I remember snacking on Gujarati Khaman Dhokla with chai very fondly. Eating it at street stalls or at home in India with lashings of sweet tangy coriander chutney and a touch of tamarind chutney. This spongy savoury cake has just the perfect flavours drizzled with a tempering oil of gorgeous spices giving it that added moistness. Mustard seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves give the ‘Dhokla’ the required texture with a hint of spiced chilli, fresh coriander & freshly grated coconut. Now doesn’t that sounds like a snack you want to delve into!
Traditionally the one I have eaten in India is usually made with ground lentils & rice; this however is the easier and quicker way to make it without all the soaking and grinding required. I add fruit salt to the gram flour mix which gives it the added light spongy feel. Dhokla with chutney and a cup of masala chai makes up for this gloomy January winter I promise you.
Line a sandwich/ cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with the vegetable oil. Pound the chillies and ginger to a coarse paste in a mortar & pestle.
In a bowl sift the gram flour and add to it the semolina, turmeric powder, ginger chilli paste, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Now add the water a little at a time and form a thick runny batter. Leave the batter to rest for 5 mins or so.
Now add the Eno and stir well. As it starts to form bubbles tip the batter into the greased cake tin. Steam in a sauce pan or steamer for 18-20 minutes on a medium heat with a lid on. Press the dhokla lightly to check if it’s ready. It should feel light and fluffy. Prick it with a toothpick all over to form little gaps for the tempered oil to seep through which will keep it moist.
For the tadka/ tempering; heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds. Now add the sesame seeds stir to make sure they colour lightly followed by the curry leaves. Add water and sugar. Add the mix all over the dhokla letting it soak for a few minutes. Take it out of the cake tin serve warm garnished with fresh coconut & coriander.