Follow by Email

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dhokaar Dalna..... made faster for today's woman

When my Grandmother was active, and of course, undoubtedly,the in-charge of kitchen, Dhokar Dalna, Chhanaar dalna(Please note it was not Paneer, those days, enchorer dalna or mochaar ghanto etc etc were part of the regular veg. (niramish) menu planner.

Even though we drool over the names of the above dishes, the effort and pain behind those dishes have made them very special, part of a traditional meal cooked with love and care.

But, life is always about 'customisation', and 'improvisation'. For today's generation of homemakers, there are many many solutions to realisation of gluttonic dreams of a true Bong family, living away from Kolkata.

Thanks to the enterpreneural skills of spice Giants in Kolkata, we have the liberty of deciding to have Dhokaar Dalna for dinner at 8pm after a nasty frustrating day in office. Among many known and unknown packets and brands available in Kolkata, one is available in my Supermarket in Gurgaon as well.

This is a staple in my pantry, for one of those home-sick evenings. So, familiar sight of this pink pack is a must in my pantry.

This week, on one of those weeknights, I did not have anything to put on dinner plate than Dhokaar Dalna with Roti. The outcome was soul food, spiked with nostalgia.


Dhoka Mix... 1 packet
Warm per instruction

Potato cubed: 1 large

Jeera (sabut) : 1 tsp
Tejpatta : 1 or 2
Garam Masala(sabut): Clove, Cinnamon, Green Cardamom: 2 each
Jeera Powder : 2 tsp
Haldi Powder : 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp(to taste)

Mustard Oil


Soak the Dhoka powder in warm water as per instructions.Heat 2 teaspoon of oil in a wok. When heated, pour the mixture. Stir continuously till it forms a lump, and separates from the sides of the wok. Grease a steel thaali lightly and pour the lump while it is still hot. Pat lightly to form an even square. Cut it into cubes, and let it cool. Shallow fry the dhoka cubes till brown.

In the same oil, lightly fry the potato cubes, and keep aside. Mix all spice powders into a paste.

Add sabut garam masala and jeera(sabut)and tejpatta to the oil.Reduce flame.Add the spice paste, and stir continuously. Add salt and sugar to taste. When spices start leaving the edge of the wok, add water and put the wok on high flame.Let the gravy boil and add the potatoes.Cover, and reduce flame. Let it boil till the potatoes get cooked and the gravy thickens. Add the dhokaa pieces. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

When done, add chopped coriander before serving. Tastes equally heavenly with roti, paratha or steamed rice.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter is finally going to be over

I am ashamed. I am guilty of not touching on my blog for months. My daily interaction with internet got badly truncated to surfing, emails, chats, and work and work. But, never mind, as the saying goes, Better late than Never.... so here I am at my confession box.

All the above were just because of my technical incompetence and laziness.With a job switch, I changed my laptop. So all my old stock of photographs etc took six long months and a trip to Ranthambhor, to get transferred to the new laptop.

But finally I am done, ready to get going.

This year, the winter was very different in Delhi NCR. It did not touch the magic numbers of 0 or 1 degrees, but tormented everyone with a prolonged presence and a very low maximum temperature.

Every morning, as we wake up, a curtain of white fog waits outside the glass window panes. On one of the clearer days, I managed to click the next apartment complex as in this photo.

Good news now... as winter finally seems ready to bid a good bye for this year. So, its time to shake my limbs, and start thinking of a way to celebrate. What can be a better way to celebrate than with a steaming bowl of Veg Clear soup. It is good for dieters, non-dieters, soup lovers,....everybody.

Veg Clear Diet Soup


Green cabbage 50 gms, chopped fine
Cauliflower 50 gms, florets separated
Broccoli 50 gms, florets separated
Spinach 50 gms, chopped
Tomato 2 large, chopped
Capsicum 1 large, deseeded, and chopped
Onion 1 large, sliced fine
Spring Onions 1 bunch, chopped

Garlic 1 large pod, crushed and chopped fine
Ginger 1 inch, chopped fine
Green chillies 1 or 2 chopped fine

olive oil(optional) 1 tsp


1. In a thick bottomed pressure cooker, add olive oil. When heated, simmer the flame and add chopped garlic, ginger and stir continuously.

2. When it starts changing colour, add onions. Keep stirring.

3. As the onion becomes translucent, add all the vegetables and stir well to mix with the oil, ginger, garlic and onions.

4. Add salt (OR LoNa), crushed black pepper, and 1500 ml of water.

5. Close pressure cooker lid and allow it to boil upto 1 whistle.(You can boil it as per taste)

6. Simmer and allow it to cook for another ten minutes.

7. Before serving, add 1 tsp of olive oil(optional), white vinegar, green chillies, and green coriander chopped.

I enjoyed this wholesome soup for dinner. You can augment it with plain or garlic toast.

It serves thus dual purpose... it is satisfying to my taste buds and takes care of my need to spring back to an effective but satisfying diet.