Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dhokar Dalna in a province called Salmanistan

Do you have Sunday lunch tradition?

I’m on my way to create one. A tradition of lunch with movie. Albeit, not the healthiest way for a family to bond , but definitely the laziest way to keep warm and cozy inside in theatre or home, while having some fun.
In any case, today’s idea was a winner -movie was not.

Watching ‘Dabang 2’ post having my Dalna aar Bhaat  The movie was nothing new, it was a full on entertainment package with the familiar music and style and same old stars of the Dabang fame. It didn't tell me what I really didn't know, but together this particular movie in the so called province of Salmanistan rocks. The only part I didn't like was when Salman's shirt is torn off by the younger looking hunk instead of being lashed off by the winds of righteousness as in Dabang par 1. I felt sorry- this is so not so cool Salman

Now that I have spoken at length about my tradition#1, let me quickly zip off to tradition #2. My lunch of Dhokar  Dalna.

Dhokar Dalna is to Bengal as Dal-Bati is to a Rajasthan or Dal Dhokli is to Gujrat. The glorious Dalna is every Bengali cook’s modest answer to menus overloaded with non-vegetarian options.

Bongs like me will insist on a culinary history of this skillful dish , but as the story goes(and I can be totally wrong) ,this dish is a borrowed idea from the ever popular Dhokhla  of Gujrat , in which we Bengalis traded some Besan with its birthing mother Cholar Dal, and added the ubiquitous Bengali spices, topped it with slit green chillies, and a dollop of ghee, concocting the frugal yet filling dish now known as Dhokar Dalna.

It's still an unknown fact of who first created this dish, the fact remains that the Dhokar Dalna is a central part of Bengal’s culinary history. And it tastes great, with or without Salman Khan. 

Dhokar Dalna

1 cup Cholar dal (chana dal/Bengal gram)
1 Tomato
1 tsp Grated ginger
2 Green chillies

1+1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Cumin seed powder
Pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp ghee
2-3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Wash and soak the lentils in water overnight or minimum for six hours. Drain water and grind the soaked lentil in a mixer till its of a smooth paste consistency.

Heat one tsp. oil in pan and season it with cumin seeds, asafetida, ginger paste, turmeric powder and salt. Pour the lentil paste and cook till the lentil paste has all the spices well infused, but its not completely dry.

Pour the mixture in a well-oiled deep dish and spread it evenly. I use my hands to press and set it all in. once cooled cut it to pieces. Usually it’s the diamond shape.

Now you can take the pieces and fry. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Then heat the rest of remaining oil in a deep bottomed pan and temper it with the 1/2 tsp cumin seeds. Once well fried add the tomato, ginger and green chilies, they all should be in a pureed form. Cook in low heat for 5 minutes.

Now add a cup of water and salt , along with the fried Dhokas and bring it all to boil. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Check water. It should be thick but not completely dry.

Remove heat. Add the Ghee and Garam Masala before serving.

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