- serves 6
Dhokla is a Gujarati specialty. It’s made of a batter that steams to a moist cornbread texture, and then is tempered with a little flavored oil. Dhokla is always served with fresh chutney, sometimes as a snack, sometimes to accompany a meal. The amazing thing about dhokla is its versatility: it can be made of cornmeal or, more commonly, as here, a blend of dal and rice that is soaked then ground into a batter. The batter often contains yogurt.
Dhokla is one of a category of Gujarati dishes known as farshan. They are traditionally part of the meal, but eaten a little apart, as either a pre-meal appetizer or a break from the meal, in the same way that in France and Italy you might eat a little bread during the main course, as a pause.
The dal and rice need to soak for ten hours (you can leave them for 24 hours if it’s more convenient), then they are ground in the processor with yogurt and a little water to make a batter. As many cooks now do, we use baking soda to guarantee a light and well risen bread. (Traditionally the batter would instead be left to ferment for twelve hours to gain natural leavening, before being cooked.) Serve like bread, to accompany a meal.
Accompany with one or more fresh chutneys such as Fresh Coriander-Peanut Chutney. Serve as a bread to accompany a meal.
Yield: Makes one 6- to 7-inch (15 centimetre) cake pan of dhokla; serves six.
NOTE: Toovar dal is dark golden-coloured dried split peas, and is available in South Asian groceries. Black mustard seeds and curry leaves are available at most South Asian groceries.
EQUIPMENT NOTE: You’ll need a seven-inch diameter cake tin and a steamer or steaming arrangement that can hold the cake tin. We use a large 12-inch (30 centimetre) diameter pot and put into it a flat heavy lid that the cake tin of dhokla can stand on to raise it above the water. We add two inches (five centimetres) of water to the pot and bring it to a boil.