cook in a curry

Gujarati Khaman Dhokla – Savoury cake with curry leaves


I remember this Gujarati snack 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.


130gms gram flour

2 tbsp semolina

Pinch of turmeric powder

2 green chillies

6gms ginger

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp sugar

Salt to taste

150mls water

2 tsp fruit salt/ Eno

1 tbsp vegetable oil

For tadka;

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 heaped tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp sesame seeds

7-10 curry leaves

80mls warm water

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp fresh grated coconut

1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

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.

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One Comment

  1. Rumi JIVANI
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Arre! AA shu majaa aavi!
    Maunika, I am pleased to come into your work by reading the Telegraph..
    I am of Gujarati ancestry , born in Kenya, lived half my life in London, and now in Canada.

    Glad to see you sharing with people some home cooking which many love , but never get in restaurants.

    London, is an exception that way.

    I am also an Ismaili, KHOJA’s as they are known commonly in Mumbai, or Agakhani, and we have unique blend of dishes that form our own foods .

    Good for you bahena


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