January 30, 2015

Dhokla From Scratch

Gujarati cuisine is very famous for their snacks and they have powerful names like Dhokla, FafdaKhandvi, Khakhra, etc...:-). Amongst them, Dhokla is one of our favorite as it is steamed and simple. Though I have seen it served as snack in restaurants and potlucks, I also serve it as a breakfast or as a light dinner along with some salad or soup. Most people make it from store bought mixes, while a few do it from besan (channa dal flour). Since I prefer to have my grains and pulses soaked and activated before I use them, I wanted to try and make it completely from scratch. I have been trying this for a while and I am very happy with this recipe. Most dhokla recipes call for Eno fruit salt which is an over the counter antacid used in India and other countries. I did not want to worry about finding the hidden ingredients in Eno (especially because I do not really trust a pharma giant like GlaxoSmithKline).  So, I am just using baking soda and citric acid which are the basic ingredients in eno anyway. Btw, this is one dish that is as easy from scratch as making it from a mix, as always you just need a little bit of planning.

  • Channa dal - 3/4 cup (soaked for 4-8 hours)
  • Raw rice - 1/2 cup (soaked for 4-8 hours)
  • Homemade organic yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Filtered water - 1/4 cup
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Fresh ginger root - 1'' piece
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Preferred unrefined cooking oil - 1 tsp (I use organic EV olive oil) 
  • Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Citric acid - 1/4 tsp (or Lemon juice - 1 Tsp)
For garnish: 
  • Preferred unrefined cooking oil - 1 Tbs (I use organic virgin coconut oil) 
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Green chillies - 2-3 (slices)
  • Chopped coriander leaves - 1/4 cup
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice - 1-2 Tbs

  • Drain the dal and the rice, grind with water and yogurt. Add salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for 8 hours or overnight for fermenting. (I added a tablespoon of idli batter as a starter which is my foolproof method to ferment batters in winter) 
  • When you are ready to make dhokla, add minced green chilly and ginger to the batter and mix well.
  • Bring water to a boil in your steamer and grease a dhokla plate* with a pat of coconut oil.
  • Just before you pour the batter for steaming mix baking soda, citric acid and oil and add to the batter. If you are making dhokla in more than one batches, divide the baking soda mix accordingly and add just before you steam. 
  • Pour the batter into prepared plate (fill about 1/2 inch thickness) steam for 12-15 minutes or till a knife test at the center comes out clean. 
  • Let it cool down in the plate itself before you garnish. 
  • For garnish: Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add green chillies and saute till slightly roasted. Garnish over the dhokla. Also add chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice.
  • Cut the garnished dhokla into desired size and shape.
  • Serve just as is or with a coconut mint chutney. 
  • Serves 3 to 4. Enjoy!! 
*Note: Dhokla plate can be any plate (preferably stainless steel) which can be used for steaming. You can also use a cake tin or you can get the whole dhokla steamer set from any Indian grocery store. 

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