BENGALI Dhokar Dalna

Bengali cuisine is well-known for the vast range of rice dishes and various preparations of fresh water fish. Bengali cuisine is rich and varied with the use of many specialized spices and flavours.
“Dhoka” in Bengali or Hindi actually means a sham, an act of cheating someone. When it comes to food however the word “Dhoka” in Bengali is similar to “Dhokla” in Gujarati. Whatever the origin may be, they both have the same meaning "to fool someone" as the final preparation almost gives a meaty juicy flavor. Dhokar Dalna is a part of traditional Bengali cuisine and also one of the recipe that I have learnt from my Mother in law. Dhokas are the refried chana dal patties and Dalna can be dry or have a stew like consistency and is made from with or without onions, tomato or coconuts.

  • 200 gms Chana Dal / Cholar dal
  • 1 big Potato, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped {Optional : In the original recipe, onions are not added.}
  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp Curd
  • 1 tbsp Ginger paste
  • 4-5 Green chilies
  • Garam masala(1-2 Bay leaves, Cinamon, Cardomoms & Cloves )
  • 1tbsp Ghee
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt to taste.
  1. Wash and soak chana dal overnight.
  2. Grind chana dal with little ginger, salt & green chili.
  3. Heat oil in a pan & add chana dal paste. Fry till moisture dries off. Spread the mixture in a greased plate and leave uncovered for 10 minutes. Cut in diamond shapes & fry in deep oil till golden brown and keep aside.

  1. Fry potato till brown and keep them aside.
  2. In the same oil add the garam masala, chopped onions, green chilis, ginger paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander-cumin powder, salt & curd. Fry till leaves oil. Add water, fried potato & boil.
  3. Add already fried dhoklas & cook for 2 minutes. Add ghee & garam masala.
Good chefs always taste their Recipe.....Go Ahead....And say Wow.

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  1. Thanks for this recipe. I am copying what you have made with changes of course to suit our tastes. I will be posting it on my space. I you do not mind.
    I am guest hosting Healthy Salads till the 31st May ‘2013. Do send me your entries

  2. Thanks to your recipe I made lovely dhokar. Posting it today at my site. Please check it out when you have the time.
    I am guest hosting Healthy Salads till the 11th June ‘2013. Do send me your entries

  3. Scrumptious dhokar dalna. Haven't had it for a while.

    I did a round up of recipes for the Bengali new year and included this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Anshu, This is a great recipe and I loved it. I've tried a slight variation of your recipe and it made a huge difference. Before you fry the ground chana dal, add some hing powder and mix before making the cubes and frying. Also, I added some chopped tomatoes while frying the other spices.

  5. Hi.. just a note that the name Dhokar Dalna comes from the fact that this dish when cooked properly tastes amazing like meat (or mutton in earlier days which was a royal delicacy) but instead would be prepared from Chana dal, hence dhoka or sham as you called it. The name has nothing to do with the Gujrati dish Dhokla which is also prepared from Besan or ground Chana Dal.

  6. Hi Just wanted to add a note that the Bengali name is not derived from the Gujrati dish Dhokla although both are prepared using ground chana dal. The Bengali name Dhokha as you mentioned means to fake or sham and Dalna is a spicy curry. When cooked properly, it was comparable to mutton curry or meat (which used to be a special delicacy) but instead will be prepared using Chana dal. Hence, fooling the guests with a simple recipe which would taste amazing!

  7. Today I will try this.. I m bengali but never tried this..

  8. @Antara Das
    I learned this dish from my mother-in-law. She even told me the history behind this word - to fool someone, and "someone" here refers to "vegetarians"
    Now lets come to the word "Dhokla", a Gujarati word, nothing to do with Bengali dhokar, but THE MEANING is the SAME - to cheat vegetarians.
    Now let's talk about the origin. I am not questioning your knowledge, but according to my research, there is another similar word with the same meaning -
    "Dukkia" which is first mentioned in AD 1068 in Gujarati Jain literature, and dhokla appears in AD 1520 in the Varanaka Samuchaya.
    I am not a Gujarati, nor a Bengali. I love to cook and eat. Since I maintain a blog and gives a little info about the recipe I'm posting, so this is completely my version of saying that dhokar in Bengal is similar to dhokla in Gujarat.


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