“How old are you?”, asked my 3 year old
I wanted to be the scrubbed face, squeaky clean hair, dream in the eyes, hope in my heart of early 20’s and so I said, “I am 20”
“No, you’re not, you are 100," she said, looking into my eyes
I panicked, it can’t be that bad I thought. She is only a child and hasn’t seen my Driver License yet, I can still try, I decided.
So I bargained, to get back to those days of fun and freedom and said “Ok then, I am 25”
She looked into the fine lines around my eyes and insisted “But you can be 100, it is better”
It might be…
The higher the number, the better it is does not hold true in all cases, but she is too young to know.
“Dhoka” in Bengali or Hindi actually means a sham, an act of duping someone. When it comes to food however the word “Dhoka” in Bengali came from I guess “Dhokla” in Gujarati. “Dhokar Dalna” is one of my favorite Bengali food though I haven’t cooked it ever, more about it later. “Dim er Dhoka” or “Egg Dhoka” or “Steamed Egg Cakes in a Curry” gets the name from the similarity in the process and the look I guess. My Ma used to make this on rare occasions maybe twice or thrice in my lifetime, yeah that rare. So when I found it in my cookbook I was pleasantly surprised because I had always thought my Ma made up that name.
I love eggs actually both D and me absolutely love eggs. Before the days of physical check ups, egg curry was a staple food at our home. When I got married, the only thing we could cook every day was Dal and Egg Curry. It was that bad or actually that good. But life has taken its toll and so we watch not only our chickens but also eggs these days.
The “Dim er Dhoka” or the “Steamed Egg Cakes in a Curry” (??) is a pleasant variation to the much loved egg curry. The best part is you can make the steamed egg cubes and eat them for breakfast and then use the rest for the gravy which you can have for lunch or dinner. Ok you can do that with Boiled Eggs too, but that’s beside the point. It is also a very tasty variation which you can serve when you have guests for dinner. It’s pretty convenient to make the egg cakes beforehand. So heres to a very tasty "Egg Dhoka" or "Dim er Dhoka" as we say in Bengali.
What You Need
For the Steamed Egg Cakes
This yielded about 25/30 egg cubes of the size shown in pic below
Eggs ~ 6
Onion Paste ~ 3 tbsp of paste or 1 small chopped fine
Corriander leaves ~ finely chopped about 1/4 cup
Green Chillies ~ 3 chopped fine (optional)
Tomato ~ ¼ of a medium chopped fine (optional)
Ginger paste ~ 1 tsp
Milk ~ 3 tbsp
Salt ~ as per taste
Baking Powder ~ a pinch
For Gravy (gravy made with about 15-18 of the steamed egg cakes)
Onion Paste ~ 4 tbsp
Tomato ~ 1 medium finely chopped or blanched. I used a medium sized tomato from a can of whole peeled tomatoes
Panch Phoron – 1/2 tsp
Ginger Paste ~ 1 tsp
Garlic Paste ~ 1 tsp
Yogurt ~ ½ cup
Jeera Powder/Cumin Powder ~ 1 tsp
Dhania Powder/Corriander Powder – 1 tsp
Water ~ 1 and 1/2 cups
Sugar – 2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ ½ tsp
Green Chilli ~ 3 very finely chopped
Salt ~ as per taste
How I Did It
For Dhoka or the Steamed Egg Cake
Beat the eggs in a bowl.
To it add the chopped onions, chopped green chillies, chopped tomato, chopped corriander, ginger paste, pinch of baking powder, milk and salt. Beat well
Steam this in a steamer if you have one
If you don’t have one like me, put it in a greased pressure cooker bowl and put in your pressure cooker. Remember to add water to the bottom of the cooker .Tip:Instead of the aluminium pressure cooker separator use a steel one which has been greased well.
The idea is to steam it, in a pressure cooker it will take as much time as it takes for rice to be cooked. In my Futura, rice takes 3 minutes while for this I allowed 4 mins (after the steam is built up and my cooker goes hisss). Tip: After you have switched off the heat, release the pressure of the cooker after waiting for 3-4 minutes. If you can't do this at least take it off the heat and let it cool. Take out the container as soon as the pressure of the cooker has been let off. If you let it sit too long the egg cake might stick to the bottom.
After you have steamed it, it will look like a round cake as shown above.
Cut in cubes, they look like dhokla and you have to really restrain yourself from eating them. The measure I used, made about 30 cubes of the size shown here. I used 15-18 of them for the gravy, while the rest we had for next days breakfast.
Heat Oil in Kadhai/Frying pan
Add ½ tsp of Panch Phoron
As soon as it sputters add the Onion Paste. Add about 2 tsp of sugar
Sauté till the paste turns a light brown and you see the oil separate from the paste.
Add the tomato. I used a medium sized tomato from a can of peeled whole tomatoes. If you are using fresh ones either chop fine, or blanch or just puree them in the processor
Add the garlic paste at this point along with the green chillies.
Sauté till the tomato is nicely mushed up.
Meanwhile in a bowl beat the yogurt with ginger paste, Cumin Powder, Corriander Powder and Red Chilli Powder.
Take the Kadhai off the heat and add the yogurt. Adding the yogurt at high heat might make it curdle so I always do this.
Mix well and then put it back on medium heat.
Saute till you see…What ? The oil separating from the masala paste.
At this point add 1 and ½ cup of water or less depending on the amount of gravy you want
Add salt and let the gravy come to a nice boil. You will see the merry bubbles
Add the cubed egg cakes, kep the flame at medium and let the gravy thicken.
The gravy should not be runny, it should be a thick gravy. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves if you wish
Enjoy with Rice or Chapati.
Note: You can get creative with the gravy and improvise. I sometimes make a gravy with potatoes and instead of panch phoron I temper with Cumin Seeds and Bay Leaves. That lends a different taste.
Trivia: Eggs contain the highest quality of food protein second only to mothers milk for human nutrition. So "Sunday ho Ya Monday,Roz Khao Aaandey"