Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dhokar Dalna or Lentil Cakes curry for SNC Challenge - May

In April, I was one of the last few people to complete the SNC challenge. Well, This time, I want to be one of the first. As you may know, SNC challenge is an event started by Divya Pramil of "You too can cook". As part of the event, the bloggers are divided into two groups based on region - Southern Group and Northern Group. Each month, each team challenges the other with one recipe. The event is so much fun, challenging and very informative. I joined the event very late last month and then posted last month's challenge which was a Gujarati dish - Khandvi here. So this month, Nabanita Das of the blog "Esho- Bosho-Aahare" has challenged the Southern team with a dish called  "Dhokar Dalna". Now this is a dish from the Bengali cuisine and I have never heard or tasted it before. That made the event even more challenging!!





A traditional Bengali dish - Dhokar Dalna or Lentil Cakes curry falls into the Satvik category. Yes, a dish with no onions and no garlic!!  By the way, the word meaning of Dhoka is "To Cheat" in Bengali/Sanskrit. As per the dish, Dhoka means Lentil Cakes and Dalna means Curry. How ever why the dish got this name ( that too with the meaning of cheat!!) is not known sadly. 
This is the first time that I am trying a Bengali dish. I know that Bengal is famous for the inclusion of fish in their diet and so I had thought that the first dish that  I will ever try from Bengal would be fish curry. But Thanks to SNC, here I am trying a pure vegetarian dish from Bengali Cuisine. When I first read the procedure to make the Dhokar Dalna, I was very happy seeing that it includes lots of grated coconut and coconut milk which is included in many Keralite dishes. Hence I was convinced that my hubby would not be throwing any tantrums!!! 
When I started making Dhokar Dalna, I must say I was very nervous. I am making something of which I am not sure about the authentic taste. I had back up plans for today's lunch in case I was not able to replicate the dish. But once I made the lentil cakes, there was no turning back and it turned out to be a most satisfying dish. As per my hubby, very filling and delicious :)  See, I got the final approval from home as well :) So enjoy this delicious dish. It may need a bit of time to prepare. But the end result is worth it. So go for the dish and let me know how it turns out. 

Dhokar Dalna:

Ingredients:

For the Lentil Cakes:

1 cup Chana Dal
[Note: Authentic recipe calls for combination of 1.5 cup Chana Dal and 0.5 cup Matar Dal (Yellow split peas Dal). How ever I didnt have yellow split peas Dal and hence substituted with Chana Dal.]
1/4  cup grated coconut
1 Tbsp Ginger Paste
1 green chilly
1 Tsp Nigella Seeds or Onion seeds or Kalonji
1/2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Asfoetida or Hing
Salt 
Oil

Prepping: 

Step 1: Soak Chana Dal for 4 hrs. I chose the easy way - soaked overnight :). If you have Matar Dal (Yellow split peas Dal), soak that too. 

Step 2: Be ready with a greased plate for keeping the batter and shaping. Will be needed in step 5 of the method of preparing. 

Method of Preparing the Lentil Cakes:

Step 1: 

Grind the Dal along with green chillies in a mixer/blender into a coarse batter. I used only 1 green chilly as mine was very spicy. If yours are less spicy, do use 2 or 3. 


Step 2:

Mix grated coconut, ginger paste, nigella seeds, turmeric powder, baking soda and salt in the coarse paste.





Step 3:

Heat a non stick pan and add 1 Tbsp oil in it. When the oil becomes hot, add asfoetida and stir for a few sec. Then add the coarse paste and keep stirring. 




Step 4:

Stir till the coarse batter leaves the non stick pan. This may take around 5 - 10 min.




Step 5:

Now flatten the dough evenly on a greased plate. Keep aside for cooling.




Step 6:

Once cooled, cut the dough into your desired shapes like square or diamond.




Step 7:

Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Add the square shaped or diamond shaped pieces, once the oil becomes hot. Fry till they turn light brown. Keep aside.




For making the curry :




Ingredients:

2 medium sized potatoes
1 Tbsp Turmeric Powder 
Salt

2 Bayleaf
1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
A pinch of Asfoetida or hing
1 green chilly (Use 2 or 3 if yours is less spicy)
1 Tbsp ginger paste
1 big Tomato
1 Tbsp red chilly powder
1 Tbsp cumin powder
2 Tbsp Garam Masala
1/4 cup grated coconut
2 cups slightly thick coconut milk
4 Tbsp Cashew Raisin Paste
Salt
Oil

Prepping:

Step 1: Soak 1/4 cup cashews and raisins in hot water for half an hour and then grind into a smooth paste.
Step 2: Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Slit green chilies. Dice Tomatoes.

Method of preparing the curry:

Step 1:

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a non stick pan. Add 1/2 Tbsp turmeric powder in the oil and then add the potatoes. Add salt and fry the potatoes till they are crispy. Keep aside. 

Step 2:

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in the same pan. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Then add asfoetida and Bay leaves. Fry for a few sec. 

Step 3:

Add green chillies and stir for a min.




Step 4:

Add ginger paste and saute for 2 min.

Step 5:

Then add tomatoes and fry till they are mushy.

Step 6:

Add 1/2 Tbsp Turmeric, red chilly powder, cumin powder and 1 Tbsp Garam Masala. Mix well. 




Let it cook till the oil starts coming out. May take around 5 - 10 min.

Step 7:

Now add the grated coconut and stir.




Then add 2 cups of coconut milk. Mix well.




Step 8:

Add cashew-raisin paste and mix well. 

Step 9:

Add the fried potatoes also and salt and mix. Now let the curry boil. If you find the gravy has become very thick, then you can add some warm water to adjust the gravy to your desired consistency.

Step 10:

Once the curry boils, add the fried lentil cakes.




Now sprinkle the remaining garam masala on top. Cover the pan and switch off. Yummy Dhokar Dalna is ready to be served. Enjoy along with Idiyappam or Chappathi or Rice.




Now while adding the lentil cakes, you may keep some from adding to the curry. The lentil cakes soak up the curry. So add as per your need. 

The curry is delicious and is worth all the effort of making it. Do try it out guys!!













24 comments:

  1. nice step by step clicks.certainly lipsmacking.

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  2. very nice presentation n love the step wise picture... n am first time here.. u having such a lovely space...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Vijayalakshmi!! Do visit again !!

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  3. Nice clicks & looks delicious..

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  4. Hello Avika... very nice and tempting Dear... you made it perfectly..hope u enjoyed a lot and about clicks its just awesome... but do one correction that here dhoka means "lentil cakes" and dalna means curry ... And word meaning of dhoka here to cheat..hope u got it Avika?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Nabanita!! Yes, I had a wonderful time preparing the dish and I absolutely loved the dish!! Ooops.. I didnt know that as per the dish dhoka meant lentil cakes. will update it now !! Thank you for correcting me!!

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  5. dhokar dalna looks super yumm :) :)

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  6. Perfectly made curry. Looks delicious and beautiful presentation..

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  7. This looks so deliciously flavorful Avika.. Will give it a try soon :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Nilu.. Do try the dish.. Its yummy!!

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  8. Wow the curry has come out very well and looks very delicious...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rumana.. Try out the dish.. You will love it...

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  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Rafeeda, Do try it out..

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  10. Hi avika first of all you have a very cute name so pleasant to call it and the dish is very nice it has come out well.

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  11. Looks really delicious, nicely done.

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