Dhokar Dalna

Dhokar Dalna is a vegetarian main dish in Bengali cuisine, which is mostly prepared during auspicious days when we Bengali eat a purely vegetarian meal, we do not add onion and garlic. Like many other Bengali vegetarian recipes in this recipe also one cannot miss the absence of onion and garlic. 

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Makes: 6-8 pieces
Prep time: 10 minutes + Overnight for soaking the daal
Cook time: 15 minutes


To make Dhoka (Lentil Cake),

  • ½ cup Chana Dal soaked overnight into water
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 coins (10 gm) ginger
  • ½ tbsp. Oil
  • Salt and Sugar to taste

Tempering for Dhoka:

  • ⅛ tsp of Onion seeds
  • ¼ tsp Cumin seeds
  • 4-5 pinches of Hing(Asafoetida)

For curry:

  • 2 Potatoes cut into cube
  • ¼ cup chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp  hot red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Ginger paste
  • ¼ tsp Sugar
  • Salt to taste

Tempering for Curry:

  • 2 small leaves or 1 big Bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp Cumin seeds
  • ⅛ tsp of Asafoetida


This recipe has two steps:

  1. Make Dhoka or Lentil cakes
  2. Prepare gravy

First step: make Dhoka or Lentil cakes.

  1. Wash and rinse the lentil for 2-3 times, then soak into the water for overnight.
  2. Rinse the lentil again, then transfer it into a blending jar, add ginger, green chilli and little bit water, blend everything together to make a thick paste.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy duty pan or in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add all tempering for Dhoka, give a stir and wait for few seconds to release flavour from whole spices.
  4. Add the lentil paste to it, over medium low heat cook for 1-2 minutes to evaporate the moisture and make thick dough.
  5. Transfer the mixture on a greased plate, let it cool and cut into diamond or square shapes.
  6. Heat some oil in a pot for deep frying, add 3-4 Dhoka at a time and over medium heat fry them until they develop a golden brown colour. Then with a slotted spoon remove from oil. Like this way keep working on the rest. (Refer the note below how do you prep ahead for your party)

Second step: make curry

  1. Place potatoes on a plate in a single layer and put it into the microwave for 2-3 minutes to tender the potatoes. Let them cool.
  2. In a bowl add cumin powder, turmeric, both type of chilli powder, a little bit of water and make a paste.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven, add potatoes, sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder and over medium heat fry them for 2 minutes, when they develop a golden colour, remove from oil.
  4. Add tempering for curry in the rest of the oil, stir for few seconds and then add chopped tomatoes, when tomatoes are softened add ginger paste, spice paste, salt and sugar.
  5. Add about ¼ cup of water and over medium heat cook the mixture until oil is releasing from the mixture.
  6. Add fried potatoes and give a gentle stir to mix the spice mixture to all side of potatoes.
  7. Add water, give a stir to mix everything well and let it come to a rolling boil. (Refer the note below how do you prep ahead for your party)
  8. Add Dhoka pieces to the gravy, reduce the temperature, cover with the lid and let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes so that Dhoka pieces can absorb some gravy and gravy become a little bit thick.
  9. If you wish you can add about a tsp of ghee and sprinkle some Sahi Garam masala on the top. Turn off the heat; give 10 minutes standing time before serve.

Enjoy Dhokar Dalna with steamed Basmati rice or your favourite Pulao.



 If you are making for a party, you can make Dhoka and its gravy separately one day before.

a) After frying Dhoka (Step# 6), when it's cool, keep in a zip lock bag. You can keep this in room temperature (on your kitchen counter) and you don’t need to keep in the refrigerator.

b) Make the gravy beforehand but don’t add Dhoka in the gravy. After preparing gravy (Step # 13) let it simmer for 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat. When it's cool, transfer in a bowl and keeps in the refrigerator.

c) At the day of your party, 10 minutes before serving the meal, reheat the gravy in a Dutch oven on the stove, add some warm water and let it come to a rolling boil then add Dhoka pieces one by one into the gravy and follow Step # 14 and Step # 15.

Recipe by: Shyamali Sinha