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Dhokla – is the name of a dish or a missile? The popular joke from the movie ‘Three Idiots’ does make you want to imagine this dish as something from out of this world. It is a nice and interesting snack which can be had both for breakfast or with evening tea.
Dhokla is often interchangeably used with a similar tasting dish called Khaman. In fact, people call it Khaman Dhokla. Both dishes find their origins in Gujarati cuisine and have similar taste and ingredients. But they are different from each other. Dhokla’s base ingredients is a mix of rice and chickpeas, which is soaked overnight and then ground to paste to make the batter. Khaman, on the other hand, is made with chickpeas only. Idada is also another variety of dhokla where urad daal or black gram is used instead of chickpeas (which is also similar to the south Indian Idli).
Interestingly, Dhokla dates back to 1066 CE where it was mentioned in a Jain text as Dukkia. The earliest mention of the word Dhokla come in 1520 CE. When you are eating this dish, it’s almost like tasting a part of your history. Most steps in the recipe of then and now remain the same, except that we use some ingredients like fruit salt or baking soda is used to create the fluff. The yellow, fluffy snack simply melts into your mouth and you won’t even realise you’ve started eating until you’ve popped about five pieces!
Dhokha is served with coriander chutney. It is garnished with fresh grated coconut and coriander leaves. The tempering of dhokla or the tadka is one of the most important steps in the recipe which adds to the taste of the dish. Hing or asafotida and mustard are a must in the tadka and you can add chillies too if you wish. You can either pour the tempered mix over the dhokla or toss the prepapred dhoklas into the tempered mix and give it a good toss.
- 100 grams Gram Flour (Besan)
- 1 tablespoon Rawa
- ¼ cup Curd (thick)
- 1 cup Water
- Salt as per taste
- 1 teaspoon Eno Fruit Salt
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Green Chilli crushed
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 12 Fresh Curry Leaves
- 1 tablespoon Green Coriander Leaves (chopped)
- 2 Green Chillies (de-seeded and sliced)
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- ⅓ cup Water
- 3 tablespoons Oil
In a bowl, mix together besan, rawa, salt, lemon juice, curd and ¾ cup water. Add the crushed green chilli and the ginger paste.
Whisk to a smooth batter, just like idli batter. Add more water if needed. Let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, ready a steamer by adding 3 to 4 cups of water to it. Heat it on a full flame and bring it to a roaring boil.
Grease a cake tin of 7 inches by applying little oil on the base and sides.
Add the Eno fruit salt to the batter and give a few quick whisks. The batter will start bubbling up.
Pour it into the ready cake tin. It should be about a ½ inch high only.
Place the tin in the steamer. Cover with a lid and lower the flame to medium.
Steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Open the lid and check if done by inserting a toothpick in the center.
If it comes out clean, it's done and so shut off the flame. Remove the tin gently and let it cool down a bit.
To prepare the tempering, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Keep the flame low.
Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and the sesame seeds. When they splutter, add the green chillies, red chilli powder, and the curry leaves.
When the curry leaves look done, add about a ⅓ cup of water and sugar. Let it come to boil.
Shut off the flame and pour it over the ready dhokla. Garnish with the chopped green coriander leaves.
Cut into cubes and serve with spicy coriander leaves chutney.
There are many varieties of dhokla that have now been customized to make them even quicker to eat. The sandwich dhokla is one such version where cheese and chutney are stuffed in between two layers of dhokla. Other than this, you can also try Khatta dhokla, rasia dhokla, khandhavi dhokla, cheese dhokla, toor daal dhokla, rava dhokla, mixed daal dhokla, green peas dhokla and meeta or sweet dhokla. Dhokla can be made in an idli cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker or microwave.