Lentils or dal goes down as a daily dish in Indian culinary. However to add variety into vegetarian curry choices, lentils particularly Chana dal can be used to make an interesting dish called “Dhokar dalna”. It is rich in taste and self-sufficient to be reckoned as a full fledged Bengali or Indian curry. It can compete with any other non veg dish. Today I am sharing with you the recipe that I have learnt from my mother.
Ingredients to serve 4 :
- Cholar dal or Chana dal/lentils – 2/3 of a cup
- Potato (large) – 1
- Green chilli – 2
- Tomato (large) – 1½
- Ginger – ½ inch
- Ginger paste – 1 tbspoon
- Cumin powder/paste – 1 tbspoon
- Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
- Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
- Garam masala powder – ¼ teaspoon (optional)
- Asafoetida or Hing (powder) – ½ teaspoon
- Carom seeds or Ajwain – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Whole garam masala (1 inch cinnamon stick, 3 cloves & 3 green cardamom)
- Bay leaf – 1
- Salt & sugar to taste
- Cooking oil
1. Making of “Dhoka” or “Lentil barfi” :
Soak the chana dal overnight in sufficient amount of water. Then drain the water and blend the lentils with ginger, green chillies, salt and sugar to make a smooth paste. Add little amount of water while needed (don’t add much water as we need a thick paste).
Then sprinkle over the ajwain and mix well.
Now heat approx. 5 tbspoon of oil in a non-stick pan over medium flame. Add hing/asafoetida into it and then pour the lentil paste. Stir well and cook till the paste starts leaving the pan and gets a dough like texture. Then spread it over a plate, greased with oil, flat it out in a ½ inch thick square and level the surface evenly. Now let it cool down to room temperature. When completely set, cut the block into squares or diamonds shapes as shown below. Now fry the diamond/square-shaped lentil pieces in sufficient amount of oil. Fry them on low to medium heat so that they get cooked from inside.
“Dhoka” or “Lentil Barfi” is ready to go into the gravy.
2. Making of “Curry” or “Gravy” :
Cut the potato into small square pieces and also chop the tomatoes. Heat 2 tbspoon of oil in a frying pan. Add cumin seeds, whole garam masala and bey leaf, saute them for a while until get a nice aroma. Then add potato pieces into it and fry well. Add chopped tomatos, ginger paste, salt and turmeric powder when the potatoes are half fried. After mashing the tomatoes add cumin powder and chilli powder into it. Cook until oil comes out from the mixture and the raw smell of the species goes away (you can add little bit water if it starts to burn). Add water and sugar as per your requirement and cover with a lid. Add dhoka/lentil barfi into it when the potatoes are completely cooked. Cook for another few minutes or till the gravy thicken. Put the gas off, sprinkle garam masala powder over it and mix well. Keep it in covered condition for few minutes so that the aroma of garam masala powder can go well into the curry. Now you are ready to serve the dish.
- Don’t fry the lentil paste in oil for a long time and let it cool and set properly before cutting into pieces, otherwise the diamond/square-shaped lentil pieces will break while frying.
- Make the gravy in large portion because dhoka/lentil barfi has a tendency to soak the gravy easily.
- If you are using a solid and strong asafoetida instead of powder then add a little amount of it while making the paste of lentils. No nedd to add in the oil.
- If the procedure to make Dhoka or lentil barfi seems lenghty or complicated to you, then you can also use ready-made “dhoka mixture” available in the market. However, the homemade dhoka is far superior in taste and flavour in my opinion. 🙂