Dhokar Dalna

Bengalis love their food, and is it turns out from recent discoveries they even have stuff beyond fish! Growing up in Delhi we never realized it as much but recent encounters with the cuisine has broadened our perspective. E.g., N's office colleagues have been taking ger to annual lunch meals at Durga Puja and that has inspired a lot of our cooking and eating out recently. 

Here's a vegetarian legacy from the Indian east coast. Flavorful lentil fritters and potatoes cooked in a mellow tomato-based gravy. Exemplifies bengali simplicity


1 potato

For lentil cakes
1 cup chana daal - soaked overnight
3 green chillies
1 tsp ginger grated
Pinch of Asafoetida
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin

For Gravy
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger grated
Pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp sugar
4 tomatoes pulp

Yogurt masala mix
1 tbsp of yogurt - add 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder


For lentil cakes
1. Drain dal water and add green chillies and ginger to dal and grind it into a paste.
2. In a pan, add oil. add asafoetida and cumin to it.
3. Now add dal mix to pan and keep stirring so that it doesnt stick on sides.
4. Add sugar and salt to it and cook only to dry up the mix but still remains soft.
5. In a flat plate, grease it with oil and make a lentil cake on it.
6. Leave it for 30 mins atleast and then cut pieces out of it.
7. In a wok, heat oil and deep fry dal pieces, just making sure the outer layer is crispy but not too brown. Also, peel potato and fry it.

For Gravy
1. In a wok, heat oil and temper bay leaves and cumin in it.
2. Add tomato pulp and ginger and cook for 4 - 5 mins
3. Now, pour yogurt masala mix and cook for another 4-5 mins. Add salt as per taste
4. Add fried potato to it and 1 1/2 cup of water and let it cook on slow till potato is cooked.

Add lentil cakes to the gravy just before serving. You don't want the fritters to soak all the gravy and make it dry so this timing is very important. Also make sure you keep the right proportion of gravy and number of fritters, adjust as needed.

Enjoy traditional bengali dish dhokar dalna with hot phulkas or luchi.


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About the Authors

This blog is from the kitchen of Neha Gupta and Mridul Karkara. We go about our days pretending to be HR Managers and Business Consultants respectively, though in reality, just thinking about our next big meal! This food blog is a representation of our experiments in the kitchen and for the simple joy of cooking and sharing!

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