Gujarat is a coastal state in the North Western region of India. This state is also known by the name ‘Jewel of the West’. Gujarat is bordered by Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Arabian Sea and Pakistan. The largest city in Gujarat is Ahmadabad, whereas the capital of the state is Gandhi Nagar. Gujarati is the language spoken in the state.
The Gujarati cuisine is mainly vegetarian. Gujarati cuisine is believed to be the healthiest cuisine. In spite of having a vast coastline Gujarati cuisine is still predominantly vegetarian because of the influence of Jain and Hinduism. The characteristic of the Gujarati food is that it sweet, sour, salty and spicy at the same time.
I have lot of Gujarati friends around where I live and hence had the privilege of getting this authentic recipe from one my friend’s mother. She makes really good Dhoklas and as soon as the theme was decided for this marathon, I had asked her for the recipe. She had gotten this recipe for me from her mother and it worked great. I have always made the dhoklas from the package, so it was a triumph for me to get the perfect spongy texture when made from scratch.
There are several types of dhokla. Khaman dhokla and the khatta dhokla are the two different kinds that I am familiar with. Dhokla made with channa dal or gram flour is called the Khaman dhokla. When made using the channa dal, the batter needs to be fermented. But my friend’s mother told me that in this case we don’t have to ferment the batter and can be prepared right away. I had ground the batter and left it out for couple of hours and then I made them. My friend makes them right after she grinds the batter and it works the same way. I found the combination of channa dal and moong dal very pleasant and attributed that to the softness that the dhoklas had.
Eno fruit salt is an important component of the dhokla. I have the lemon flavored fruit salt and I added that to the batter. It worked great by giving dhoklas a hint of extra sourness. It is very important to add the eno salt to only the required amount of the batter that we would be using right away. Once the eno salt is added to the batter, they have to be cooked immediately. I also used sugar water in my dhokla as I like the sweetness in a savory dishes. Dhoklas are traditionally steamed in dhokla steamer. I used my idli steamer to steam the dhoklas and found a plate that would fit inside the steamer.
Preparation time – 15 minutes plus about 3 hrs to soak the lentils
Cooking time – about 15 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients to make Khaman Dhokla – (serves 6)
- Channa dal /Kadalai paruppu /Split Bengal gram dal – 1 cup
- Moong dal / Payatham paruppu / Split Green gram dal – ½ cup
- Green chili paste – 1 ½ tsp (use based on the spiciness you prefer)
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Sour curd – 3 tbsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Eno fruit salt – 1 tsp
- Oil – to grease the plate
For the tempering –
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Green chilies – 2
- White sesame seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – few
For garnishing –
- Sugar – 2 tsp mixed in about 3 tbsp of water
- Fresh grated coconut – 2 tbsp
- Cilantro (chopped) – 2 tbsp
Procedure to make Khaman Dhokla –
- Soak the dals separately for about 3 hours. Drain the water entirely and then grind it into a coarse batter adding the chili paste, ginger paste, sour curd, turmeric powder and salt. Make sure that you do not add much water when grinding. The batter should be thick batter that drops slowly when dropped with a ladle.
- If making the dhoklas right away, get the water boiling in the steamer. Grease a plate with oil and keep it ready.
- To the ground batter, add the eno fruit salt and lemon juice and give it a quick stir. You will notice that the batter starts to bubble as soon as the eno is added. Pour the batter into the prepared plate and place the plate in the steamer. Make sure that you only fill the plate half way full as the batter would rise when steaming. Also check for the amount of batter you would use and add the eno only to that amount of batter. The batter needs to be steamed right away once the eno is added to it.
- Steam the Dhoklas for about 15 minutes and then turn off the flame. Let it sit for 5 more minutes inside the steamer and then check for doneness using a tooth pick. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the dhoklas are well cooked.
- Take the steamed dhokla out of the steamer and slowly add the sugar water all over it. If you do not like the sweetness, then you could skip this step.
- Let the dhokla cool down a bit and then cut them into desired shape.
- In a small pan, heat oil for tempering and add all the ingredients mentioned above. Spread and add the tempering on the dhokla pieces and then garnish with fresh coconut and cilantro.
- Serve with any chutney of your choice or as is.
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