For this month’s Indian Cooking ChallengeValli chose a delicious Bengali savory dish. I have tried quite a few Bengali dishes already, but luckily I didn’t make this dish earlier. This is a spicy curry with lentil cakes in it.
This dish is a little similar to the besan chikki that my MIL makes. But the difference is that my MIL uses chickpea flour or besan instead of ground chana dal that is used in this Bengali dish. Both the dishes have cooked lentil cakes cooked in spicy gravy.
I followed Sandeepa’s recipe to the T. From what I have read, the gravy is quite customizable and there are quite a few variations on the web. I stuck to Sandeepa’s recipe that had no-onion and no-garlic, it still tasted amazing.
Soft and nutty lentil cakes in spicy and tangy sauce served with steamed rice, it tasted amazing. I totally loved this dish.
Make the Lentil Cake: Soak chana dal overnight. Then grind along with green chilies, ginger and salt. Use only a little water for grinding.
Heat 2tsp oil in a non-stick pan, add cumin seeds and hing. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the ground chana dal and cook on medium-low flame stirring continuously. Cook until the mixture looks cooked and doesn't smell raw anymore. Remove the mixture onto a greased plate and pat it down into a smooth disc.
Let cool and cut the cooled cake into squares or diamonds.
Heat 2tbsp oil in a saute pan, fry the lentil cakes until golden and firm on both sides. Set aside.
Prep the Potatoes: Microwave the potatoes until tender, about 3~4 minutes. In the same saute pan used to crisp up lentil cakes, heat 1~2tbsp oil and fry the boiled potatoes until golden brown. Set aside.
Make the Gravy: Heat 2tbsp oil in the same saute pan, add bay leaf and grated ginger; cook for 1 minute. Next add the chopped tomato and cook until tomatoes are mushy.
Take yogurt in a small bowl and add ground cumin, coriander and red chili powder, whisk well.
Add this mixture to the tomatoes and mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
Next add the potatoes, mix well to coat the pieces with the tomato gravy. Add 1~2 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer and cook for 4~5 minutes.
Finally add the lentil cakes and cook for 2 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Serve with steamed rice.
My lentil cakes absorbed all of the moisture from the gravy and the curry turned out a little dry. Next time, I will probably add more water or add the lentil cakes just before serving.