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- Duration: 20 minutes
- Serves: 4 people
Spice Level: Low
To get an evenly steamed Dhokla, it is best to prepare it in an authentic aluminium thali with high edges. 'Saji na phool' (source of natural citric acid) has always been used to ensure a soft texture, but it can be replaced with a fruit salt, such as Eno. It is critical that the steaming process begins immediately after the salt has been added, or else the bubbles created in the batter by the fruit salt will escape and the Dhoklas will come out hard.
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The good old Gujarati Dhokla actually originated in Indonesia. It made its way into Gujarati kitchens around 1520 AD through enterprising Silk Route traders who visited Indonesia often. The Indonesians in fact enjoyed a blander version of this fermented gram flour dish, but its recipe has been suitably improvised over the centuries by the food-loving Gujaratis. And so has the Gujarati Dhokla evolved, and become popular across the country.
- Gram flour (besan) (1 cup)
- Semolina (Sooji) (1½ tbsp)
- Sugar (3½ tsp)
- Ginger and Green Chilli paste (1 tsp)
- Lemon juice (1 tsp)
- Citric acid or fruit salt (Saji na phool) (1½ tsp)
- Oil (1½ tsp)
- Rai (black mustard seeds) (1½ tsp)
- Black sesame seeds (Kaala til) (½ tsp)
- Green chillies(Hari mirch), finely chopped (2)
- Asafoetida (Hing) (a pinch)
- Curry leaves (Kadipatta) (10-12)
- Coriander leaves (Hara dhaniya), finely chopped (2 tbsp)
- Salt (to taste)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the besan, sooji, sugar, ginger and green chilli paste, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.
- Add water, a little at a time, to make a thick batter.
- Whisk the batter well using a fork or a hand-blender to ensure that no lumps are formed. Tap the bowl on the kitchen counter or any other solid surface to release trapped air bubbles, if any. Set the batter aside for 5 minutes.
- While the batter is resting, grease an authentic aluminium thali with high edges. Ensure that the sides too are greased well.
- When you are ready to cook the Dhokla, add in the saji na phool or fruit salt along with 2 teaspoons of water. Bubbles will start to form immediately. Mix thoroughly and pour immediately into the greased thali.
- Tilt the pan and start pouring in a circular motion to form even layers of the batter about half an inch thick. If your batter forms a thicker layer, you may need a bigger thali because the Dhokla rises during the cooking process and may spill out.
- Half fill a pressure cooker with water and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the flame and place an aluminium jaali (sieve) on the water. Balance the batter-filled thali on the jaali and close the lid.
- Remove the cooker whistle and let the batter steam on a medium flame for about 15 minutes or till the Dhokla batter is cooked through. (To check if done, pierce the Dhokla with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the Dhokla is ready.)
- Carefully remove the pan from the pressure cooker.
- For the tadka, heat the oil in a pan and add the rai. When they begin to crackle, add the hing, til, kadipatta and hari mirch and sauté on a medium flame for 30 seconds.
- Take the tadka off the flame, and while keeping a safe distance to avoid any splatter, add 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well and pour immediately over the Dhokla, coating the pan evenly.
- Once the Dhokla is cool enough to be handled, run a knife around the edges of the thali to release it. Using a flat ladle, gently transfer it to a chopping board or a flat plate.
- Use a lightly greased knife to cut equal-sized Dhokla squares or wedges.
- Garnish with chopped hara dhaniya and serve warm or cool with mint and tamarind chutneys.
In Your Kitchen
You may use any aluminium vessel that fits into your pressure cooker to cook the Dhokla, but make sure that it is deep enough to allow the batter to rise without spilling out.