Monday, March 03, 2008

Dhokla

When I am talking of Kadhi and Khichadi... can Dhokla be far behind?(and after revealing to all of my M.O for getting a tid bit )...
Borrowing fom Nupur's term, Pillowy Goodness- dhokla spring to my mind ( oh yes, other yummy food also form a medley, but let me apply this term here.. and later you will see why I SO wanted to borrow this term!)
Going back to my alluring (!) ways of raking in samples of dhokla or being rewarded for my patience or just a matter of Mom buying the mandatory 'khau' for me on her way home from work on a Saturday ( a half working day for her), dhokla found its way in our home very often.
As also for small get together at tea-time or just a snacking option for me and my cousins when we collected at my Grandma's for summer ( a better option than chips and cookies and chocolates). However, there was this one time I found myself choking on a dhokla...

One summer.. 4 over optimistic , enthusiastic and highly over confident kids decided to rent a horror movie and watch it all by themselves. Getting the atmosphere right... Draw all curtains, bring out a pitcher of Rasna (orange) :), set out dhokla and some other snacky stuff we found. Rewind the tape. Hushed silence and fast breathing and nervous grins.. yes, all set!

Now who could think that a stupid doll would terrorise human lives? yeah, right! that same 'Chucky' or whatever he was called, made our hair stand and several large spiders do a tap dance routine down our spine! Wait... theres' more........"ssshhh, it's getting closer."

One look at me would have been enough to convince a blind and retarded person that a scream was working its way out of my body and when it surfaces, there won't be a single window un-shattered in the housing complex.
My cousin sensing this, cupped his dhokla sodden hand over my mouth to hoarsely whisper.." it's ok.." Ok? Ok?!!!!! Ok??? with that sound getting louder and adding to that the low guttural breathing a crunch and shuffle....!!! ok!!!!????!!!!
So now, we are all huddled up clutching one another with our eyes the size of dinner plates and a hand clamping my mouth and a bit of cilantro tickling my left nostril... shaking it away, I did what any person frightened out of her wits would naturally do... SCREAM. A scream that went right through flesh and bone with the others now rounding off the sound with shrill harmonics.. only to emerge out of the house seconds later, pelting out into the bright sunlight as if our und... errr.. intimate articles of clothing were on fire. I swore off dhoklas for a while.



Coming back to the present, my cooking experiments in the kitchen were many a times the hit and miss affairs, either an adventure would come off splendidly or meet a hushed up funeral and a few tears shed at the short life span. One thing that never failed to reduce me to wringing my hands in despair was Dhokla. For a seemingly simple snack, it was an insurmountable mystery to me how in the world did the others get that spongy look.. how on earth did my attempt always look like ( I had better not describe what!) a mess?

I finally gave up after about 4 failed attempts and resorted to buying a ready pack with idiot proof instructions to satisfy the craving. But that did not erase the memory of the mess..

Then one day my friend P emerges out of the mists and hands me on a platter PERFECT dhokla. I stare, gulp, poke it with an inquisitive finger to have it bounce back at me! This is it!!! I hound her for the recipe and she breezily doles it out to me. I want it writing, I cannot remember all of this.. with that promise I come to a start and realise that I have been talking so long, I haven't tasted it!! so I start stuffing away like a squirrel before winter. It tastes as good as it looks!!

So P mails me her recipe just before she leaves for a vacation in India.

Here is her secret to making spongy dhoklas!

3/4 Cup Gram flour / Besan

4 tsp Sugar

1/2tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Citric acid

1/2 tsp Soda / Eno regular fruit salt


For Tempering:

2 Tbsp Oil

10 Curry leaves

1 tsp Mustard seeds

1 tsp Sesame

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

Cilantro to garnish

1/4 tsp Salt

5- 6 Green chillies (+/ - to taste)

1/4 cup water



Phase I : Combine the besan, salt sugar and citric acid in a mixing bowl and mix with water. Mix it like you would make bhajji (fritters) cover (should not be runny) . Keep aside.

Phase II: is to make the tempering: Heat oil, add the mustard seeds, Cumin, sesame, curry leaves, green chillies and salt. To this add 1/4 cup water and bring it all to a vigorous boil. Set aside to cool and to be used later.

Phase III: We start off making the dhokla. Do the prep. Get the pressure cooker ready, remove the weight/ whistle ( to steam the dhokla in). Pour water in it and set it on the stove to boil.

Get the utensil, you want to steam the dhokla in, ready. I used my idli stand ( P's idea). Grease the molds with oil. Now set half a cup of water to boil (separately, as this water will be used to add to the batter). Once the water is boiling, add the soda to the batter, pour 1 ladle (no more) of the boiling water to the batter and whisk it briskly (fermentation). Now quickly pour the frothing batter to the molds and set the stand in the pressure cooker. Steam for 12 minutes. Switch off the heat in 12 mins. But let the dhokla sit in there for another 12 mins. Remove and set the stand (or plate , as you are using) at a slant, the logic here is that if kept flat, the dhokla 'sits' and loses it sponginess (err.. I could not come up with a better description). When cool remove from the molds , set in a plate, pour the tempering evenly all over. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro. Serve!

== Notes & Tips: The first time I made dhoklas I halved the quantities, reason: my idli stand is a mini idli stand and can make only 15 idlis/ dhoklas at a time. I did not want to waste the rest of the batter.
I used 3/4 tsp Salt for the batter instead of the prescribed 1/2 tsp.
The green chilies added to the tempering were whole, not slit or chopped, this imparts a mild flavor which is perfect for the dhoklas. Those who can bear it, can enjoy eating them as an accompaniment.
Fresh grated coconut is also used for garnish.
Serve with green cilantro chutney as an accompaniment.
Thank you very much P, for this wonderful recipe!! Now that I have had success with this recipe, I must hound her for more!!!!
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29 comments:

  1. I love dhokla very much..using Idli stand for dhokla is very good idea

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  2. they are sooo fluffy! looks gorgeous! i think we call these made with besan, "khaman" in gujarati, these have little or no rice in it.

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  3. oh, the dhoklas look so very good!!! Love it! thanx for the recipe

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  4. ooh! they look so soft n' fluffy, loved the rounded shapes :)

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  5. Love those dhoklas very tempting. I am looking for this recipe a while now I got it. Nice recipe.

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  6. Lil' pillowy goodness indeed! May i have some please :).

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  7. sigh.. i have said this on so many blogs already and saying it here again. this is one dish forever on my to do list.. i have to soon!!

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  8. Mansi, hmm can plop those beauties right into my mouth. I just made them but with store brought mix. got to try making from scratch

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  9. Heard of dhoklas, but never knew how to make them. Thanks for the recipe, Mansi! Very nice step by step instructions and the dhokla looks so lovely and yummy!

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  10. I have a similar experience with evil dead. I don't remember peeing after dark. I was that scared to even go to the loo alone :D

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  11. LOL mansi, i love to read ur write ups and this one had me in splits! i can very well imagine u 4 cousins watching horror movies all by urself coz we have done same things many a times but 3/4th of the movies behind some pillow;)
    lovely soft fluffy dhoklas there. i follow trupti's recipe and its been ages since i had them. gonna try u(ur friend's) recipe soon:)

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  12. I have never had them, but seeing that plate i wantd to dog a fort in it and have a huge mouthfull

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  13. Looks cute...ya cute!!:D Well plated...looks yummy:)

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  14. Oh my, what a story :D
    The dhoklas look too appetizing. Am sitting here in a snowstorm and the dhoklas are calling out to me! Got to try this one.

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  15. Lovely dhokla... had this at a friends place... now that i have the recipe, will make this sometime....

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  16. hehe I watched the whole Chucky series in one go, that too when I was living alone... :D Love scary movies, I do get scared though, I can't close my eyes when washing my face after watching a scary movie, but love that feeling...weird, huh? :D

    the Dkoklas look gorgeous... :)

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  17. perfect dhoklas!! they look soo soft n fluffy..

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  18. That was fun a read :) I like dhoklas and buy it from the indian store where they sell the homemade and fresh ones...but never tried making it at home!

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  19. Hi Manasi,

    I've blogged your Dhokla as a model recipe in the 1001 Idlis at
    http://ramkicooks.blogspot.com/

    /Thanks for the detailed recipe

    Ramki

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  20. Hi Trupti, it is easy to use the stand, specially since i am not too good at cutting out diamonds!

    Thank U Mythreyee & Vanmala!!

    Hi Alpa, I have always wondered about the term Khaman dhokla and dhokla being the same, so khaman can be with rice, eh?

    Thank U Ramya & Richa!!

    Musi... have the platter, making some more for ya!!!

    Nags, do try it, makes such a nice tea time snack!

    Sreelu, try it from scratch, it is easy, I can confidently say that after making them!

    Thank U , Uma, hope u try making them!

    Hi Suganya... eeeeee , evil dead.. i remember that girl sitting at the window, mentioning cards that others were playing... EVIL...aaarrrggghh! I know what u mean by not going to the loo.. I would make my parents stand outside and talk to me when i was at it!

    Hi Sia, behind the pillow during a horror flick suddenly seems SO safe, doesn't it!?! by God, I trembled so much, i have iven up watching these movies!

    Happy Cook, ome right over! a plate of dhokla, tea and chat... sound good?

    Hi Namratha, thank u so much1

    hi Nupur... bbrrrr... I kid u not, I was petrified! I have given up on horor mvies, stories, tv serials everything, not good for me, worse for the family!

    Thank U Cooker, Sandhya!

    Sig... u got guts gal... u got guts (gulp)!

    Thanx superchef!

    Shn, try them at home, easy peasy!

    Thank U Ramki!!

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  21. Delicious. i like the horror movie story and how your cousins put a dokhla in your mouth. It was funny. The pictures look great, I wish you had a picture of you in the movie :).

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  22. okie i know im reading this much later........by now you probably have the entire recipe pat.........ive done the dhoklas manytimes theyve turned soft as well but neve rlike the ones in the shop..............you know really spongy..............i must try that warm water mixed in with soda trick ........maybe thats what makes the diff.

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  23. Wow !!! it looks so tempting :)
    Thanks so much i will try that soon !

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  24. Hey..What do u mean by 3/4 Gram flour/Besan? Pls clarify.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for pointing it out, Afrin. I have changed it :)

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