Khaman dhokla recipe: the softest dhokla with the best flavour

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Khaman dhokla recipe

Khaman dhokla is a steamed savoury cake made of gram flour/ chickpea flour and is flavoured with spicy and lemony oil. 

It is a traditional Gujarati dish that is now popular among Pakistani and Indian cuisines.

The first time I had dhokla (or dhokra) many years ago I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, dhokra is one of few Indian/ Pakistani dishes that I was not keen on. And I consider myself an adventurous foodie who can eat most food. Yet, I couldn’t like dhokla.

As time went by, about a year ago, a friend’s mom gave my husband a homemade dhokla. My friend is a Gujarati. And her mom is very good at cooking Gujarati food. So I thought I would give the dhokla another try so that I pinched my husband’s portion of dhokra. 

khaman dhokla with overlay text

To my surprise, I found myself enjoying it so much so that I helped myself with a proper portion. 

Since then, I have converted. I fell in love with dhokla. 

The thing is, I find my friend’s mom’s dhokla is totally different from what I tried before. Honestly, the one that I tried before was bought from a well-known vegetarian restaurant in the Manchester area. And apparently, all my extended family speaks highly of the dhokra from this restaurant.

However, ever since I tasted my friend’s mom’s dhokra, I don’t think there is any dhokra better than hers 😄. It was her dhokra that converted me into a dhokra lover. 

She also kindly taught me how to make it. It took me so many practices to get my dhokla right. There were times that I tried making it for days in a row that I got fed up 😊.

Now, I can safely say I know how to do it right. So I’m sharing with you the recipe (with my adopted aunt’s blessing of course) and the lessons that I learned to make it right. 

2 plates of khaman dhokla

The difference between Khaman and Dhokla

It was when I learned how to make dhokla I know why I was not keen with the first dhokla that I tried.

Because the one that I had before was dhokla that was made of gram flour mixed with other grains such as semolina or rice. So the texture is slightly hard.

Whilst the dhokla that my friend’s mom gave us was actually Khaman Dhokla which is made of gram flour only. Therefore the texture is softer. 

Another reason is that my adopted aunt’s recipe has a balanced flavouring proportion that makes the dhokla so flavoursome.

How to enjoy Dhokla

Traditionally enjoyed for breakfast, you can have your dhokra/ dhokla anytime you like really.

In my household, we now eat our dhokra for our afternoon cup of tea time, along with other snacks. Sometimes my husband and I would have it as a snack in the night long after our dinner. We feel this ok because Khaman Dhokla is very light. 

I understand that dhokra is also eaten together with some chutney sauce made of spicy tamarind. But we just eat it as is. 

You can keep dhokla in the fridge/ refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Though in my house it never lasts more than two days as we all finish them all by then 😆.

You can enjoy your dhokla cold or hot/ warm. I personally prefer it warm, because I find it more comfortingly delicious. So when our dhokra has gone cooled, I would just warm it up in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds depending on the size.

Key ingredients for Dhokla

ingredients for dhokra

Gram flour/ chickpea flour

Fresh gram flour is the key to make good khaman dhokla. Because old gram flour can become bitter. So make sure you use a freshly opened chickpea flour.

Citric acid and bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda

These two ingredients are the key to get fluffy dhokla. 

I understand that some recipes use something called Eno that is an antacid brand with the main ingredients of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid. 

However, this dhokla recipe simply uses regular bicarbonate of soda and citric acid, without Eno.

Sugar and salt

These two are the basic flavour for the dhokla itself. 

Turmeric

You will only need a tiny bit of turmeric powder. A pinch or two is more than enough to bring the yellow colour of gram flour out.

Asafoetida

This spice has a strong fragrance. I suggest you go easy on it. I personally put just less than a pinch for this recipe.

Water

Sorry, I missed to put this item in the photo above.

dry ingredients for dhokra
1. dry ingredients
mixing the dry ingredients with water for making dokhra
2. mixing water with fry ingredients
dhokra mixture
3. dhokra batter ready to rest
dhokra mixture and a mixing spoon
4. adding bicarbonate of soda to dhokra mixture
dhokra mixture after baking soda added
5. fluffy batter after baking soda added
a tin of dhokra batter in a steamer
6. dhokra battter ready for steaming

Ingredients for tarka/ tadka

ingredients for tarka

Mustard seeds

You only need a quarter teaspoon of Mustard seeds. 

Sesame seeds

Same as above.

Sugar

Regular granulated sugar will do fine for this tarka.

Lemon

The juice of half of a lemon is all you need for this recipe.

Green chillies

Please choose the green bird’s eye chillies. Because they have more heat and flavour.

Oil

I use either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. Sorry I forgot to put this item in the photo.

Curry leaves

Make sure you don’t miss these curry leaves. Without them, your tadka/ tarka won’t have the same aroma.

Coriander leaves

You need these for garnish. An important garnish that gives a finishing aroma to the overall dhokra.

Water

Again, sorry I missed to include water in the photo above.

frying herbs and spices for tarka
1. fry the herbs and spices
spices and lemon juice for dhokra tarka
2. adding lemon juice
tarka for dhokla
3. adding water to tarka
sizzling tarka for dhokra
4. tarka is ready

Top tips to make Besan Dhokla

As I mentioned above, I tried the recipes numerous times because I couldn’t make my dhokla rise and fluffy. From those trials, I’ve come to realize my mistakes. 

You can take away my tips to get your dhokla fluffy:

  • When you mix the dry ingredients with water, try to use a big spoon. And stir it as you press the mixing spoon against the mixing bowl. Feel the granules of sugar and citric acid. So your goal is to get a really smooth batter without any flour lumps or sugar/citric acids granules. Because this will make your dhokla rise and fluffy. It takes me about 10 minutes to get the right kind of batter.
  • Mix the baking soda in the same manner. Press it against the bowl so that you’ll make sure it all dissolves and it doesn’t create lumps. If you don’t mix the soda well and it leaves lumps in the batter, not only will your dhokla not rise properly, but it’ll also have red spots. Because the baking soda is not distributed evenly and incorporates fully with the citric acid. 
  • Line the steamer lid with a tea towel. This way, it can absorb all the water from the steam and avoid the water drip onto your dhokla. You would also want to put something heavy on top of the lid. Just to make sure there’ll be less space/ chance for the steam to come out. So that the dhokla can get better steam pressure
  • Pierce the ready steamed dhokla with a skewer or a fork. And make sure your tarka/ tadka is warm or hot when you pour it over your dhokla. Spoon it little by little and wait in between for the tarka/ tadka to be absorbed by the dhokla.

An easy and quick recipe for Khaman Dhokla

Ingredients

khaman dhokla garnished with green chillies

Khaman Dhokla

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Khaman dhokla is a steamed savoury cake made of gram flour/ chickpea flour and is flavoured with spicy and lemony oil. It is a traditional Gujarati dish that is now popular among Pakistani and Indian cuisines.

Ingredients

  • For khaman dhokla
  • ¾ cup/ 80 gr/ 2.82 oz gram flour/ chickpea flour.
  • ¾ tsp citric acid.
  • 2 tsp sugar.
  • ½ salt.
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda.
  • A pinch of turmeric powder.
  • A pinch of Asafoetida/ Hing.
  • ¾ cup of water
  • For tarka/ tadka
  • 12 curry leaves.
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds.
  • ¼ tsp sesame seeds.
  • 2 green chillies, diagonally sliced.
  • 2 tsp sugar.
  • 2 tbsp oil.
  • ½ lemon juice.
  • ¼ cup of water.
  • A pinch of Asafoetida (optional)
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped.

Instructions

  1. For Khaman Dhokla:
  2. In a mixing bowl, put the gram flour, sugar, citric acid, salt, turmeric powder and Asafoetida. Give a stir until everything is mixed well.
  3. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture, and add in ½ cup of water. Then mix the water and the dry ingredients as you press the spoon against the bowl to help dissolve the sugar and citric acid. 
  4. When everything is dissolved, mix in the last ¼ cup of water and stir it well until you get a smooth and thick batter. Set aside and leave it to rest for about 20 minutes.
  5. Heat your steamer, grease the tin with a little bit of oil and put the tin in the steamer to heat up.
  6. When your steamer is hot and ready, and your batter has rested for about 20 minutes, stir in the bicarbonate of soda in the dhokla mixture. Mix the batter carefully and quickly. Make sure all the baking soda has dissolved.
  7. Put the batter in a hot tin and steam it for about 25-30 minutes at medium heat. 
  8. For tarka/ tadka:
  9. Heat the oil with sugar, chilli slices, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, and curry leaves.
  10. When the spices and herbs give aroma, add in the lemon juice and water. Leave to cook for a minute or two.
  11. To assemble:
  12. Using a skewer, pierce the steamed khaman dhokla several times.
  13. Spoon the tarka over the dhokla one at a time until all liquid is absorbed.
  14. Garnish the dhokla with coriander leaves.

Notes

  • Asafoetida that is also called Hing has quite a strong fragrance. I’m personally not very keen and have to be very careful in adding it to the mixture. A tiny of it is more than enough. 
  • When you mix the batter, press the spoon against the bowl so that you can feel the sugar and citric acid granules. The aim is to make all these granules fully dissolved.
  • Put something heavy on top of the steamer lid, to make sure there is no steam coming out of the steamer. I use a stone mortar. 

Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1 Amount Per Serving Calories 238Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 1mgSodium 402mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 5gSugar 9gProtein 10g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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Related posts

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now excited to try the recipe. I’ve tried my best to explain everything that I learned to get my Khaman Dhokla right. So please feel free to let me know if you have any questions regarding the recipe. Or, if you tried the recipe, you can always leave in the comments below how you like the recipe so that others will benefit too.

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out my other recipes that you may equally like. And it will be awesome if you could also show some love by sharing the post with those you love.

Thank you and all the best.

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