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Dhokar Dalna


"I stay in California now, but I grew up in Kolkata in West Bengal," Sruti Das writes. Ever since we read that chana dal (we call it chholaar dal in Bengali) is good for diabetic people, we have been eating more of it. I saw that you have many recipes with this dal on your website and I want to share another one that you might find interesting.

"You will already find many recipes for Dhokar Dalna on the Internet, but here is how we make this at home. I have added a microwave version as well as a traditional version of the recipe."


2 cups chana dal
1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 large onion grated
1 tomato
3/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
olive oil


1. Soak the chana dal and grind it in a food processor with a little water. The consistency should be thick and not runny.
2. Add 1/2 tsp ginger paste, 1/2 cup chopped coriander, lemon juice, salt to the ground dal.
3. Rub a little olive oil on a microwave dish to make it non-sticky.
4. Spread this mixture flat (about 1 inch high) on the microwave dish and microwave for 5-7 minutes (depending on how runny the dal is) until the mixture is dry and comes out of the dish clean.
5. Cut the dal into small cubes about 1 inch square. These cubes themselves are very tasty by themselves. They can be added to any salad as well. The traditional recipe adds these dal cubes to the gravy (below).
I like to use the microwave to prepare the chana dal cubes because of convenience and also because it needs less oil. The traditional recipe to prepare the cubes is as follows (replace steps 3 and 4 with the steps below):

1. Heat oil in a pan and when it becomes a little hot add the ground dal mixture and keep stirring till the mixture becomes dry. It does have a tendency to stick to the bottom and sides of the pan, so it is necessary to keep stirring continuously.
2. When the mixture is dry, allow to cool and press it down to 1 inch high on a large plate and cut into 1 inch cubes.
3. Heat oil in a pan and lightly fry the dal cubes turning them over so that all the sides are evenly fried.


1. Heat oil in a pan and add a bay leaf. I also sometimes add chopped green chillies, but that is optional.
2. Add a little grated ginger.
3. Add grated onions and fry till the onions are golden brown.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt to taste.
5. Add some water (about two cups). Once it starts boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add the chana dal cubes and cook an additional two minutes.
7. Garnish with a little lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.


Contributed by Sruti Das via email.

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Last modified: October 29, 2009

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