Growing up in a Bengali family where fish and poultry has always been the preferred choice of protein, chickpeas always took a back seat. Except for occasional chickpea stew or using chickpea flour to make batter for deep-frying, I don’t remember seeing Mom using it a lot. Hence, it took me a while to adapt to the taste of chickpea. Arvind, on the other hand, loves the flavor of chickpea, beans or flour! So, after our marriage, I started trying my hands with a few chickpea dishes.
One of his absolute favorite snacks is KhamanDhokla (steamed chickpea cake). Making dhokla at home sounds super easy but like most easy recipes, this too has it’s own tricky part. No dhokla is good unless it’s got that spongy moist texture and getting that texture right was the tough part, at least for me! It took four flop attempts for dhokla in 7 days (yeah, I went a little stubborn there)to finally get the correct texture.
If it weren’t Kitchen Aid’s monthly theme, which is chickpea for this month, I probably wouldn’t have given homemade Dhokla any sweat. But am so glad that I did because once you really get the hang of it, it’s actually easy. Especially with the stand mixer, making the batter was totally effortless.
The key thing to remember here is that the batter should be light and airy, that can be either done by adding eno salt or a combination of baking soda, citric acid and my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. However, if you wish to avoid both of these options, you could allow the basic chickpea batter to ferment overnight, in which case, it would not be instant and require extra prep time.
Time taken: 45 minutes – 1 hours Serves: 4 -6
– Chickpea flour (besan): ½ cup
– Semolina: 1 tablespoon
– Turmeric: ½ teaspoon
– Sugar: 1 teaspoon
– Eno salt: 2 packets
– Water: 1½ cup
INGREDIENT: for the tempering
– Oil: 1 tablespoon
– Mustard seeds: ½ teaspoon
– Sugar: 1 tablespoon
– Water: ¼ cup
– Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
– Few curry leaves
– Pinch of asafoetida/hing
– Green chili (roughly chopped): 1 no.
– Few extra green chilies (optional)
– Oil an 8-inch diameter flat container. I used a cake pan.
– Next, get your steamer ready. If you don’t have a steamer, just take a large vessel like a big saucepan or a big wok that can fit your 8-inch container and the vessel should have a tight lid too. To convert that vessel into a steamer, you need to find something circular that you can be placed at the base of the vessel and on top of that, you have to place the 8-inch container.
Tip: Remember that whatever you place at the base of the vessel must allow the steam to come up. So, a definite no to plate! Look for a big strainer or tart pan ring.
– Pour 1½ cups of water in the vessel and bring it to a boil.
– In the mean time, get the batter ready. Add chickpea flour, turmeric, sugar and eno salt in your KitchenAid Stand Mixer mixer bowl. Give it a quick whisk. Then, pour 1½ cup of water and oil.
– Whisk it at a high speed for a couple of minutes. The batter should come together very quickly and it would look quite foamy.
– Pour the batter immediately to the oiled container or cake pan. Then, place it on the large vessel.
– Cover the large vessel with a tight lid making sure no steam escapes while cooking.
– Cook at medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.While the khaman dhokla gets cooked, prepare the tempering.
– Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a tiny saucepan and scatter mustard seeds along with asafoetida, curry leaves, chopped green chili and a couple of whole green chilies. Allow it to cook for two minutes. Then, pour water along with sugar, give it a stir and allow it to boil for a few minutes. Once done, switch off the heat and allow it cool off a bit.
– Finally, check the dhokla by inserting a knife or a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the dhokla is ready. Take it off the steamer and loosen the side by running a knife along it. Flip the dhokla on a serving plate and pour the warm syrup on top.
– Slice into bite size portions and serve.