a tawa until light brown and grind them into powder)
For the curry :
Potato : 1 or 2(medium-cubed)
Tomato : 1 (medium-blanched)
Ginger : 11/2" (grated)
Green chillies : 2
Turmeric powder :1 tsp.
Chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Cumin powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander powder : 1tsp.
Seasoning :
Bay leaf :1
Cardamom :2/3
Cinnamon stick :1 (1")
Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp.
Garam masala : 2 tsp. (powder mixture of cardamom, cinnamon & cloves)
Ghee/clarified butter : 1 tsp.
Oil : 3-4 tblsp.

How To :
  • Wash and soak two types of lentils overnight. Drain water and grind the dals with 1 green chillies to a paste with very little water (as needed) in a mixer.
  • In the mixture, add 1 tsp. ginger paste, season with salt, little sugar, if you like add little chilli powder (optional), cumin powder and roasted cumin seed powder. Mix all of them well.
  • Now heat a pan, pour 1 tblsp. oil, pour the dal mixture over it and in low flame stir it until all the moisture evaporates and dal mixture becomes sticky but not completely dry.
  • Grease a wide plate with little oil. Pour the dal mixture evenly on the plate with almost one inch depth. Press lightly with your spoon so that it sets properly. Cool and cut into square or diamond shapes. this sets in about 30-45 minutes.
 . .
  • Heat 2 tblsp. of oil and fry the dhokas in medium flame to light brown on both sides. Do not over-fry them, then the curry won't go inside the dhokas and don't fry so little then dhokas will break easily in the curry. Remove and keep aside. Fry the potatoes in the same oil with little salt to light brown and keep aside.
  • To make the gravy, heat a pan with 1 tblsp. oil, add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds. when all the whole spices turn little brown, add rest of the ginger paste and tomatoes together. Stir till tomatoes turn soft.
  • Add turmeric, chilli, cumin and coriander powder and mix well with tomatoes. when masala is cooked and oil seperates the spices, add potatoes. Then add about two small cups of water and salt. When the potatoes are half-cooked, then add the dhokas and simmer for 4-5 minutes. (Note : do not stir so often and vigorously, dhokas will break)
  • When the potatoes are done and dhokas start to soak up some of the gravy and the curry thickens to medium thick gravy, sprinkle garam masala powder and little ghee over it. Cook for another minute or two and take it off the heat. Dhokar dalna is ready to serve. Serve with plain rice or chapati or puri.
Thursday, April 25, 2013 / by / 8 Comments


  1. This is a very new recipe for me. will try soon

  2. love seeing so many new recipes from different cuisines..lovely recipe..

  3. Seriously i want to make this dhokar dalna since a long, very inviting food.

  4. My favourite veg dish. Khub bhalo hoyeche.

  5. This is one of my favorites, though I have never tried.


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