Thursday, April 18, 2013

Traditional fares - Dhokaar Dalna ( Chana dal cakes in a veg gravy)

I just realised the other day that there are so many things I have eaten as a kid/adult..liked it ...disliked it but never really understood the hassle that the person cooking it would have taken to present something traditionally so unique. This realisation struck me when day before yesterday a popular food group on FB put up a challenge to make something unique and traditional with chana dal! And I thought to myself that "oh that's gonna be easy peasy ...Dhokaar dalna is what I will make,,,after all I have eaten it umpteen times.." But when I actually got down to making it I realised that it definitely required expertise. Only after a few frantic phone calls to Maa I had a definite picture as to how to go about making it.


For the Dhoka ( chana dal cakes)

Chana dal - 1 cup ( soaked overnight in water)

Salt - to taste

Turmeric - 1 tsp

Refined oil - 2 tbsp

For the gravy:

Since the Navratri season is on I decided to go with the vegetarian version of the gravy.

Bay leaf - 2 nos

Ginger paste - 2 tsp

Cumin paste - 2 tsp ( cumin paste or jeera bata as we bengalis refer it to is simple cumin seeds grounded into a fine paste with a little water)

Tomatoes - 1 med chopped

Turmeric - 1 tsp

Red chili powder - 1 tsp

Sugar - 1tsp

Raisins - 10-12 nos

Garam masala - 1 tsp ( just roughly grind together 2 elaichi , a small stick of cinammon and few cloves)

Ghee - 1 tbsp - for garnish

Green chillies - for garnish

Salt - to taste


For the cakes:

Grind the soaked chana dal in a grinder with very little water.

In a non stick pan add 1 tsp refined oil, add the chana dal mixture , salt and turmeric and roast till it turns into a lump.

Take it off fire, spread it into a plate and let it cool for a while.

Once the mixture has set, cut into small cubes or diamond shape whatever is easier.

In another non stick pan , add 2 tbsp oil and fry these chana dal cakes till light brown in colour.

Once done keep them aside and prepare the gravy.

For the gravy:

In a pan heat oil , add the bay leaves . Next tip in the ginger paste, cumin paste and the tomatoes. Fry for 2-3 mins till they turn light brown.

Next add in the dry spices - turmeric, red chili powder,sugar and salt.

Fry for a while and add a little water.

Let the spices fry well by adding water a couple of times.

Add the raisins  and a cup of water and let the gravy simmer for 5 mins.

Next very gently add the chana dal cakes into the gravy. Add the garam masala, ghee and the green chillies and remove from heat.

Serve hot with rice. Enjoy.


  1. I have tried once but was not perfect...urs came out so nice...tempting me to try again.....

  2. Thank you Kamalika ....this was my first time !