Dhokla, also known as Khaman Dhokla, is a delectable steamed dish hailing from Gujarat, India. It is prepared using gram flour or chickpea flour (besan), along with a delightful blend of spices. This culinary delight is renowned for its soft and spongy texture.
Dhokla is a versatile recipe that can be enjoyed as a breakfast item, snack, main course, or even as a side dish for lunch or dinner. It is a truly versatile dish that can be relished during any meal of the day.
What is Dhokla?
Dhokla represents a delectable steamed cake crafted from a fermented batter consisting predominantly of a blend of rice flour and chickpea flour.
What is Khaman Dhokla or Besan Dhokla?
Khaman Dhokla is a variation of the savory cake known as Dhokla, which is exclusively prepared using besan or gram flour and a leavening agent.
What is The Difference Between Dhokla and Khaman Dhokla?
Dhokla and Khaman Dhokla are two distinct dishes in Indian cuisine, particularly popular in the state of Gujarat. While they share similarities, there are some notable differences between them.
Dhokla is made from a fermented batter of rice and split chickpeas. It has a pale yellow or white color and a slightly harder texture compared to Khaman Dhokla. Dhokla is typically garnished with a tempering of mustard seeds, coriander leaves, and split green chilies. It can be enjoyed for breakfast or as an evening snack and is often served with curd or dhania chutney.
On the other hand, Khaman Dhokla is made from a batter of gram flour (chickpea flour) and has a softer, sponge-like texture. It is enriched with sugar and lemon juice, giving it a slightly sweet and sour taste. Khaman Dhokla is often served with a sweet and sour chutney made from dates and tamarind. It can be enjoyed as a snack or as a breakfast dish and is commonly garnished with fresh coriander leaves, grated coconut, and sev (fried noodles made from chickpea flour).
Ingredients Used to Make Khaman Dhokla
- Besan or Chickpea flour – 2 cups
- Fine sooji rava or semolina – 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼
- Sugar – 2 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- 1 lemon juice
- Vegetable oil or cooking oil – 2 tbsp
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Green chili paste (adjust to taste) – 2 to 3
- Fruit Salt (Eno) – 5g or 1 sachet
- Water (adjust accordingly) – 1 cup + ½ cup + 2 tbsp
- Vegetable oil or cooking oil – 1 ½ tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Green chilies – 3 slit
- Curry leaves – 1 spring
- Asafoetida or Hing – ¼ tsp
- Sugar – 3 tbsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Water – 1 cup
Coriander leaves or Cilantro
How to Make
Make Your Steamer or Pot to Sream the Dhokla Ready
Add water to the steamer or cooker based on your choice.
Cover the steamer, place a steel ring or rack, and bring it to a rolling boil.
To steam dhokla for approximately 20 minutes, ensure that you add sufficient water to the steamer.
Grease the bottom and sides of the cake pan or any steel pan that fits in your steamer with oil. Alternatively, you may use parchment paper if preferred.
Make Khaman Dhokla Batter
In a bowl, combine 1 cup of water, sugar, salt, lemon juice, oil, ginger, and green chili. Stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside.
In another bowl, mix besan, sooji, and turmeric powder. If necessary, sieve the flour before adding it.
Pour the spiced water mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a lump-free batter forms. The batter may be thick initially. Gradually add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the batter reaches a thick yet free-flowing consistency. I added an additional ½ cup of water. Adjust the water amount based on the quality, brand, and texture of the flour.
Beat the batter vigorously for 1 minute to ensure thorough mixing and a lump-free consistency. The batter should coat the back of a spoon, neither too runny nor too thick. If it’s too thick, add water; if it becomes watery, add gram flour to adjust.
Once the steamer is ready and the water is hot or boiling, add eno and 2 tablespoons of water to the batter. The eno will activate and bubble up. Remember, once eno is added, the batter should not rest.
Quickly and thoroughly mix the batter, ensuring the eno is fully incorporated. Whisk the batter, including the sides of the bowl, to ensure even mixing. Skipping this step may result in dense dhokla in certain areas.
Pour the batter into a greased pan prepared in advance and smooth the top surface.
Steaming The Dhokla
Place the pan inside the steamer and ensure it is covered. I utilized a pressure cooker that does not have a whistle. The crucial aspect is to allow the steam to escape in order to prevent moisture from accumulating on the surface of the dhokla. Therefore, we require a steamer with a vent.
Steam the dhokla for approximately 20 minutes on a medium flame. The duration may vary depending on the intensity of the flame and the thickness of the dhokla. Once cooked thoroughly, the inserted knife should come out clean from the center.
Turn off the flame and let it sit undisturbed for an additional 5 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan, then introduce mustard seeds. Once they start popping, incorporate hing, curry leaves, and green chilies, sautéing until the curry leaves turn crispy.
Include sugar and salt, mixing them together. Lastly, pour in 1 cup of water and allow it to reach a vigorous boil.
Turn off the heat and ensure that the sugar has completely dissolved. Set this aside.
Remove the pan from the steamer and allow it to cool completely.
Once cooled, gently slide a knife along the inner edges of the pan to release the dhokla.
Place a plate on top of the pan and carefully flip the dhokla onto the plate. Slice into desired squares or shapes.
Next, pour half of the tempering water and allow it to soak in. The dhokla will absorb all the water. Then, pour the remaining tempering water.
Sprinkle freshly grated coconut and coriander leaves as a garnish. Serve with your preferred chutney and savor the flavors.
If fruit salt (Eno) is not available, you can substitute it with ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Ensure that the fruit salt you use is unflavored.
Avoid adding excessive Eno or baking soda as it can result in a bitter aftertaste and ruin the overall dish. The key to achieving soft and spongy dhokla lies in the consistency of the batter.
A thicker batter will make the dhokla dense, while a thinner batter will make it flat and messy. The ideal batter should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon yet flow freely.
The amount of water needed may vary depending on the brand of flour used, its texture (fine or coarse), and the weather conditions. Therefore, after achieving a thick batter, gradually add water in increments of 1 tablespoon until you achieve the desired consistency.
For a gluten-free version of dhokla, omit semolina and asafoetida.
If you prefer smaller pieces, reduce the quantity of all the ingredients mentioned above by half.
To store dhokla, it is recommended to wrap it properly or store it in an airtight container. At room temperature, dhokla can be stored for a couple of days. However, for a longer shelf life, it is best to store it in the refrigerator where it can last for up to a week. Remember to consume it within a few days for optimal texture and taste.
To reheat dhokla, you have a few options. One way is to use a microwave. Place the dhokla pieces on a microwave-safe plate and heat them for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until they are warm. Another method is to steam them again by placing them in a steamer or a colander over boiling water for a few minutes until heated through. You can also reheat them in a pan on the stovetop over low heat, covered, until warmed.
Adding too much leavening agent: If you add an excessive amount of leavening agent like fruit salt or baking soda, it can make the taste bitter.
If the mixture is adhesive, it indicates that either there was an excess of water in the batter or the Eno (fruit salt) used was not fresh and active.