Monday, February 8, 2016

Dhokar Dalna ~~Bengali recipes

A Bengali specialty curry that is extremely addictive and tasty, Dhokar dalna is aromatic and goes perfectly well with steamed white rice and Rotis.

It has been quite some time since I posted anything in the blog. I have been thinking about taking another long break from blogging since the postpartum depression is trying to finally get to me. Anyway, my little one had Annaprashana (a ritual to start feeding the baby food other than milk) last week. It was a small ceremony with just family and close friends. We had prepared a simple meal for lunch and made sure nothing was left for the evening. So, I had to prepare something fresh for dinner. Since it was just us and my parents, I thought of making something that I can post for our next blog hop which was Bengali cuisine.

Making Dhokar Dalna was on my mind for few days since it was the theme for our next blog hop. But, it is not simple and easy and takes quite a bit of work. I had soaked Chana daal 2 days before and had it refrigerated hoping to making this dish when I get time. This was the chance, my mum n dad could look after the baby while hubby could clean up the messy house. So, I tied my hair and started to work quickly.

I had asked my sweet Bengali friend Piki for the recipe and she had warned me that making Dhokas can be a little difficult. Yet, with the baby playing happily with my parents, my mind was at peace and I was surprised how perfectly I could follow the recipe and cook this tasty dish with ease.

This recipe calls for the lentil cakes and potatoes to be deep fried. Since I am trying hard to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I could not make this dish how it should be done. Instead of deep frying, I baked both potatoes and dhokas and the outcome was simply amazing and guilt-free. You can deep fry them to make it the authentic way and I am sure my baked dhokas were just as tasty as the deep fried ones.

I had to go through a lot of blogs as well as my friend's recipe to get the hang of the recipe. So, the recipe is not followed from one source. Also, since I am still feeding the little one, I cannot eat green chillies. I have added Birds eye chillies (Sooji menasu from my native) instead of green chillies. Also, I was surprised that they add a lot of ginger to this dish but it makes sense since chana dal is extremely gassy. Hoping that I have made justice to the original authentic Dhokar dalna, here is the recipe..

Nutritional Information  (Approx) (per serving)
Energy  167.9 Calories
Fat 9.1 %
Carbohydrates 16.4 %
Dietary Fiber 2.6 %
Sodium 30.8 mg
Vitamin A 4.9 %
Vitamin C 10.4 %
Calcium  7.2 %
Iron  3.7 %
Protein 2.8 Grams
Sugar 2.8 Grams

For Dhoka:
Chana dal/ Split bengal gram 1 cup
Ginger 5-6 pieces + 1 teaspoon paste
Green chillies 4
Water as needed
Oil 2 teaspoons + 2 teaspoon to bake
Salt  to taste
Sugar 1/2 teaspoon
For Gravy: 
Potato 1 large
Bay leaf 1
Hing a little
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Salt  to taste
Garam masala  1 teaspoon
Chilli powder  1 teaspoon
Cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric  1/2 teaspoon
Tomatoes chopped 1 cup
Sugar 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee 1 teaspoon

Soak Chana dal for atleast 8 hours. I had soaked them overnight and refrigerated so that I can prepare the dhokas when I get time.
Grind the soaked chana dal with few ginger pieces and green chillies. Make sure to grind it to a smooth paste. That will hold the dhokas together.

In a kadai, heat some oil and add cumin seeds and hing. Once the cumin seeds starts to splutter,add ginger paste. Add the ground paste, salt and sugar. Simmer the flame.
Keep stirring and cook till the mixture gets thick. Meanwhile, grease a plate to spread the mixture.

Once the mixture starts to leave the sides, remove from flame and spread the mixture on a greased plate.
Wet your hand and tap on the mixture to tuck the sides. Keep it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
The mixture will be set, cut them to your desired shape and place them on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle some oil and bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Flip the dhokas half way.

Chop the potatoes, sprinkle oil and bake them for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, mix yogurt, cumin powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder.
Heat oil in a kadai, add bay leaves and hing. Fry for a minute.

Add chopped tomatoes and fry till soft. Then add the yogurt mixture and mix well. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
Once the curry starts to boil, add the baked potatoes, salt and sugar. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Add ghee and garam masala to the boiling curry. Once the curry is cooked well, gently drop the dhokas into curry and cook for few minutes.
Serve hot with steamed rice.

* If you do not mind the calories, do try deep frying the dhokas and potatoes. They taste amazing!
* Adjust the green chillies in dhokas and red chilli powder in curry as per your required taste.
*Make sure to refrigerate the dhoka dough before cutting. That way, dhokas will hold the shape.

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