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A signature vegetarian dish from West Bengal, Dhokar Dalna is a lentil cake made from chana dal, and then simmered in a thick tomato-onion-based gravy. Dhokar Dalna is one of the few lesser-known dishes in Bengali cuisine. You may not have heard or eaten it unless you have grown up in a Bengali household. 

The dish is usually made during a family gathering or other occasions where only vegetarian food is to be served. Dhokar Dalna comes from the word ‘dhoka,’ which means illusion, the chana dal cake used in the dish creates an illusion of meat but is actually a vegetarian dish.

Did you know? 

Dhokar Dalna was made by widows in Bengal who were forbidden from eating any kind of non-vegetarian food. They started to create their own unique cuisine, which emulated the non-vegetarian dishes using only vegetarian or plant-based ingredients. One such experiment to bring the effect of meat in a dish using chana dal or cholar dal led to the invention of Dhokar Dalna. 

Preparation time of Dhokar Dalna: 25 minutes 

Ingredients needed for Dhokar Dalna

  • Mustard oil
  • Black cumin seeds
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Gram dal paste
  • Whole garam masala
  • Onions (finely chopped)
  • Tomato puree
  • Turmeric powder
  • red chilli powder
  • garam masala powder
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped)

Method for making Dhokar Dalna

  • Heat 30 ml mustard oil in a frying pan. Add black cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, gram dal paste, hing (asafoetida), and salt (as per taste), fry the ingredients until the gram paste becomes dry.
  • Brush some mustard oil in a fresh plate, and lay out the paste with hands in a square-shaped cake, and let it set.
  • Once the paste is cooled, cut it into diamond shapes of desired size, and deep fry it until it turns golden brown and crisps up. Keep it aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat 30ml mustard oil and temple whole garam masala with onions. Once the onions turn brown, add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, tomato puree (200g). Let the ingredients cook for a few minutes, and add salt.
  • Pour about 200-250 ml water to loosen the onion and tomato puree paste, mix well, and add the deep fried gram paste cubes.
  • Let it cook in the gravy for 5-6 minutes. Add garam masala powder.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve the delicious vegetarian meat, aka, Dhokar Dalna.

About Dhokar Dalna

Traditionally, Dhokar Dalna is considered a satvik food, and it is made without onions or garlic. Over the years, the dish has evolved significantly, and modern recipes use onions and garlic. Also, if you are health conscious, instead of deep frying the lentil cake, you can bake them or air fry them. It is a wonderful vegetarian preparation that is healthy and gives you the feeling of eating a meat dish without the meat. 

Gourmet Getaways by Club Mahindra

At Club Mahindra resorts, we strive to serve our patrons the best of the local cuisine. The chefs at the restaurants in our resorts bring with them years of experience and expertise. They have a deep understanding of flavour profiles, and every dish they create is high on flavour, and taste.

Our chefs also source the best local ingredients and use the best culinary techniques to make our guests' every meal unforgettable! While holidaying at the Club Mahindra resorts, you can enjoy a range of local delicacies like Dhokar Dalna and other Indian and international dishes.

About Club Mahindra Chef – Debraj Bhaumik

Trained in many international cuisines like Italian, Mexican, and Lebanese, and having worked in the middle east under eminent chefs of the world, Chef Debraj Bhaumik is a culinary master. With over 26 years of experience, Chef Bhaumik has won many coveted awards, including the National Award – Chef of the Year in 2007.

Currently the Cluster Executive Chef at Club Mahindra Tamil Nadu and Karnataka resorts, Chef Bhaumik has an undying passion for Indian cuisine. He has done extensive research on the different regional cuisines in India. He has been using all his knowledge, skills, and techniques to curate the best menu for the patrons at Club Mahindra resorts.

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