…poila baisakh special recipes…
…Dhokar dalna or steamed lentil cakes in ginger gravy…
Very difficult, time-consuming, too lengthy ways, blah ! blah ! blah ! This is how most of us describe the dhokar dalna and because of this many of us shy away from preparing it.
But on a tastier note dhokar dalna redefines simplicity with its elegance, unmatched flavor and fabulous taste.
Dhokar dalna is one of the classy vegetarian dishes from Bengali cuisine and is nothing but steamed lentil cakes simmered in flavorful light cumin and ginger gravy. This dish is prepared without any onions and garlic. Some use tomatoes in the gravy, some do not but nevertheless it makes a fantastic dish and is worth taking the pain. Without elaborating further here we goes…
Dhokar dalna or steamed lentil cakes in ginger gravy
Bengal gram (chana dal): 200 gm
Potato: 2 big diced in cubes
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Coriander seed paste: 1 tbsp
Cumin paste: 1 tbsp
Red chili powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
Ginger paste: 2 tbsp
Green chilies: 4
Bay leaves: 1 or 2
Asafoetida (hing): a pinch
Sugar and salt to taste
Coriander leaves (chopped): 1 tsp
Oil: For frying and cooking
Ghee: 1 tsp
To prepare the dhoka: Soak the Bengal gram or lentils in water overnight. Drain the water and grind the Bengal gram with ½ tsp of ginger paste, salt, green chilies, a bit of chili powder, turmeric powder to a smooth paste and add water as required during grinding. Keep the paste aside.
Heat some oil in a pan and add the above paste. Fry on a low heat by continuously stirring till the water gets dried and it comes clean from the sides of the pan. Add little oil if requires to prevent it from sticking into the pan. It will have smooth and soft dough like texture, neither too hard nor runny.
Grease a round plate with a bit of ghee or oil. And spread the paste evenly.
When it sets down, cut it into square or diamond shapes and take them out. Heat some oil in a pan and deep fry each cubes or dhoka till they are golden brown in color. Make sure they don’t break. Keep them aside.
Dry roast 4-5 tsp cumin seeds on a tawa and grind it in mortar and pestle to make a paste of about 1 tablespoon.
For the gravy: Temper the oil with bay leaves, asafoetida and cumin seeds. Next add the cumin paste, ginger paste and coriander seed paste . Stir the mixture. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and a pinch of sugar and salt. Stir well till the oil separates from it.
Add the potatoes cut into cubes and stir fry for few more minutes. Add the required amount of water and simmer it for few more minutes till the potatoes are done.
Now add the fried slices of dhokas / lentil cakes and simmer on low heat till the dhokas soak 1/4th of the gravy properly. A spoonful of ghee will give a nice flavor to the dish and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve the hot dhokar dalna with plain white rice.
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