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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dhokla the way my mom used to make

Dhokla or 'Khamman' is a snack from the Indian state of Gujarat made with a fermented batter of gram (chickpeas). Chickpeas or besan in some recipes, are soaked overnight. This paste is fermented for four to five hours, then is spiced by adding chile pepper, ginger, and baking soda.

The dhokla is then steamed for about 15 minutes on a flat dish and cut into pieces. It is fried in a distinct way, where in oil is heated with mustard seeds in it, until mustard cracks, then assafoetida and chopped green chilies added to this. Sometimes, equal amount of water also added with little sugar to this oil, and then it is poured over the Khaman, after this only pieces are removed from dish.

It is usually served with deep fried chilies and Coriander leaves or Mint chutney or green papaya and chili relish (all of these recipes on this blog). It is garnished with coriander and often with grated coconut.

Khatta dhokla, Khaman dhokla, Rasia dhokla, Sandwich Dhokla and cheese dhokla are varieties of dhokla prepared by Gujarati households and are now also locally available in snack shops all over India.

The following recipe yields about 8-10 servings. This is how my mom used to make.


For Steamed Dhokla

• 3 cups Chana Daal (split chick peas without skin)

• ¼ cup Urad Daal without skin

• 1 cup rice (I used South Carolina long grain rice here)

• ½ cup Gram flour (Besan)

• 1 cup of plain Yogurt (keep it out of fridge for one night to make it little sour before using)

• ¼ cup water (if needed for accurate consistency of batter or you can add more yogurt instead of water)

• 2 tsp salt or to taste

• ¾ teaspoon Turmeric Powder

• Green Chili/ginger Paste from 2-3 Serrano peppers, 1½” of ginger

• 4 tbl spoon Oil to grease the dish to make Dhokla

• 2 Tbsp Lemon/Lime Juice

• Baking Soda (keep ¼ teaspoon measuring spoon ready for each dish of dhokla) For those of you who know Eno effervescent salt/soda powder, you can use that instead of baking soda)

For Seasoning:

• ¼ cup oil

• 1 ½ tsp black Mustard Seeds

• 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

• ¼ tsp Asafetida

• 2-3 tbls spoon Soaked chana dal

• 2 twigs fresh Curry leaves

• 2 Jalapenos or 3-4 Serrano peppers sliced

• ¼ cup Water

• 3 tbl spoon Sugar

• 4 table spoon Lemon/Lime Juice

• 1 bunch Cilantro – chopped for garnishing

• ¼ cup Grated unsweetened coconut (optional)


• Mix Chana and Urad Daals, wash well in water.

• Ssoak in water overnight (at least 8 hrs).

• Soak the rice separately for same amount of time.

• Keep some soaked chana dal aside for seasoning later,

• Drain out water and grind dals and rice separately in food processor or blender.

• Mix Rice and dal paste together and grind it together to coarse mixture but not too coarse.

• Add Yogurt and mix well.

• Add Gram/Chickpea Flour, Salt.

• Add 1/4 cup water if needed to make batter to desired consistency. (it should not be too watery, may be little thin than cake batter)

• Mix well, cover and keep in warm place overnight to ferment.

• Once fermented, add Green Chili ginger Paste, Ginger, Oil and Lemon/Lime Juice and turmeric powder.

• Mix well.

• Grease a 8” stainless steel dish (thali) with a high rim grease it with oil.

• Take a steamer with 2inches water for steaming.

• Use stand that comes with steamer or another bowl at the bottom of the pot to prop up the dish out of the water.

• Cover the pot and allow the water to come to a boil.

• In the mean time take out 3 ladles of batter in small bowl and add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda or Eno, mix well in one direction to aerate the batter.

• When the water starts to steam, uncover the pot.

• Pour the batter in to greased dish in the pot.

• Cover the pot and place some weight on the cover. ( I use my mortal and steam for 15 minutes)

• After 15 minutes, remove the steamed batter from the pot let it cool.

• In the mean time prepare another plate and batter the same way and steam another plate of Dhokla.

• When first dish is cool, cut the Dhokla in to squares, and empty them in large platter.

• Repeat the process and keep making the Dhokla until all the batter is gone.

• Once all the Dhokla are in the platter, Mix Water/Sugar/Lemon solution and mix well.

• Drizzle this over the Dhokla pieces and allow them to absorb all of the liquid.

• Heat Oil in a small skillet.

• Add Cumin and Mustard Seeds and allow them to crackle.

• Add Asafetida and green chili slices, soaked dal and curry leaves. Cook for 1-2 minutes, turn off stove.

• Drizzle the hot oil seasoned mixture over the Dhokla very carefully.

• Gently mix well until all the mixture is well incorporated and evenly coated on Dhokla (Make sure that the soft Dhokla don’t break in to crumbs while mixing).

• Garnish with chopped Cilantro Leaves and grated Coconut.

• Serve with fresh Coriander/Cilantro or Mint Chutney. (recipes on this blog)

Recipe Source: My dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben S.
All Photographs by Surekha except photo of single piece of Dhokla source wiki/File:Khaman.jpg
Description of Dhokla source:
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Dum Aloo belongs to North Indian or more specifically Kashmiri cuisine. The potatoes, usually smaller ones, are first deep fried, then cooked slowly at low flame in yogurt based gravy with Indian spices.

Believe it or not I learned how to make this dish from my mom, when I was 12 years old. My mom did not like to make it with very rich gravy/sauce, so she omitted cashews, poppy seeds and whipping cream, which was fine.
However, if you want to give it some extra richness like they serve it in restaurants, you can add these ingredients (therefore I have marked them optional).

This recipes yields ~10 serving.


• 18-20 baby potatoes, if you don't have baby potatoes you can a cut each Idaho potato in three parts and peel/carve it to somewhat round shape (that is what I did) so then you would need about 6-7 large Idaho potatoes.

• Oil for frying potatoes

For gravy/sauce

• 6 Roma ripe tomatoes cut in to halves

• 1 medium sized red onion cut in four

• 2 yellow onions cut in four

• 1/4 cup roasted cashew paste (optional)

• 1 teaspoon roasted poppy seeds (optional)

• 1 two inch piece of fresh ginger

• 8-10 cloves of garlic

• 2-3 green chillies (serrano peppers or Jalapenos)

• 2 tablespoon of lemon/lime juice

• 1 cup of tomato puree from a can

• 2 cups of plain yogurt (1 16 oz container of Dannon plain yogurt would do)

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or ghee)

• 2 teaspoon of cumin seeds

• 2 dried red chillies pods

• ½ teaspoon peppercorns

• 2 small cinnamon sticks

• 2 green cardamoms pods (optional)

• 2 black cardamom pods

• 4 cloves

• 2-3 bay leaves

• 1/3 teaspoon Asefetida powder (caution very pungent)

• 1/4 cup coriander powder*

• 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder*

• 1 teaspoon garam masala (or all spice)*

• 1 table spoon of paprika powder*

• 1 tsp of turmeric powder•

• 1 tsp of cumin powder•

• 1 tsp of ground black pepper•

• Salt to taste

• 3/4 cup of hot water

• ½ cup whipping cream (optional)

• ¼ cup finely chopped coriander for garnish


Step 1 prepare potatoes:

• Peel the potatoes, prick all over with a fork and drop them the water with little salt as you are making the holes on entire surface of each potato.

• You can let them soak in water while you are preparing the spices and garlic ginger paste (step 2, see below).

• Drain all the water from potatoes.

• Dry the potatoes on a cloth.

• Heat the oil for frying the potatoes in fryer or deep frying pan.

• Deep fry the potatoes until golden brown.

• Drain the oil by placing the potatoes on newspaper stack with top layer of paper towel so the ink does not get on potatoes at the same time the oil is nicely soaked by newspaper. Set aside.

Step 2 prepare the garlic ginger paste and prepare onions and tomatoes for gravy/sauce

• In a food processor puree fresh tomatoes and mix the crushed tomatoes with canned tomato puree. Set aside.

• In the same food processor you can grind red and yellow onions to fine paste. Set aside.

• In a small grinder or food processor make paste of roasted cashews and poppy seeds to find consistency. Set aside.

• In the same grinder make ginger garlic and green chili paste with lemon/lime juice and set aside.

Step 3 prepare sauce/gravy:

• Mix all the powdered spices marked with * in plain yogurt.

• Heat the measured ghee or oil in a deep stainless steel pan.

• When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, pepper corn cloves, cardamom pods and red chili pods.

• When the cumin seeds crackle add asefetida and immediately followed by onion paste.

• Turn the heat down to medium and saute onion paste in for 3-4 min or until golden brown.

• Add roasted cashew/poppy seeds paste, saute for 1 min. (you can roast raw cashew and poppy seeds on a skillet before grinding them)

• Add ginger garlic and chili paste, cook for 1 min.

• Add the yogurt mixed with all dry spices.

• Mix well and Cook for 3-4 min.

• Add tomatoes puree.

• Cook for 10 min.

• Stir in salt.

• Add the potatoes and hot water and stir over a low heat for 5 minutes or to desired consistency of gravy.

• Lastly add whipping cream and mix well, take it off the stove.

• Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with Naan, Chapati or over white Basmati Rice.

Recipe modified by Surekha from a recipe by her dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben.
Dum aloo description source:

Photographs by Surekha.
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