Dhokar Dalna – A Savory Bengali dish

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This dish has been an all time favorite of my father in law and he made sure I had a taste of its authentic version during my stay at my in laws place in West Bengal. This dish is very common in Bengali household and each house has it’s different version. The base or Dhokar is almost like Dhokla which is a very common Indian snack. Dalna is gravy which in this dish is a bit thin as the dhoklas tend to absorb liquid.

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Preparation time- 10 min

Cooking time- 45 min

Yield- 4 people


Chana dal / Bengal Gram – 1 cup soaked overnight

Ginger – 1”

Tomato- 3

Green chili- 4

Eno – 1 sachet

Salt- as per taste

Turmeric powder- 1 tsp

Panch phoron – ½ tsp

Mustard oil- 1 tbsp

Bay leaf-1

Soybean oil- for frying

Dried red chili- 2

Sugar- ½ tsp

Water- 2 cups


Grind the soaked Chana dal with half ginger and green chili. Make a smooth batter but not loose batter. Grease the steamed tin and pour the batter. Add salt, turmeric and ENO. Mix quickly and place it in the steamer. Cover and steam for 20-25 minutes. Remove from steamer and keep aside. Invert it onto a flat tray and cut small square pieces. Be careful as they are not only hot but also can break very easily. Heat the oil in a pan and fry them carefully lifting and rotating using a tong. Fry till crisp light brown and place them on kitchen towel so get rid of excess oil. Grind tomato, ginger and green chili to a smooth paste. In a separate pan heat mustard oil, add panch phoron, sugar, bay leaf, dried red chili, sauté and then add turmeric powder, mix and then add the pureed tomato paste. Sauté and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add water, salt and let it simmer for 7 minutes. Add the fried dhokar’s to the gravy and cover it. Cook for 2-3 minutes and it’s done.

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4 thoughts on “Dhokar Dalna – A Savory Bengali dish

  1. Sid - The Wanderer June 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm Reply

    looks so yum!


  2. Alok Vats July 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm Reply

    Wow, looks so good. Most part of my life was spent in West Bengal only, but still I am unable to recognize this. I am sure it must be a popular dish of mid Bengal, as I stayed in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri district of Bengal for around 17 years of my life and in Kolkata as well for around 3-4 years, but then still I am unable to identify which dish is it.

    But, no need to worry, we will try preparing them once in our home and hope we will be able to recognize them 🙂 Thanks for sharing it.


    • richa0112 July 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm Reply

      This is a staple Niramish dish which means no onion and Garlic, hence this is not much of a restaurant/ dhaba delicacy and not frequently prepared in a non vegetarian household. Also this dish is prepared in two different modes, my in laws make it dhokla style, and many other make it by sauteing the batter and then deep frying it. Great, do try, u’ll surely enjoy it.


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