August 20, 2008

Dhokar Dalna


Dhokar Dalna is part of traditional Bengali cuisine cooked and served in Pujo, or as second course of a meal. I was reminiscing about it with my parents, also telling them that I've received a few requests asking for the recipe. And they surprised me with Dhokar Dalna curry the next day.

I am not sure where the name originated, neither did my parents. Dhoka means to cheat, and I have been wondering what does the the curry using lentils is cheating on? I am still curious, so drop me a line if you have any theories :)

Here is how they made it:
1 cup cholar dal (chana dal/Bengal gram)
2 medium tomato
1 tspoon ginger grated
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1 tspoon coriander powder
1 tspoon cumin seed powder
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon chilli powder
2 green chillis
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon garam masala
1/2 tspoon ghee
2-3 tbspoon oil
salt to taste

Wash and soak Bengal gram lentils in water for 4-6 hours. Drain water and grind the dal to a paste in a mixer. Heat 1 tspoon oil and temper it with 1/2 tspoon cumin seeds, asafoetida, 1/2 tspoon ginger paste, 1/4 tspoon turmeric powder and salt. Pour the ground dal and cook till the mixture is soft and sticky, but not completely dry.

Smear little oil in a dish. Pour the cooked dal and spread evenly on the dish. Press lightly with your spoon so that it sets properly. Cool and cut the dhoka into square or diamond shapes.


Heat two tbspoon oil and fry the dhokas to light brown. Remove and keep aside.

Then heat the rest of remaining oil in a deep bottomed pan and temper it with the 1/2 tspoon remaining cumin seeds. Fry for a minute till it stops sputtering.

In the meantime, puree the tomatoes, ginger and green chillies together.
Add the pureed mixture with turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin seeds powder and saute for 3-4 minutes on low heat.

Then, add about two small cups of
of water and salt and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add the fried dhokas, and bring the curry to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 4-5 minutes till the dhoka starts to soak up part of the curry.

Put ghee and garam masala and take it off the heat. It should be the last thing added. just before the dish is taken off the heat.


Serve warm with rice. This is my entry to Curry Mela going on at Srivalli's Cooking 4 all Seasons. Thank you for hosting!


  1. I've heard of dhokar dalna, but never tried it. thanks for the recipe.

  2. i have never heard of this dish..looks awesome..

  3. thats such a beautiful dish mandira...I really came here wanting to ask you to send this to me..and here you are..great..that sure makes a great entry!!!..

  4. have you mailed it to me, cos haven't got any mail...

  5. Iam reading a collection of translated Bengali short stories right now and dhokar dalna is mentioned in there. Isn't it coincidential that I should find the same thing on your blog today???

  6. One of the major attractions at one of our Bong friends was the dhokar dalna. We love it :-)

  7. Wow this great and coincidencely I was planning to make it today,Nice refresh again.Thanks and we too make it again in Orissa.

  8. Wow this is looking yummy. heard about dhokla but not this.

  9. very new to me....luvin it already...thanks for sharin

  10. There is a suprise for you in my blog. Click here to know what the suprise is,

  11. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. You have a nice blog and the dhokar dalna looks yummy. Hope you don't mind, I have added you to my blogroll.
    Happy Cooking!!

  12. You made dhokar dalna? Wow!

  13. wow this is toooooo good. I dint know abt this will try for sure.

  14. Dhokar dalna looks delicious.I do not know if 'dhoka' is a bengali word .. but may guess that since it was served as a subsitute to non-veg on veggie days ... hence came the name.It is cheating oneself ... having a veggie dish and thinking of non-veggie :-p
    Entirely my version here. :-)

  15. It looks so time in your blog and you have a lovely blog..

  16. i would lov to know the answer....nevr heard of dhokar dalna but its sounds interesting and superb....its tempting pic with rice..yummmmmmm

  17. Even I was about to say that maybe it was meant to be a substitute for meat, but Sharmila already said that. I liked your pithe post also - I didn't have dhokar dalna on my recent trip to Cal but I did have patishapta, we loved it!

  18. This is a new recipe for me...looks so tempting...

  19. My theory about the "cheating" part was the veg - nonveg thing too... but looks like Sharmila and Sra have already beaten me to it... I looked at the picture and really thought it was a piece of meat... It looks delicious! isn't it great to have parents at home :)

  20. I have never heard of dhokar dalna,looks delicious.

    you have an award waiting for you on our blog ;)

  21. Thank you all - my parents are thrilled with the response :) The dalna (curry) came out really well and tastes even better the nest day when the curry has soaked in.

    Pearlsoffeast - thanks for sharing. Is it the same recipe or are there differences? do share.

    Sharmila, Sra, Sig- thanks, interesting and probably true theory. I wonder when this came into the bengali kitchen? It does look like meat pieces!
    The dalna is also cooked with onion and tomato, which is closer to a traditional non vegetarian curry.

  22. Anonymous1:33 PM

    am told dhokar dalna came from people expecting fish (of course, we're bongs after all), something like muittha (sp?) and getting dal instead, and so the dhoka.

  23. i will defintely try this..bookmarked !!!


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