Bengali cuisine is widely famous for its non-vegetarian fare. Dhokar dalna is a stalwart among the vegetarian dishes. The lightly spiced lentil cakes or dhoka are fried and then simmered with potatoes in a gravy made with tomatoes and ginger, spiced with cumin and coriander.
Here’s an oil-free version.
For the Dhoka/ Lentil cakes
- Chana dal: ½ cup
- Kalonji: ¼ tsp
- Red chilli powder: ½ tsp
- Rock salt to taste
- Ginger: 1 tbsp (grated)
- Jaggery powder: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
For the gravy
- Jeera: ½ tsp
- Poppy seeds: ½ tsp
- Mustard seeds: ½ tsp
- Ginger: 1 tbsp( grated)
- Tomatoes: 1 cup(cut into big chunks)
- Potatoes: 2 medium sized(Steamed peeled cut into wedges)
- Red chilli: 1 nos
- Bay leaves: 2 nos
- Panch Phoran: ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder: 1.2 tsp
- Green chillies: 1 no
- Red chilli powder: ½ tsp
- Coriander Powder: ½ tsp
- Cumin powder: ½ tsp
- Garam masala powder: ¼ tsp
- Rock salt: to taste
- Coriander leaves: to garnish
- Wash and soak Chana Dal in water for 2 hours.
- Soak jeera, mustard seeds and poppy seeds in just enough water to cover them.
- Take the dal along with red chilli powder, salt, ginger, jaggery powder, turmeric powder and grind to a fine paste. (much like idli batter consistency)
- Add little water as required for grinding.
- In a kadhai, dry roast kalonji for a few seconds and then add the dal paste.
- Now cook the ground dal paste, until the mix comes off the sides clean.
- The dal should be cooked so that it is moist and soft but not runny or hard. Stir continuously on a slow flame.
- It only takes about 5 mins or so for the dal to get cooked.
- Transfer to a greased plate and pat it with the back of a ladle. Wet the ladle to smoothen it.
- Cut into desired shapes and allow it to cool.
- Heat a tawa and roast the lentil cakes until browned on both sides.
- Grind soaked jeera, mustard and poppy seeds along with grated ginger, into a fine paste.
- Heat a pan, add panch phoran, red chilli and bay leaves and dry roast for a minute.
- Add the ground paste and sauté for a few seconds; add a tablespoon of water to avoid burning.
- Add tomatoes, salt and all spice powders and sauté for a few minutes stirring well.
- Add potato wedges, one cup water and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Once the tomatoes are cooked add the lentil cakes and simmer for a few minutes. Add water to get the desired consistency.
- Cover and allow the dish to rest and the lentil cakes to soak the gravy. Add
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice or millets.
- Food group: lentils
- Lentils are a high-protein, high-fiber member of the legume family. Like a mini version of a bean.
- They are best consumed after soaking.