Gujarati Dhokla (Vegan)

Once considered to be a regional delicacy, Dhokla is now a popular snack throughout India born from the hearty region of Gujarat in Western India.

Dhokla is a savory snack from Gujarati, Western India and is made with split black gram, white rice and split Bengal gram in a fermented batter. Dhokla are fluffy, airy, sweet and sour in flavour and are usually prepared with spices, freshly grated coconut and coriander leaves for breakfast with masala chai or as a snack. They have a soft, springy, fluffy texture which make them beautifully light and airy. The flavours are tangy, a little spicy and slightly sweet. This is a great anytime snack. Gujaratis call these kind of snacks farsan.

Dhokla should not be confused with Khaman dhokla. Khaman dhokla is a variant made from chickpea flour (Besan). Traditionally Khaman gets its yellow colour from the chickpea flour and is widely popular outside Gujarat but is misunderstood or incorrectly known as Dhokla.

When making traditional dhokla, the batter is fermented usually using water overnight whereas Khaman uses chickpea flour with sour yogurt. This gives it the sour taste needed in the khaman.

These deliscious spongy cakes are vegan! I was surprised when I read through the recipe to find that it was a dish which could be enjoyed by vegans without any compromise on taste or texture. The omission of yogurt from this recipe had no impact on the spongy, airy and soft texture.

Try this lovelies with hot masala tea and lovely Mint Coriander Chutney.

Gujarati Dhokla (Vegan)

  • Servings: 4-6 servings
  • Difficulty: immediate
  • Print

Ingredients
675g (3 cups) organic white rice
225g (1 cup) organic split Bengal gram (chana dal)
225g (1 cup) organic split and dehusked black gram lentils (urad dal)
650ml water for soaking

Ingredients for dhokla batter
2 tablespoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon organic turmeric powder
2 tablespoons organic whole fenugreek seeds
3 tablespoons organic whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons organic ginger
3 tablespoons organic green chillies
2 tablespoons organic sesame seeds

Other ingredients
Eno fruit salts or baking soda
Organic Olive oil
Water
Organic red chilli powder
Organic desiccated coconut
Organic finely chopped fresh coriander

Method

To make this recipe easy to understand and follow, I have broken down the entire process into 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Soaking rice and dal
Step 2: Preparing dhokla batter
Step 3: Making dhokla

Step 1: Soaking rice and dal

  1. Firstly, thoroughly wash the dals and rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. In a large bowl soak the washed dals and rice together in ccold water overnight until they have sofetned.

Step 2: Preparing dhokla batter

  1. Remove the half of the water from the soaked rice and dals and add to a food grinder and grind to a paste. The ground paste will have a feel similar to that of fine semolina powder consistency from the rice in the batter.
  2. Once ground to a paste, transfer the batter to a large bowl and add turmeric powder, sesame seeds, grated ginger, salt and whole coriander and methi seeds to the batter and mix well.
  3. Cover and place in a warm area and allow to ferment overnight. In a warm or hot climate, it will take 5 to 6 hours for the batter to ferment. In a cold or cool climate, it can take more time and therefore I usually allow it to ferment overnight.

Step 3: Making dhokla

  1. Grate the ginger and crush the chillies to a fine paste.
  2. After the batter has fermented overnight, it will have risen with a sour aroma and tiny air bubbles. At this point the batter is ready.
  3. Now add the crushed green chillies and and beat the batter until fluffy and smooth. Set aside.
  4. Use a multipurpose steamer/idli maker or a large pot and place a slightly raised stand in the centre along with enough water to cover the stand ¾ of the way. Keep the pan at a medium-low to medium flame and let the water come to a boil.
  5. Next, take a stainless steel high rimmed plate (thali) and grease it lightly with oil. Set aside.
  6. Now take a clean bowl and add 3 large spoons of the dhokla batter alongside 1 ½ teaspoons of eno salts or baking soda, 2 tablespoons of oil and 4 tablespoons of hot water. Do no add the eno salts/baking soda and oil to the entire dhokla batter. Work in batches.
  7. Start mixing the batter. Start slowly and then work quickly and vigorously mix. The batter will increase in volume.
  8. Take the thali and pour this mixture into the plate. It should be half full.
  9. Spinkle red chilli powder and desiccated coconut onto the batter
  10. Then carefully place plate inside the steamer or pot on top of the stand.
  11. Tightly cover the pot and allow the dhokla to steam cook for 20 minutes.
  12. At approximately 18-20 minutes open the steamer and sprinkle freshly chopped coriander over the dhokla. Switch off the cooker and leave the lid on while you prepare the next batch of batter.
  13. Open the lid and use a skewer or toothpick to insert into the dhokla, it should come out clean. If the toothpick has batter sticking to it, then steam for a further 5 minutes or so until the toothpick or skewer comes out clean. Add water if required in the large pot or steamer.
  14. Remove the steamed dhokla plate from the pot and set aside to cool completely.
  15. Once cooled, slice the dhokla into diagnals or squares and serve with coriander mint chutney, imli chutney, ketchup or even garlic chutney.
Gujarati Dhokla

Let me know how it goes for you!!

Best Wishes,

Krishna

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