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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 foods 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.
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.
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.
Key ingredients for Dhokla
To make the steamed cake of dhokla, you will need gram flour/ chickpea flour, citric acid, bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda, turmeric, asafoetida, sugar, salt, and water.
When it comes to gram flour, make sure you use a freshly open pack of besan flour. Because fresh and new gram flour is the key to make good khaman dhokla. Old gram flour can become bitter. Thus it will give a bitter taste to your steamed cake.
The two ingredients of citric acid and bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda 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.
A little note for using 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.
Ingredients for tarka/ tadka
As for the drizzle or tadka/ tarka, you need lemon, sugar, chilli, black mustard seeds, curry leaves, coriander leaves, oil and water.
How To Make Steamed Cake Of Chickpea Flour
First, you place the dry ingredients i.e. gram flour, turmeric, salt, sugar, asafoetida and citric acid into a large bowl. You can sieve the flour if you want to.
Then, add in the water little by little as you mix and stir everything until you have a smooth batter. Leave it to rest for about 20 minutes while you get on making the tadka and get your pan ready to preheat in the steamer.
Once the batter is rested and ready to cook, add the bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda into the batter and quickly mix the batter. Your batter will expand and become very fluffy.
Quickly and carefully pour the batter in the hot pre-steamed pan. Steam the batter at medium-high heat for about 25 minutes.
Get The Tadka/ Tarka Ready
You can get your tarka ready while the dhokra batter is resting.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add in the sugar, chilli slices, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, and curry leaves. Fry until all the spices release aroma.
Then carefully pour in the water and lemon juice. Let it cook for another minute or two before you switch the heat off.
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.
How to enjoy Dhokla
Dhokra/ dhokla is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast and it makes a perfect choice to have for Sehri/ Suhoor in Ramadan. But of course 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.
Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now excited to try this Khaman Dhokla recipe. I’ve tried my best to explain everything that I learned to get the recipe 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.
- Pakistani Dahi Baray recipe.
- Mung bean curry recipe: Pakistani whole mung bean dal.
- Aloo palak: potato and spinach curry in Pakistani style.
- Aloo gosht: Pakistani style meat and potato curry.
- Pakistani lamb keema matar: minced lamb meat curry with green peas.
- Lauki gosht: Pakistani style meat curry with bottle gourd.
Thank you and all the best.