From meeting the opposite sex to starting to like him/her, to marinating the relationship with meetings and getting to know each other, to finally proposing and then confirming the relationship is the most insecure part of a relationship. Smallest to biggest misunderstandings during this time can make or break a relationship. I won’t share here how many hits or misses I have had in my life but can share as much that like few things, Dimer Dalna has been a secure love affair for me.
The name dimer dalna evokes many a memory. I consider Dimer Dalna as an offshoot of boiled eggs and the first image that comes to my mind is Ma boiling the eggs in a claypot oven when I was a child. Anyone who loves boiled eggs can never hate dimer dalna. Uncalled surprise guests? Refrigerator not working? Load shedding leading to soiling of fishes? Dimer Dalna comes to rescue. Like all other things in life, a middle class household always takes a middle path as its guiding principle- I was told that Egg is very healthy and gives you power, strength, stamina, Buddhi (intellect and sharpness of mind the greatest strength with which the middle class has always fought the external world) but I was never allowed to have more than one. For a family of 3, Ma would boil 2 eggs and would share from Baba and very partially from me. Dimer Dalna is easy to cook, will compulsorily have aloo and steaming rice as a partner in crime.
The light frying of the eggs and the potatoes gives a much coveted wrinkle in the outer skin of both. It adds to the texture of the light gravy already a bit pulpy from the soft onions. The beautiful aroma from the freshly ground garam masala and a hint of mustard oil is intoxicating. As the steaming white rice awaits along with a slice of lemon, this is the recipe of Dimer Dalna.
Yes, Dimer Dalna is a very secure love affair. One where we can connect at any time, we can start off at any place be it on the dining table or at any restaurant, one where you meet many more interesting characters (read dishes) but you know where the strings of your heart is tied, have seen the egg in so many avatars, have seen mutton, chicken, fish cooked and presented gorgeously but the eggs with slightly fired skin and the yolk inside has remained an eternal favourite. One travels the world but longs for homecoming in the arms of the beloved. Dimer dalna is secure love story. Dimer Dalna is homecoming.
Dimer dalna is quintessential Bengali egg curry made with minimal spices and is a comfort food for many. The gravy is not too thick and not too thin and goes perfectly with rice and even roti. It is the best weeknight dinner with the least effort.
Take a knife and make a few gashes over the eggs. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder, red chili powder and some salt over the peeled boiled eggs and the potatoes (read note for instruction of cutting the potatoes). Smear the masala all over the eggs and the potatoes.
Take a tbsp of mustard oil in a kadai and heat it. Lightly saute the eggs and the potatoes in the kadai till the eggs have a nice red crispy skin and the potatoes are a beautiful golden brown.
Use a slotted spoon to take the eggs and the potatoes out of the kadai while draining the oil within the kadai.
Add another tbsp of mustard oil and when it reaches smoking point, add bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, dried red chili and cumin seeds.
Watch the spices as they turn brown and start giving out aroma. Add the onions at this point and start frying them. Keep the heat at a medium. Once the onions have become translucent, add the ginger and garlic paste and continue frying.
In about a couple of minutes, add the tomatoes and rest of the turmeric powder and red chili powder and fry the masalas. Sprinkle a little bit of water in case your spices are sticking to the bottom of the pan. But there will be enough water from the tomatoes to make a nice paste of the masalas.
Add coriander powder and cumin powder and continue frying the masalas till oil starts to release from the sides.
At this point, add the fried potatoes and the eggs. Stir them with the masalas for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add 4 cups of water. Add little bit of salt and let it boil.
Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes till the gravy has acquired some body. Sprinkle some sugar and garam masala powder. Simmer the gravy for another couple of minutes. Check the seasoning. Finally add split green chilies and turn off the heat.
The amount of water mentioned here is 4 cups. But you can add more or less depending on how thin or thick you want your gravy to be.
Serve it with some steamed rice and sliced lemons.
- The number of potatoes required depends on the size of the potatoes. We basically want two portions of potatoes to go with each person. Hence if you have a medium sized potato, then cutting it into half gives it 2 portions. For a large potato, it would be adviable to cut into 4 quarters.
- If you prefer, you can add chopped coriander leaves instead of garam masala in the end.
- Alternately, you could also add a tsp of ghee along with garam masala in the end.