Dhungar – Smoking your dishes the Bohra way

Give your monochrome dishes a twist with this Bohri technique

The Bohra cuisine is gaining popularity because of its unique taste and distinct flavour amongst the many popular Muslim cuisines. The mouth-watering array of recipes that are unique to Bohra cuisine are a beautiful fusion of Middle-eastern and Indian ingredients, particularly Gujarat.  Apart from the ingredients used, the cooking and preparation style is another factor that gives a distinct taste to Bohra dishes.


One method that is used quite extensively in the Bohra cuisine is that of dhungar or smoking and infusing the food with the flavor of burnt charcoal smoke. Believed to be a technique brought by the Mughals to India, dhungar is used in most Bohra homes to flavor even their day-to-day food at times, just for that extra relish. From dal-chawal to patti samosas, dal chawal palidu, biryani, butter chicken or mutton raang, the smoked flavour takes the taste several notches up to titillate the taste buds.


Dhungar method:

It doesn’t take much to add dhungar to your food. You just need the dhungar charcoal and ghee. Place the burning charcoal in the center of the food. Pour ghee over the burning charcoal. The coal will emit dense white smoke. Immediately cover the dish. The trapped smoked inside the dish will infuse much loved unique smokey flavour to your dish. This requires only about 20-30 seconds. Remove and discard the coal. Most of the time the burning coal is put in the center of the food to be smoked, without any container. If one doesn’t want any residue of the burnt coal to be mixed with the food, then the burning coal can be put in a container before placing it in the food.

Bohra, BananiVissta


Bohra, BananiVissta

Slowly pour the ghee


Making Dal-chawal (Lentils and Rice) interesting with dhungar:

So you are tired of eating dal chawal? Try this Bohri way of adding a twist to this daily fare with dhungar and let your taste buds savour it and crave for more.

Bohras add dhungar to dal chawal when they sit down to eat. It is mostly done after the dal chawal is mixed together in the centre of a thaal (a big round steel plate around which the Bohra Muslims sit together in a group and partake their meals).

Bohra, BananiVissta

Place charcoal in the middle of your platter

Bohra, BananiVissta

Pour ghee over the charcoal

Follow these simple steps the Bohra way for a relishing dhungar dal chawal meal:

  • Place a piece of natural lump charcoal on the gas burner. Burn the charcoal directly over the flames using a pair of tongs. Let the charcoal burn from all sides.
  • Now place this burning piece of charcoal in the center of the plate full of mixed dal chawal.
  • Add 1 tsp of ghee over the burning coal to get the smoke
  • Cover the coal with a plate or a big bowl to let the smoke mix with the dal chawal
  • After a couple of seconds, remove the covering and discard the coal.
  • Mix the dal chawal properly to distribute the flavour to the remaining portions of the fare.



Dhungar is mostly done after the dish is ready and just before it is served. But for patti samosas, the filling is given the dhungar flavour before the samosas are stuffed with it. These days, special charcoal is available in the market that can be used mainly for dhungar. The look is more refined than the normal charcoal, and is easy to use and handle.


Make your food interesting once in a while with dhungar. Try it once and you will want this flavour in all your dishes all the time.

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