This is my first successful attempt at making dhokla from SCRATCH. I have tried making dhokla several times while I was in college, but unfortunately they never came out soft and spongy. So I finally gave up and never tried making these from scratch for all these years since I got married. Last week I stumbled upon a dhokla recipe on Tarla Dalal's website which motivated me to give this yet another try. Mustering up courage, I finally made these dhoklas and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. That’s when I realized that probably the key to making good dhokla is using fresh fruit salt and baking soda (if the recipe calls for it) and not over mixing the batter after adding these ingredients.
The most common traditional dhokla is made from gram flour, but this unusual combination of chawli dal (black eyed peas), spinach and methi made these soft fluffy dhoklas very flavorful and unique tasting. I garnished the dhoklas with fresh grated coconut, finely chopped cilantro and a sweet and spicy vaghar ("Phodni" in marathi or "tempering" in English) which enhanced the flavor even more.
1 cup chawli dal / dal of black eyed beans
½ cup chopped methi/ fenugreek leaves
½ cup chopped spinach leaves
3 green chillies
¼ teaspoon hing/ asafoetida
2 tablespoon yoghurt
¼ teaspoon haldi/ turmeric powder
2 teaspoon oil
2 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon fruit salt
salt to taste
For the tempering -
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 pinch hing
1 chopped green chilli
5-6 curry leaves
2 tsp sugar (optional)
2-3 teaspoons oil
For the garnish -
finely chopped cilantro
1. Soak the dal for 4 hours.
2. Grind the soaked dal with the green chillies, adding a little water.
3. Add the methi, spinach, hing, turmeric, yoghurt, oil and salt and mix well.
4. When you wish to steam the dhoklas add the fruit salt to the batter, sprinkle a little water over it and mix gently.
5. Pour into a greased thali or pressure cooker pans and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Insert the tip of the knife in the dhokla and if it comes out clean it is ready.
6. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
7. Prepare the tempering by heating the oil; add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle.
8. Add the cumin seeds, sesame seeds, chopped green chilli, curry leaves and hing and remove from the flame. Pour 3-4 teaspoon of water into the oil once it has cooled and add some sugar to this. Pour the tempering over the dhoklas.
9. Cut into squares, garnish with the coconut and cilantro
10. Serve hot with green chutney.