Wash and soak chana dal overnight. Discard water and wash the dal again with fresh water and collect in a mixer grinder jar.
Add cumin seeds, chopped green chilies and ginger in the jar and grind to make a fine paste.
Grease a medium size thali and keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non stick pan and temper it with asafoetida.
Immediately add the chana dal mix and start stirring continuously till the dal leave the sides and collect to form a lump.
Transfer the cooked dal mix on the greased thali and gently tap to spread. You can grease your palm or a bottom of a flat bowl and tap the mix evenly from all sides so that it spreads equally. Tuck the corners well and place the thali in a steamer and steam the lentil cake. This might take 10-15 mins or more. Keep checking by inserting a tooth pick in the center till it comes out clean.
Transfer the thali on a wire rack and allow it to cool.
Once the lentil cake is cool, cut into square or diamond shape and keep aside.
Now heat oil in a wok or a pan and gently slide the lentil cake pieces in batches and fry from both sides till golden.
Collect the fried pieces on a kitchen towel to soak excess oil.
How to make curry :
In the same oil fry potato cubes till golden in color and collect them aside.
Now temper the oil with some cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon stick.
Add ginger paste and green chilies and fry till raw smell goes off.
Now add in the tomato puree and fry till oil starts leaving the sides.
Meanwhile in a bowl mix curd with coriander powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder and turmeric powder (optional).
Add the curd mix in the wok and stir nicely. Cook for 5-6 mins in low flames. You can adjust oil from sides if required.
Now add fried potatoes and mix well. Adjust salt as needed and slowly add water to make curry.
Let the curry come to a boil and then simmer the flames and cook for another 5 mins till potatoes are tender.
Gently add the fried dhokar/ lentil cake pieces into the curry, sprinkle sugar and turn of the gas.
You can garnish the curry with some freshly chopped coriander and serve with luchi or hot rice.
If you liked this traditional No Onion-Garlic recipe from Bengal, then try making at home and send us your feedback in comments below.