Friday, March 13, 2015

Dhokar Dalna

Tonight's Menu(Vegetarian Bengali Fare)
Dhokar Dalna
Mulo saag Bhaja
White rice 

Dry Dhokas
Dhokar Dalna
This dish is a beautiful creation of the Niramish (vegetarian) Bengali cuisine. No onion and garlic is used here. Instead lightly spiced chana dal nuggets are fried and then simmered in a gravy of tomatoes, yogurt and ginger. You can also serve these fried nuggets as is with chutney. The process takes some time but is well worth the effort. Potatoes add good taste too. This is best served with white rice but I think the dhoka curry with mulo saag tasted absolutely great with roti. Recipe adapted from BlogHer
Dhokar Dalna (dhokas in gravy) 

For Dhokas or Lentil Cakes
1 cup Chana Dal/Bengal Gram
5-6 green chilies
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Pinch asafoetida/hing
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ginger grated
1/2 tsp sugar
Oil for frying
  1. Soak chana dal overnight in water. Drain water and grind them with green chilies and ginger and salt into a fine paste using as little water as possible. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan(preferably non stick) and temper with hing, cumin seeds. 
  3. Add the ground chana dal and sugar and cook stirring continuously to avoid burning. Cook until the mix comes off the sides clean. The dal should be cooked such that it is moist and soft but not runny or hard. This takes about 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Transfer this mixture to a greased flat container and smooth the top with the back of the spoon or with greased hands. Work fast as the mixture starts to set as it cools. Keep the height about 1/2 inch. Cover and keep aside to cool completely. 
  5. When cool cut into small squares or diamonds. 
  6. Heat oil for frying in a pan to medium high. Slide lentil cakes gently into the hot oil and deep fry in batches till golden. Do not over fry otherwise they will not absorb the gravy.
For the Gravy
1 tbsp Oil
1 big potato, peeled and chopped
2-3 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch asafoetida/hing
2 large tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and fry potato till golden, remove and keep aside. 
  2. In the same pan with left over oil add bay leaves, cumin seeds and a pinch of hing. Add the pureed tomato. Saute till tomato leaves oil at the sides of the pan. 
  3. In the yogurt add all the dry masalas and salt to make a paste. 
  4. Add this paste to the tomatoes and fry at medium heat for 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Now add the potatoes and about a cups and half of water. Cover and cook till potatoes are done. 
  6. Now gently slide in the pieces of dhokas or the fried lentil cakes. Simmer for couple of minutes to let the dhokas soak up the gravy. If your dhokas are cracking and are too soft, do not add them to the gravy. You are better off placing them on the serving dish and pouring the gravy on top. Let them soak the flavor for a few minutes before serving. 
  7. Best served with hot white rice, but tastes great with roti too.

Mulo saag bhaja

Mulo saag bhaja(radish greens stir fry)

This traditional Bengali dish is eaten as a second course in Bengali lunch. I have used the small red radishes as the long white ones were not available with the leaves. Use the white ones if available. I also added one potato. 

4 cup chopped Radish Leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped Radish

1 large potato peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp Nigella seeds (kalonji)

1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 Whole Dry Red Chillies
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder
Salt and red chili powder to taste
1 tbsp Oil
  1. Wash the radish leaves and pat dry. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add nigella and cumin seeds in it. When it starts to splutter, add whole dry red chili. Saute for 40 seconds.
  3. Add chopped radish, radish leaves and potato, turmeric, coriander and chili powder and salt in it. Stir to mix. Cover and cook on medium for 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. When potatoes are done, increase the heat to dry up all the water. Serve hot.

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