Bengali cuisine is not just varied but there are hundreds of nomenclatures for every kind of food. For us, it’s not a curry for everything or a bhaji for everything. From chorchori to dalna to jhol, to jhal, there are different names given to different foods, mostly related to the technique of cooking. Ol er dalna is a simple curry of elephant foot yam and potatoes simmered in a light sauce.
Dalna gravy typically has potatoes that are cut into cubes (known as ‘dumo dumo kore kata’). It is cooked with one vegetable along with potatoes. And most of the time, it is niramish, which is cooked without onion and garlic. You may add onions if you like but most often, a dalna is cooked for pure vegetarians. There’s ol’er dalna, potol’er dalna, phulkopir dalna, chhanar dalna, paneer’er dalna and so on. Dim’er dalna on the other hand is one of those rare non-vegetarian ones cooked with eggs.
Amongst all the dalnas, ol er dalna is probably the least considered while making any menu. Although you get ol or elephant foot yam around the year, during late monsoon, we end up eating more of these yams and colocassias. And when there is nothing else to cook or you want a bit of a change in the palette, go for this soulful ol’er dalna. There are people with severe ol allergies and some get throat itchiness with yam. The trick to avoid it is by boiling and discarding the water and cooking the ol with tamarind pulp.
Here are a few vegetarian Recipes that You may like:
- Bengali style arbi ki sabji- gati kochur dom
- Paneer cooked with fennel paste- Mouri Paneer
- Taro stems cooked Bengali way – Kochu Shak’er Ghonto
- Banana Blossom Stir-Fry- Mochar Ghonto
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Ol er dalna | Bengali Style Elephant Foot Yam
- 300 gms ol known as elephant foot yam in English
- 2 nos potatoes
- 2 dried red chilies
- 3 green cardamoms
- 4 cloves
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp tamarind pulp
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp Bengali garam masala
- 3 green chilies
- 2 tsp ghee
- 4 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- ⅓ cup chopped coconut
- Rub your hands with mustard oil and then remove the skin of the yam. Cut the yam into one inch cubes.
- Boil water with a bit of salt and add the yam pcs to it.
- While the yam is boiling, peel the potatoes and cut into one inch cubes.
- Chop the coconut into small pcs and set aside.
- Once the yam has cooked but firm, discard the water and set it aside.
- Heat mustard oil and lightly fry the coconut. Take it out and set it aside.
- In the same oil, gently fry the yam pcs, give them a bit of colour and take them out.
- Add more oil to the pan if needed. Then add the potatoes and stir fry them on high heat.
- Now cover and let the potatoes cook till they are golden in colour and almost cooked.
- Take the potatoes out of the pan.
- Add dried red chilies and all the whole spices. Sprinkle turmeric powder, salt, tamarind paste and ginger paste. Add a bit of water and give this all a good mix.
- Add the potatoes and the yam and mix everything together.
- Add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil.
- When the gravy has somewhat thickened, add salt and sugar to taste, ghee, garam masala and split green chilies.
- Serve it with rice.