Khaman Dhokla is a favourite snack/breakfast dish of mine. It is a Gujarati dish. I have a deep influence of Gujarat and Gujarati food in my life. Some of my best friends back in my MBA days were Gujarati. I stayed as a paying guest at a Gujarati lady’s house who cooked some lovely delicacies of the region for me. That is how I developed my taste for Gujarati food. Later, I got my first job in Ahmedabad which is a foodie heaven. I also travelled extensively through Gujarat. So well, Khaman Dhokla, that succulent, sweet, sour, spicy melt-in-the-mouth delicacy has always been a favourite of mine.
So much so that when I got married and went for the first time to Hyderabad, my dear husband promptly found a Gujarati shop where I could get fresh dhokla on Sundays. Pure happiness!
This recipe is for those times when you wish to make it at home. It is not difficult but you have to keep in mind a few tips and tricks. So here goes:
Makes a plateful of dhokla
2 cups besan (gram flour)
2 tbsp. green chilly – ginger paste
2 tbsp. Lemon juice
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. Eno fruit salt
2 tbsp. Sugar
Salt to taste
1 cup warm water
For the seasoning:
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 pinches asafoetida
3-4 split green chillies
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. sugar
Chopped coriander leaves
Grated fresh coconut
Sieve gram flour into a bowl or large pan. This helps remove any hard bits. Now make a paste by adding in warm water slowly. Keep whisking till it is a smooth, slightly runny batter.
Now add the sugar, salt, turmeric powder, ginger-chilly paste and lemon juice and mix well. Keep aside for about 15 minutes.
Before mixing in the fruit salt, keep a greased shallow plate or container ready. Just use oil to grease it. I used my pressure cooker container. Now take about 2-3 inches water in your cooker/steaming container and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and now get ready to add the fruit salt.
This must be done quickly. Add the fruit salt along with 1 tsp. water. You will see it froth instantly. Immediately mix it into the batter quickly by only mixing in one direction. You will see your batter become lighter, fluffier and almost double in size.
This is the only time that the batter will fluff up. Don’t leave it around waiting. Immediately pour the batter into the greased pan. Tap the container gently to level the batter and then put it in the steamer for steaming.
Let it steam for about 20 minutes. Check by inserting a knife in the centre to make sure it is cooked. If the knife comes out clean, your dhokla is cooked.
Take it out. Let it cool down a bit and scrape the sides with a knife which will help loosen the dhokla. Now release it on another plate.
Meanwhile, prepare the seasoning. Heat oil in a tadka (seasoning) pan. Put in the mustard seeds. Allow them to sputter. Now add the asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies and cook for a minute. Switch off the gas and then add 3 tbsp.of water along with 2 tbsp. sugar to the seasoning prepared. Dissolve the sugar. Now pour this gently all over your dhokla. Your dhokla will absorb this water and become super succulent. Cut it into pieces of your choice and serve after garnishing with coriander leaves and grated coconut.
Your spongy, moist dhokla is now ready to eat. Serve it hot with chutney. It is filling and delicious. Try it and let me know.
- You can increase the quantity of fruit salt if you want your dhokla even more spongy.
- You put water in the seasoning so that the dhokla absorbs it and becomes moist. Else, your dhokla will feel very dry when consuming.
- As mentioned above, remember to add the fruit salt and immediately put the dhokla for steaming else it will lose its aeration and become flat.