Khaman Dhokla ~ Indian Cooking Challenge July 2009

First, let me brief about the
Indian Cooking Challenge, a monthly event initiated by Srivalli of Cooking 4 all seasons. As she rightly points out, many of us do not venture out cooking authentic & traditional recipes. Though, it can conveniently be attributed to lack of time in the fast pace of modern life, only a part of it is true. Now a days, we get a lot of good quality, authentic dishes from various shops at quite affordable (though that's a relative term, the flourishing catering business evinces it ) prices and so we do not want to put in that extra effort. Well, even this is only partly true. One more factor is, we might not want to cook out of our comfort zone (the roti-rice routine with occasional easy to make sweets) and daringly try out the traditional family recipes particularly so when it involves lot of time, effort or utmost perfection. For eg., you can make mysore pak or rasgullas in less than an hour but you should know the tips & tricks of the trade. Calling myself a foodie & a passionate cook, it is not fair to keep away from authentic recipes by quoting the above factors. By naming it a challenge, Srivalli kindles my interest further more. So, I am game for it!

This is how it works. Srivalli had already conducted a poll and finalised a list of recipes. She will announce a dish for the month and post a tried & tested recipe. We will have to try it out and post it end of the month. It can't get easier for me! Thanks to her for all the effort she puts in. For more info, visit her announcement. I have posted the logo on my blog's side bar.

The challenge for July is Khaman Dhokla. This is a food from Gujarat and made of fermented chickpeas batter. Chickpeas is soaked overnight and ground to a batter. But we can alternatively use besan and make perfect dhoklas. The batter is spiced up with chillies, sugar, steamed and seasoned. I have tried eating dhoklas in Saravana Bhavan's Gujarathi restaurant and few other eat-outs. I wouldn't term it as my fav food but still I love to have it occasionally. I am posting the recipe here as exactly given by her.

Updates: The changes I did are, I added a little salt to the batter, I used a non-stick tawa to steam the batter (removed the handle and placed it in the cooker just as a plate) since I didn't have a thali plate and reduced the sesame seeds. I overturned the dhokla plates before seasoning. No big alterations and it turned out great. All praises to Srivalli!

Makes 20 medium sized pieces
For Batter:

Bengal Gram flour / Besan - 250 gms (1 & 1/2 cup)
Curd - 1/2 cup (not very sour)
Water - 1/2 cup
Cooking Soda - 1/2 tsp

For seasoning to be mixed to the batter (to be added just before cooking)
Oil - 1 tbsp
Turmeric a pinch
G. Chili paste - 1 - 2 long (as per taste)
Sugar - 1 tsp
Citric acid - quarter tsp
Eno - 1 packet (green colour fruit lime) + sprinkle or dust few bits on the plate

For tempering

Sesame seeds
Mustard Seeds
Curry leaves
Grated coconut
Coriander leaves
Little water + Oil to be topped on dhoklas

Method to prepare:
Mix first 1/2 cup curds with 1/2 water. To this add the besan and mix well to get a lump less batter, the consistency should be of idli batter, more of dropping not pouring consistency. Slowly add more water if needed else, add the soda. Keep it aside to rise for 1 hour.

If you are using a pressure cooker, fill the pan with water, place a plate over which you will have use a plate for steaming the dhoklas. Thali plate can be used for steaming
To the batter mix in the citric acid, oil, salt, sugar, green chili paste and turmeric powder. Mix well. This has to be done just before pouring to the plate.

Meanwhile have the pan on stove, and let the water start boiling. When the water reaches the rolling stage, you can mix the eno to the batter (Save little of eno for dusting on the plate), mix gently, you will see bubbles coming out.

Dust or sprinkle the plate with eno. Then immediately pour the batter to the plate. Place the plate carefully inside the pressure pan and cover with lid. You need not use the whistle. After covering you will find steam coming out of the outlet, simmer and don't disturb for almost 5 -7 minutes.

After 5 -7 minutes, remove the lid and proof it using toothpick or knife. If the knife comes out clean and does not have any batter sticking, then its done. Cover back and let it remain on flame for 1 min and switch off the gas and allow it for 5 minutes.
In a bowl, mix 3 tsp of water along with a tsp of oil
Remove the plate from the pan, pour the water and oil mix over the top.
For seasoning, heat a pan with oil, add curry leaves, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and finely chopped green chilies. When mustard starts popping, remove and pour over the dhokla

Points to Ponder:

The batter should be filled to only 1/2 as it will rise up. After adding eno the batter should not rest. Amount of sugar can be increased on preference.

If you want perfect shaped ones and not the crumbling, cut and handle gently

Dhokla can also be steamed in kadai filled with water and a plated titled over it.

Green chutney

Green chili - 4-5 no
coconut - 4- 5 pieces
coriander - bunch
few mint leaves
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Lime -1 big
Salt to taste

Take all the ingredients except coriander in a food processor. Grind to a smooth paste.

Then add the coriander and again grind. Remove to a bowl, add the remaining lime and serve with Dhoklas.

Srivalli's replies to doubts posted by readers:

Lemon can be used instead of citric acid. Citric acid is basically used for giving the sourness. I confirmed with Aunty that we can replace this by adding lemon juice or sour curds.

Eno is normally not replaced with anything else. This is added to give the spongy texture. She said we can try using baking soda, but is not sure of the measurement.
She normally uses the Eno sachet which is app 5 gms,
Rolling stage is when the water starts boiling and reaches peek.

Water and oil (at room tempt) is just mixed together and added to the cooked dhoklas immediately after removing from pan, Since the dhoklas will be hot and this mixture will make it more soft and spongy. This is just to prevent the surface from getting dry. So the oil need not be hot.

Another way is to temper the mustard, curry leaves, remove the pan from heat, add water to that and pour over the dhoklas..either way is fine.
Chutney is not mandatory...I asked aunty her version so that we make both the dishes traditionally


Pooja said...

Lovely dhoklas! Has come out spongy and soft!

Rush said...

ur dhoklas look nice..step by step recipe!!!

Divya Vikram said...

Vidya, your dhoklas look great. Yeah was quiet busy due to my midterms! Will do the meme soon.

Sree vidya said...

Thanx Divya! Never mind. Take your time. was jus pulling ur leg.Trying to rag you which I missed in college ;)Good luck for your exams.

Sree vidya said...

Thanx Rush!

Prathibha said...

Thanks for your lovely words dear in my blog..
looks like my first time here..ohh u r also a member of ICC..
Nice n yummy dhokla..
we will keep in touch

lata raja said...

It was fun indeed Sreevidya...Your Dhokla and chutney...nicely done and step by step!

Mythreyi Dilip said...

Its first time in your blog, enjoyed every recipes. Great!

Anonymous said...

Dhoklas look perfect Sree!

Chitra said...

perfect dhoklas..Me tooo have to try once..:)love the color and presentation:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sree Vidya, you have nice recipes in your blog. Check out It is India's first women's social network. You can join and share your blogs, photos and videos about your recipes.