Khaman Dhokla for Indian Cooking Challenge!

It was like eating in your dreams! Exactly the same feeling ok, you get such a high finally making something that's been in your mind for years and finally enjoying your homemade. And that's what it felt to me when I finally made Khaman Dhoklas for the Indian Cooking Challenge, for the month of July. When I had that list prepared and had a poll, Dhoklas had the highest votes. But believe that wasn't the sole reason for me to choose it for the first official Challenge for ICC.

There are couple of reasons, first being its my most favorite snack and second being I have a foolproof recipe! If I really have to think back when I first tasted Dhoklas and loved it, I won't be able to tell you! Because it feels forever. Maybe it all began during my college where I had a gujju friend to boot or the many occasions we dropped in to Sree Mithai to eat this. Whatever, I always wanted to make this at home. Second being, my colleague's Mom made us some awesome Dhoklas and its been on mind ever since. So I knew I can trust her to give me a good solid recipe.

The entire process was very interesting. First I got the recipe from her and then posted on the ICC blog for the members to read and ask back questions. Wow there were so many questions which never struck me. So I again had to call her and get them all clarified. Some wanted to know if Eno can be avoided, Citric Acid can be avoided etc! Aunty was so sweet enough to explain everything in detail. She confessed of never trying it without Eno, but she said since this is a challenge, why don't you try making it with Baking soda?

Well well, we want a challenge, this one poses too many is what I thought. But I couldn't find Eno anywhere. I finally decided halve the recipe and to make it with baking soda. But the mistake I did was adding it in the beginning and allowing it to rest. So my first trail was a hard and thin dhoklas. Not a matter, I made it as upma and enjoyed it.

So I was determined to get hold of Eno and get it right this time round. Finally got hold of the Eno and set out to make this Saturday. I decided I would steam like Idlis. Mixed and set it aside for more than 1 hour. But I guess it didn't have any effect on the Dhoklas. I could sense the consistency was fine. But as I realized when you are serving, please don't serve as you might serve idlies, people don't like it. Or at least hubby dear didn't like it.

But I waited for some 10 minutes after the tadka, and tasted very awesome. This is a recipe I am sure will be making it again!

Recipe for Khaman Dhokla

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
Salt to taste

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


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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 to 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

Serve it with Green Chutney:

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Notes and doubts clarified:

Any small plate also can be used, but 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.

Dhoklas can also be steamed in Idli molds but if you can't think it as Dhoklas but idlies, I suggest you don't as it will spoil the fun!

Lemon can be used instead of citric acid. Citric acid is basically used for giving the sourness. So Citric acid cab be replaced by adding lemon juice or sour curds.

Eno is normally not replaced with anything else. This is added to give the spongy texture. Alternate to Eno is to make it with baking soda, but the result is not accurate.

Approximately for the flour mentioned we might require 5 gms. Eno is also dusted on the plate before pouring the batter, to get the holes on the bottom.

Rolling stage in water, 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.

You can use idly cooker too.. the vessel used for cooking is left to the member's choice, only thing is you should steam the dhoklas. Nowadays we get steamers for dhoklas too.

If you want to make this vegan by avoiding yogurt/curds, you can use soy yogurt or else just plain water.

Few members got back after their experiments that the besan mentioned in the recipe was more, so they had to increase the curd and water content. I have also given their experience.

Updates from Lata raja

1 and 1/2 cups measured in 240 ml cup (standard cup) is 200 grams. This matches the rest of the ingredients quantity well.1 sachet ENO 5 grams is exactly 1 teaspoon measure.
Add salt to the batter,though it did not show when had with the delicious chutney.
Grease the plate with cooking oil and sprinkle ENO as if you would dust a cake tin.This makes the bottom porous too.

Wait patiently for the dhokla to cool in the plate before cutting shapes.Loosen sides with a blunt knife and overturn on another plate. Then make the tempering.

Few felt that more water needs to be added to make the Dhoklas moist.


Green chutney

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

In a food processor, take half of the lime along with all the ingredients except coriander. Grind to a smooth paste.

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

I am hoping everybody enjoyed this month's challenge with the response has been. Thanks everybody!

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