Saturday, 5 February 2011

Gujarati Dhokras/Dhoklas made the traditional way

Dhokla or dhokra are a Gujarati savoury snack often referred to as lentil cake.  Because it has yogurt in it, it has a lovely sour dough bread kind of a taste.  This is a steamed dish recipe. There are lots of recipes for making instant dhokra and you can also get ready made packs to which you just add water and steam. All these methods are fine if the taste remains the same.

This is a nice dish to serve for brunch on any day but it can also be served a starter when entertaining. In Gujarat, it's served as part of a thali.

Ingredients for a large plate (about the size of a medium to large pizza)

For the dhokra:

2 cups of chick pea flour
1 cup of plain yogurt (it’s good to use sharp yogurt for this recipe. To make the yogurt sharp, leave it out of the fridge for a day or two)
1 teaspoon soda bi carbonate
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh green finely chopped chilies (optional)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2-3 karge cloves of grated garlic
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

For tempering (or tadka or vaghar) of dhokra:

A small bunch of finely chopped coriander.
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 teaspoon mustard
1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds
A few curry leaves (optional)
2-3 finely chopped green chilies (optional)
1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)
1-2 tablespoons dessicated coconut (optional)


For the traditional recipe, there is some preparation involved.

1. Mix the chickpea flour and yogurt. Add half a cup of warm water to it, stir well and keep this covered in a warm place overnight.

2. The next day, stir the mixture. The yogurt will have helped  the mixture to ferment.

First prepare the utensils for steaming the dhokras:

3.Get  a large saucepan or a wok and add water to it.

4. Put a large bowl or colander in the water and place your dhokra plate over this. You can use any small sandwich cake tin or an aluminum or steel plate for dhoklas.

5. Grease the plate with cooking oil.

6. Add the chillies, ginger and garlic to the dhokla mixture.

7. Add the salt and turmeric to the mixture.

8. In a small cup, add half a cup of hot water, 1 teaspoon of soda bicarbonate and one tablespoon of lemon juice. As you add these together, you will see them rising like an effervescent.

9. Add this mixture to the dhokra mixture and stir well.

10. Pour the dhokra batter onto the dhokra plate

11. Cover the dhokra plate ensuring no air is escaping. I usually place a damp tea towel round the edges of the wok to ensure no steam escapes.

12. Cook the dhokras for 15-20 minutes.

13. Remove cover and check the dhokras. They should look spongy. Insert a toothpick or knife to the centre. It should come out clean if it’s cooked.

14. Remove from the heat and prepare to temper the dhokra.

15.  Dhokras can be eaten without tempering.  Just dip them in any fresh cooking oil and a bit of chilly powder and try them hot - just after you finish steaming them!! They are fantastic!

The tempering (or tadka or vaghar):

The tempering and serving can be done in any of the following ways:

1. First method is the easiest and one I would recommend: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds to it.  Cover the dish as these will start popping.   Once they stop popping, spread this over the dhokra.  I like to sprinkle some chilly powder on my dhokras.  Cut them into squares or diamonds and garnish with green chillies, coriander, dessicated coconut and serve with green chutney or ketchup.

2. Second method:  Cut the dhoklas into squares or diamonds. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds to it. Add the dhokra to the oil, stir them gently. The dhokras can break so try tossing them rather than stirring them. I allow these to cook until slightly brown before serving.

3. Third method : This is a bit harder. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds to it. Once they start popping turn down the heat. Add two tablespoons of water and one teaspoon of sugar to this mixture and quickly cover the dish. Allow this to  boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture resembles syrup. Pour the syrup evenly over the dhokra.  Amazingly, all the mixture gets absorbed by the dhokra.   Garnish with fresh coriander, chopped green chillies and dessicated coconut.

TIP: Left over dhokras can be deep fried and eaten the next day.

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  1. Wow very nicely described Mina... Thanks for sharing!

  2. looks too good! i am a big Dhokla fan!..I would finish it off in a minute!

  3. wow...yum n delicious...simply amazing

  4. I love dhokla and use the 3rd version of tempering as i like them moist . Liked this authentic version where the batter is fermented , i usually make the instant version .

    There is an authentic dhokla recipe using ground chana daal n fermenting it overnight i guess , do you make that one ??

  5. Dhoklas are my all time fav..!!! But it is something I have never tried at home & alwayz use a store bought mix..Now thx to u i can give it a shot at home...I trust ur recipes..;)
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  6. @Prathima Rao

    Thanks a lot for your comments Pratima. Do give this method a try.

  7. @sangeeta

    Hello Sangeeta - sometimes I add a handful of chana dall to my besan mix when I am fermenting it overnight. It makes the dhokra's a bit different.

  8. Dhoklas luks so delicious...Well explained.

  9. i have downloaded a copy of this, will soon make and let you know,,,,,,

  10. wow...yum n delicious...simply amazing..nice clicks..


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