This is another Bengali delicacy prepared from a rejected part of banana plant. This is popular among Bangal household , Bengalis who have migrated from East Bengal after partition of India.
As I have said that Banana plant is considered as an auspicious plant and used in many religious rituals in India specially in Eastern & Southern sector. Lip smacking dishes are prepared out of each part of this plant. Banana is eaten ripe or raw, exotic dishes are prepared with Banana flower, the pith, stem of this plant is also eaten as vegetable. Even the raw banana peel is also cooked and eaten. Large Banana leaves are used as disposable plates. Traditionally, meals were preferred eaten in banana leaf. Mocha Ghonto is common preparation out of Banana flower.I have posted mocha paturi out this banana flower. It is cooked wrapped in banana leaves.
Today I cooked Mochar Dhoka, a Sunday Special. It is Banana floret cakes prepared on steam and then cooked as curry, best paired with rice or roti.
For chopping technique of banana florets, follow my bog under Cheats & tricks.(click here)
Ingredients for cake:
- Chopped Banana flowers- 1 cup (refer cleaning & chopping technique Click here)
- Salt- ½ tspn
- Turmeric powder- ½ tspn
- Chana Dal(Bengal gram) soaked in water- ½ cup
- Fresh coconut scrape- ½ cup
- Chopped green chili- 1 tblspn
- Chopped ginger- 1 tspn
- Bengali garam/Bhaja Moshola– 1 tblspn
- Enough oil for deep frying the steamed cake
- Water- 1 cup
- Salt to taste
- Sugar ½ tspn(Optional)
Ingredients for curry:
- Cumin seeds – 1 tspn
- Bay leaf- 1
- Whole green cardamom- 3-4
- Cinnamon stick – 1 2”
- Cloves – 4
- Asafoetida – ½ tspn
- Whole dry red chili- 1
- Cumin powder – 1 ½ tspn
- Coriander powder- 1 tspn
- Kashmiri Red chili powder – 1 tspn
- Turmeric powder- 1 ½ tspn
- Ginger paste- 1 tspn
- Green Chilis- 3-4
- Fresh tomato pureed- 2 tblspn
- Sugar- ½ tspn
- Oil 2 tblspn
- Desi ghee (Clarified butter)- 1 tblspn
Put the chopped florets in pressure cooker. Add water and ½ tspn salt and ½ tspn of turmeric powder. Pressure cook it for 5-7 mins. (three whistles)
Cool and strain all water. Squeeze further to make it drier.
When florets are cooking, grind the soaked chana dal alongwith chopped green chili, ginger, ½ tspn salt, to a fine paste. Try to grind it without or minimum water.
Take a bowl. Add squeezed banana florets, grinded chana dal mix, scrapped coconut, remaining salt, bhaja moshola.
Use your fingers to mix everything nicely. Check the seasoning and add accordingly.
Brush little ghee in a steel flat based bowl or roti box.
Spread the floret mix evenly in this bowl. Cover it and place it in steamer. It takes long time to bind the ingredients and steam. Approx ½ an hr. Keep checking the water in the bottom pan.
If you do not have a steamer, take big wok or a pan. Pour 1 glass of water and place the roti box over the water. The box should be 1/4th submerged in water. Put a lid on the pan and cook over medium flame for ½ an hr. Check water, if it dries up then add more and continue steaming.
Give it a standing time to cool. Open the box and cool it completely. Check with knife if it is set.
Cut it in Burfi shape or square whichever way you like. These are called dhoka.
Now for taking out the pieces there is a technique. Keep a plate over the box and do upside down and gently tap at the back of the box. The dhokas will fall on the plate. See in the picture. Your steamed dhokas are ready. Now its time to fry it.
Take a pan and pour half cup oil. Heat the oil till smoke. Then reduce the flame to minimum. Fry the Dhoka pieces in batches. Give enough time for frying one side and then flip it gently to fry the other side also till light brown.
(This can be eaten as snack also. For snacking it should be fried till golden brown and serve with your favourite chutney. It’s a good tea time snack)
Same pan with residue oil could be used for preparing the curry. Check the oil quantity, it should be at least 3 tablespoons. Add Bay leaf, whole green cardamom, cinnamon stick Heeng and clove. Fry them to brown and oil be aromatic.
Add cumin seeds and whole red chili.
In a small bowl mix all the dry masala powder like, cumin, coriander, turmeric red chili and ginger paste. Pour little water and make a thick paste. Make this paste in advance.
Pour this paste in oil and fry for 2 mins.
Add pureed tomato, green chili, salt and sugar. Fry till oil separates.
Pour water and bring to boil. Cook it covered for 3 mins. Check the salt level. Mind it the dhoka cakes are also salted.
Reduce the stove flame to medium and add the fried dhoka cake pieces gently in the curry. The curry will start boiling and cook the dhokas without lid in curry for another 3-4 mins. The consistency should be thick. However, it tastes good even the curry is light and flowing consistency. Its your choice. The Mochar Dhokar Dalna is ready to serve.
Transfer it to a serving bowl. Garnish with green chili and sprinkle bhaja gorom mosola.