Doce de Grao or Chana Doce is a Goan sweetmeat prepared using Split Bengal Gram. This famed sweet is enjoyed by all Goans at any time as a snack or as a dessert. It is specially made to offer to friends and family at festive occasions and also religious celebrations. The popular preparation has a dry crust and is melt in the mouth and soft inside (this recipe is for the soft type). Another variant is completely dry / hard and is also enjoyed by some. Traditionally it is prepared on wood fire and it is this process that gives it a slightly smoky flavour that we won’t be able to achieve in modern kitchens. However, this recipe is as close as it gets. It requires just a few ingredients but the challenge is stirring it continuously. But if you stick to small quantities as I have entailed below, it should not be difficult for you to make. You can always make more with a break if you desire a larger quantity.
Yield: 1 Kg.
Prep. Time: 15 Mins. + soaking
Cooking Time: 50 Mins. (passive) + 50 Mins. (active)
- Chana Dal [Spilt Bengal Gram] – 250 gms
- Coconuts (grated) – 2 big (300 gms – grated)
- Sugar – 500 gms
- Cardamom Powder – 1 ½ tsp.
- Ghee – 4 tbsp.
- Salt – 1 tsp. + a pinch
Step 1: Wash the dal and soak in water for 2 to 3 hours.
Step 2: After the dal has soaked, drain and add it to a vessel. Add 1 ½ to 2 liters water and and the salt. Boil the dal for 45 to 50 minutes till it is cooked. Skim any scum that will float on the top and throw away (The dal should not turn mashy but it should mash easily between your fingers.) Drain the water using a strainer and let it cool.
Step 3: When you grate the coconut, collect only the white portion for the doce. This white portion should weigh 300 gms. Put this in a mixer and grind till fine without adding anything else. Keep aside.
Step 4: Next take the boiled dal in the same jar (do this in 2 to 3 batches depending on the size of your jar). Grind the dal till smooth without adding any water. Transfer to a heavy bottomed aluminum vessel suitable to make the doce.
Step 5: Add the fine coconut to the ground dal and then add the sugar. Mix all of this with your hands till the sugar dissolves and a slurry is formed. Add a pinch of salt.
Step 6: Now place the vessel on medium heat and cook stirring continuously till it starts coming together (20 to 25 minutes).
Step 7: Then add 2 tbsp. ghee and the cardamom powder and continue stirring for 3 mins. Add another 1 tbsp. and stir for another 3 minutes. Finally, add the last spoon of ghee and cook till it comes together like a dough or ball and is close to impossible to stir anymore.
Step 8: Sprinkle a tbsp. of maida on a clean surface / kitchen counter and spread the hot doce on it. Roll it lightly with a greased rolling pin. Use a fork to engrave a design on the top (see pic). Leave it for 15 minutes and then slice as shown in the picture. Place on a plate lined with butter paper and leave outside to dry for at least 12 hours. Store in an airtight container.
- Remember to stir continuously.
- You may also need to lower the heat and increase from time to time to avoid the doce burning out or sticking to the vessel. This will depend on the vessel you use and the heat your stove generates.
We’ve also like to make a snack using the doce. We call is the Goan Cream Biscuit 🙂