Dhokar Dalna is a quintessential Bengali vegetarian dish with absolutely no onion and no garlic and is prepared by cooking fried split chickpeas cake in a spicy gravy. Dalna is probably the most favourite form of spicy curry cooked with lots of love in almost every Bengali households, specially, the day when they are having vegetarian dishes. Like many other Bengalis, I too, love dalna and cook it often. There are many varieties of Bengali dalna and all have one condition in common, no onion and no garlic.
Dhokar Dalna is a bit tricky to make and takes quite a lot of time – patience and preciseness are the two main things you need to have to cook this dish. Maa makes awesome Dhokar Dalna, but, she prefers most the store-bought ready to make dhoka mix as it saves lot of time. Even I don’t mind using those store-bought mix, but, on some day, when I have plenty of time in hand, I genuinely love to do everything by my own and say no to the short-cut. Homemade dhoka has a different taste and texture which you can’t get with the store-bought mix. I am so much in love with this taste and texture 🙂
I am rather a non-vegetarian kind of person and prefer fish and meat, but, I have a genuine weakness for dalna and can’t help but making them quite often. While making Dhokar Dalna, make sure the lentil cakes are not too hard or too soft and that entirely depends on how fine your lentil paste is and how well you have roasted it. Also, once the lentil cakes are cooked in the gravy, they becomes prone to breakage and thus needed to be handled carefully.
Dhokar Dalna is by far one of the most loved Bengali vegetarian delight and here’s how you can make it.
For Making Dhoka:
- 1 cup split chickpeas (200 gms approx)
- 1 pieces of ginger (1 inch), roughly chopped
- 3 green chillies, roughly cut
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon salt
- mustard oil (or any oil), as required for deep frying
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cardamom
- 2 cinnamon stick (each 1 inch)
- 5 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 pinch hing
- 3 table-spoon ghee
For Making The Curry:
- 2 medium sized potato, diced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 4 green chillies, slitted from middle
- 1 piece of ginger, grated
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2)
- 1 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon garam masala powder
- 1 table-spoon sugar
- 2 table-spoon mustard oil
- 2.5 cup warm water
- salt, according to taste
For Making Dhoka:
- Soak the split chickpeas overnight. Next day, before cooking, drain the water and make a fine paste adding chopped ginger and green chillies. Keep the paste aside.
- Heat 2 table-spoon mustard oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds.
- Add the chickpeas paste and stir adding turmeric powder and salt.
- Stir for 2-3 minutes on medium flame until the paste becomes tight and water evaporates.
- Grease a tray with oil and transfer the chickpeas paste to it. Tap with your hand to set it and make it even.
- With the help of a knife, cut out diamond shaped cakes and let it cool down.
- Heat required oil in a pan and deep fry the cakes until they are golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
For Making Dhokar Dalna:
- Rub the potato pieces with 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and salt and shallow fry in mustard oil until they are light golden in colour. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat ghee in a pan and temper with all the ingredients mentioned in For Tempering section. Allow them to splutter.
- Add grated ginger and stir for few seconds.
- Now, add tomato, 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and Kashmiri chilli powder. Sprinkle some water and stir until the tomato gets blended.
- Add fried potato and salt. Mix well.
- Add warm water, mix and cover the lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes on medium flame.
- Open the lid and add dhoka (chickpeas’ cakes) and give it a quick mix. Cover the lid and cook for another 10 minutes on low to medium flame.
- Check if the cakes are properly cooked. If not, cook for some more time.
- Open the lid and add garam masala powder and sugar. Give a quick mix and turn the flame off.
- Your Dhokar Dalna is ready to be served now.
Serve this traditional Bengali dish with piping hot rice aka gorom bhat (as we call it). Squeeze a piece of gondhoraj lebu (lemon) and let this hot and spicy curry with soft and melt-in-mouth lentil cakes make you lunch time delightful.
Enjoy this authentic Bengali delicacy and do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.