January 28, 2009

Easy Vegetable Khaman Dhokla

Dhokla is a steamed savoury cake. This healthy and low fat dish from Gujarat is usually served as a snack at teatime, or as part of a Gujrathi thali (an Indian style meal made of many different dishes all served together on a large steel plate). Traditonally, dhokla is made by soaking rice and lentils (the types of lentils depend on the variety of dhokla you are making) overnight and grinding this into a batter which is then steam cooked.

Dhokla made from Bengal gram lentils/ chana dal (or the yellow coloured dhokla) is referred to as Khaman Dhokla whereas that which is made from black gram lentils/ urad dal and uses yogurt (curds) which gives it a tangy taste is called Khatta Dhokla.
Dhokla comes in many varieties (depending on what's in them) such as Moong Dhokla, Corn Dhokla, Methi (Fenugreek Leaves) Dhokla, Sooji (Semolina) Dhoklas to mention just a few.

This version, using chickpea flour, isn't very authentic but doesn't take much time or effort to make and the result is very crumbly and tasty dhokla. I wrote this recipe down, a long time back, from my cousin and the additions of carrots and beans are mine though I have seen a similar recipe in Tarla Dalal's book, so maybe that's where it originally came from.

Easy Vegetable Khaman Dhokla


For the batter:

1 cup chickpea flour (besan)

1 1/2 cups semolina (rawa)

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp green chilli ginger paste

3 tbsp grated carrots

3 tbsp very thinly sliced green beans

3 tbsp sweet corn (I used frozen)

1 1/2 tsp Eno's fruit salt/ one 5gm sachet*

salt to taste (remember the fruit salt has some salt in it)

For tempering:

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp white sesame seeds

2 green chillies, chopped

a pinch of asafetida powder

a sprig of curry leaves

1 tbsp water

For garnishing:

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp grated coconut


Mix all the ingredients given for batter, except the Eno's fruit salt, using enough water (about 1 1/2 cups – this is just an estimate) to make a thick batter. The batter should thickly coat your spatula. Keep aside for about 15 minutes. The semolina will absorb some of the water in the batter, so the batter will become thicker after standing for 15 minutes. Adjust the consistency with a couple of spoons of water before steam cooking.

On the stove top, get your steamer (whatever you use for steam cooking food) ready. Once the water is boiling and the steam is rising well from the steamer, add the Enos' fruit salt to the batter. Sprinkle a little water over the fruit salt. It will start bubbling and frothing.

Stir the batter well enough to mix in the fruit salt. Pour the batter into a well oiled round (9" or 10")or square cake tin (8" by 8") or a thali (a round steel plate with high sides) and steam cook for about 10 to 12 minutes or till a skewer comes out of the dhokla clean.

For the tempering, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the sesame seeds, chopped chillies, asafetida and curry leaves. Add the 1 tbsp of water and pour this over the steamed dhokla. Garnish with coriander and coconut.
Cut the dhokla into squares and serve warm or at room temperature with green chutney or if preferred with tomato ketchup. This recipe serves 4 to 6.

This is my contribution to Harini's Food In Colours where this month is Yellow and to Srivalli who is hosting the Seventh Helping of Susan, The Well seasoned Cook's My Legume Love Affair.


This recipe calls for Eno's fruit salt which is normally available in India at most pharmacies, in single use sachets or bottles. It is supposed to be effective as an antacid, but I really have no idea whether this claim is true. However, Eno's does work magic in this recipe and is preferable to baking powder here.

What is Eno's fruit salt?
According to this source, it is a mix of Sodium Bicarbonate (46.4%), Citric Acid (43.6%), Sodium Carbonate (10%). GlaxoSmithKline makes this product. It is not as sensitive to food formations as straight Sodium Bicarbonate plus it does not have that "aftertaste" that Sodium Bicarbonate has.


Sunshinemom said...

This is the commonest one I have seen - always assumed it was authentic too! I like the veggies that have gone into it too. Thanks for the delicious entry, Aparna!

Poonam said...

this is a nice variation to dhoklas and healthy too

Asha said...

Very well rised and so fluffy, Aparna. I am bookmarking it to try. I love the ease of this dish, no fermenting!! YAY! :))

pigpigscorner said...

This is interesting, I've never had this before. Looks really delicious!

Happy cook said...

I have seen and heard so much about this Dholka in blogs and books.
Never ever had them.
Looks so yumm.

Rajani said...

wow I thought there was only 1 kind - hope you make and put up recipes of the others too. this looks super delish. and i like the fact that you've added veggies to it.

Smitha said...

Dhoklas look so good! I can have them right away

Rachel said...

I survived on this during my college trip to gujarat and that was the last I have ever had them.

A_and_N said...

This is so simple! And veggies too. I should let my hassled cousin know :D A does it some other way. Will post that some time. But I want to try this and shall do so!

Nags said...

i still dont have a steamer :( love dhoklas but never tried them at home..

Ashwini Kenchanna said...

Never tried dhokla at home. Usually buy them..Yours looks so fluffy and mouthwatering..Will definitely try..

Cham said...

Never attempted at home, looks like a piece of cake ur recipe! Yummy!

TBC said...

I make my dhoklas too with besan. Never made it the traditional way... too much work.

Dhoklas were a favorite of mine especially during my hostel days. On the way back from work, I would get 3-4 pieces of these (from a place very popular for its mithais and namkeen, along with some chutney) to have along with the evening chai at the hostel. Those were some good times!

Curry Leaf said...

Never tried from the scratch Dhoklas.I used Gits /MTR Dhokla Mix.This is definitely healthy with added veggies.

sra said...

This is one of my favourite snacks, we get it from a Gujju (I think) store here. I love Khandvi too, esp the green chilli-sesame-and mustard tempering that goes all over these snacks.

Raaga said...

I bought 2 bottles of Eno - 1 plain to make dhokla and the lemon flavoured one... as an antacid. I haven't made dhoklas at all... S was upset that I had to buy two... and now as they sit on my kitchen shelf... one of them not even used... I kick myself :-)

Adding veggies is a great idea. Like my savoury cake: http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2008/04/savoury-vegetable-cake.html

Priya said...

Looks great, yet to try this...gorgeous click..

sowmya said...

i was looking for a good dhokla recipe..and i loved the way you have given the instructions..bookmarked ..will try it soon..they looks very fluffy..

Jo said...

Great job on your tuiles and sorry that you didn't like it too much.

Vaishali said...

Aparna, I love dhokla, and it's a long time since I had good dhokla. Your picture is so delicious-looking, it really made me crave some. Thanks for the recipe: I'll definitely be trying this one.

Soma said...

Love khaman Dhokla. This is how my mom in law always makes them, howver i have never tried it. I was going to ask her for the recipe, but now i have it from ur post:-)

Pavithra Kodical said...

Love dhokla..Adding veggies is new to me.Nice click :)

Alka said...

Authentic or no authentic,who cares as far as delicious food is served on platter who cares abt the origin?
I too make dhoklas with besan and Eno,the soda bi carb however never works for me and with eno dhoklas come out amazingly fluffy
Addition of veggies is new to me,but it do sounds more healthy :-)

Srivalli said...

yum!...I love dhoklas...thanks a lot aparna!

Uj said...

Looks yummy..I have never tried making them home. Eno salt is a better option that soda. I heard that in case you add extra soda by mistake it causes stomach indigestion but this is not the case with Eno.. I have never tried adding to any dish though

Aparna said...

Thanks, we enjoy our dhokla too.:)
Though, Rachel, my husband doesn't like them so much. I think it brings back memories of not so good hostel fare he had to live with when he was in Ahmedabad!

Nags, I don't have a "steamer" either. I use my pressure cooker (without the weight) or a deep wok qurter filled with water.
I shall get one of those bamboo steamers when I find one.:)

Try this, Sweatha. Its not too difficult and much tastier than the mix varieties.

I like khandvi too, Sra.:) Though my one attempt at making it was a failure!

Raaga, check to make sure your bottles of Eno are still active. They tend to lose their fizz once opened. The single use sachets are better.
Btw, I used the lemon flavoured one here. It goes well with dhokla.

Thanks for the info, Uj.
I never knew that Eno's was a better option. I've been lucky not to have to find out this, personally.:)

Rajee said...

Love dhokla. Perfect and innovative!