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Dhokar Dalna ~ Bengali Lentil Cake Curry

Deep fried lentil cakes simmered in a rich gravy of cashew-raisin paste, coconut milk, potato and seasoned with ginger and garam masala

South Vs North Challenge, started by Divya Pramil of You Too Can Cook, is a great platform to learn authentic and traditional recipes from different cuisines. Each month a member from South team challenges the North team with an South Indian recipe and a member from North team challenges the South team with a North Indian recipe. For this month's SNC Nabanita of Esho-Bosho-Aahare has challenged the Southern team with a authentic Bengal dish called Dhokar Dalna.

Dhokar Dalna is a traditional Bengal satvik dish with no onion or garlic. Deep fried lentil cakes are simmered in a rich gravy of coconut milk, cashew-raisin paste with tomato & potato and seasoned with ginger, cumin and garam masala.

Though dhoka actually means 'to cheat', here the dhokas are the fried lentil cakes. The lentil cakes itself were so delicious that you can have them as a snack. Dalna means 'curry' which is made of cashew-raisin paste, coconut milk, tomato, potato and aromatic spices. This curry is best enjoyed with steamed rice.


For the lentil cake:

Chana dal - 2 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Green chilly - 2, chopped
Nigella / Onion seeds - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp + deep frying

For the curry:

Potato - 2 medium, cut into cubes
Tomato - 1 big, chopped
Green chilly - 2, slit lengthwise
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing - 1/2 tsp
Cumin / Jeera - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 2
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Coconut milk - 2 cup
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts - 2 tbsp
Raisin - 2 tbsp
Oil - 5 tbsp
Salt - to taste


To make lentil cake:

1. Wash and soak the chana dal for 4 hours. Drain and grind to a coarse paste.

2. To the dal add coconut, green chillies, ginger paste, nigella seeds, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.

3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan/kadai and add asafoetida. Then add the dal mixture and stir until the batter comes together and starts leaving the sides of the pan.

4. Grease a plate with oil and transfer the dough to the plate. Flatten the dough evenly and set aside to cool. Once the dough has cooled, cut them into square or diamond shapes.

5. Heat oil for deep frying the lentil cake. Deep fry the lentil cakes gently until light golden brown in color. Keep aside.

To make the curry:

1. Soak the cashew and raisins in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.

2. Shallow fry the potatoes with little turmeric powder and salt until golden color. Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add bay leaf, cumin and asafoetida. Then add green chillies and ginger paste and fry for few seconds.

4. Add the tomatoes and saute for 1-2 minutes. Then add turmeric powder, cumin powder, red chilly powder, garam masala, salt and fry till oil comes out.

5. Then add coconut, cashew-raisin paste, fried potatoes and coconut milk. Bring to boil. Simmer the gravy till it becomes little thick.

6. Finally add the fried lentil cakes and remove from heat.

Serve hot with rice.

Tips & Notes:

1. Do not add all the lentil cakes to the curry as it will soak up all the gravy. Keep the lentil cake and curry separately and add the dhoka to the curry while serving.

2. Do not add more than 1 tbsp oil to fry the dal mixture. More oil can make it crumble.

3. After cutting the dough into  squares, seal all sides and edges. This is to avoid crumbling while frying.

4. While deep frying the cake, do as gently as possible. Do not stir the cake immediately after adding to oil as it may crumble.

5. Original recipe calls for 1½ cup chana dal and 1/2 cup matar dal. Since I didn't have matar dal, I used 2 cups chana dal.

6. Coconut milk should of medium thick consistency.


  1. Looks yummy...should try sometime

  2. Delicious curry nice know authentic version.

  3. Have been seeing this around the blogs, once i tot lets make a try but the process seems too long to consume my energy in this humidity

  4. wow.. nice.. u have made it perfect..:)

  5. Looks so yummy... but I doubt I'l be able 2 make it this challenge... :(

  6. Wow u made perfectly.. Dhokar dalna looks just delicious... hope u enjoyed a lot...

  7. There's so much of flavors going inside and its all came together for a fabulous outcome.

  8. Very nice presentation.. Looks delicious and tempting Sona :-)

  9. something new to with rich flavours

  10. Oh my...this sounds so delicious and my mouth is watering just by reading the descriptions. :P Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to see what the next challenge would be. What a fun event.

  11. Exactly made dhokar dalna, too delicious.

    today's post:

  12. very very nice!! Very well made :)

  13. Looks great dear.

  14. Love the flavors going inside the curry, very delicious and nicely presented.

  15. Picture makes me feel hungry...

  16. Nice presentation and looks yumm :)

  17. This is something new, looks very delicious and flavorsome.

  18. Whoa, this looks amazing and of course very healthy!!


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