Dhokri or Dhokla – Steamed Savoury Cake

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Dhokri is my comfort food… I ate a lot of it whilst growing up and could count on there being a plateful of dhokri at any given event.  Apart from being a delicious mouthful Dhokri does make for the perfect finger food.  The lemony yellow snack would shine away as if peeking out from behind a cloud – heavy with rain. The tangy sponginess accompanied by the snappy crunch of the sesame seeds, laced with the herby aroma of the cilantro will have you salivating unapologetically.

Dhokri is a slightly spicy and tangy savory snack mostly made in Gujarati homes.  It has the texture of a light sponge cake.  The bulk of the recipe is made with chickpea flour and the dough is tied with either buttermilk or yogurt, along with several spices and left to ferment overnight.  It’s then steamed in trays, cooled, cut and garnished with fresh cilantro, sesame and black mustard seeds.  It does seem kind of daunting at first, but believe me once you get the hang of it, it’s ‘putsy peasy’.

Every family has their own version of the recipe and each, obviously claims to possess the finest one!   I have several recipes on hand including my mum’s, my neighbor’s from my childhood, my aunts, my grandma’s and my grandma’s sister’s recipe.  Okay… so you get the point.  This recipe is a version of Amina Maasi’s Recipe, my Naanima’s sister, sweet old lady.

Anyway, I decided to make a wheat free version of her Dhokri recipe, as I too have a wee bit of a gluten intolerance and have been playing around with several of these recipes.  I swapped out the semolina flour for cornflour, not to be confused with cornstarch or cornmeal.  The dhokri, to my surprise, steamed gracefully the very first time I made it.  I have made this recipe several times now and it has been a ‘hit’ amongst friends and family.  Therefore, I confidently pass this recipe on to you.

Dhokri

Making the Dhokri

Makes 2 x 8″ round cakes

Step One 

2 cups chick pea flour (besan)

½ cup rice flour

½ cup cornflour (not cornstarch or cornmeal)

2 tbsp oil

¼ turmeric

2 tbsp white sesame seeds (crushed)

Salt to taste, ( I use about 1 1/2 tsp)

2 cups plain yogurt

¼ teaspoon citric acid*

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl.

Mix well making sure there are no lumps.

The mixture should resemble a thick pancake batter.

Cover and leave to ferment on the counter overnight.

 

Step Two 

2 teaspoons green chilies, ground to a paste

½ tsp fresh ginger, ground to a paste

1 ½ tsp fresh garlic, ground to a paste

1 tsp crushed cumin seeds, crushed slightly with a mortar and pestle

Extra oil for coating pans

2 tsp Eno (fruit salts) or 1 tsp baking soda

Add the green chilies, ginger, garlic and cumin seeds to the fermented yogurt batter.

Dhokri Batter

Dhokri Batter

 

Stir to combine all the ingredients.

Divide the dough into half.

(see notes below on how to steam the dough)

Grease the  8″ cake pans with oil and set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon of Eno or 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, into half of the fermented batter.  Stir vigorously and immediately pour into the cake pan.

Place into a steamer of choice and steam for 15 mins.

Test as you would for a cake, a toothpick should come out clean when ready.

Repeat with the left over dough using the second cake pan.

Sprinkle with the Vigaar (see step three) while still warm.

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Step Three making the Vigaar

¼ cup rice bran oil, or any flavorless oil

2 tsp black mustard seeds

2 tsp white sesame seeds

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly

In small frying pan, heat the oil on high.

Once the oil begins to shimmer slightly, and is not smoking hot,  immediately add the black mustard and sesame seeds.

Remove from the heat and cover loosely with a lid, they will begin to pop ferociously and you will see a bit of smoke.  The popping will subside making it safe to open the lid.

Spoon the hot vigaar evenly over the dhokri cut into neat 2″ diamond shapes.

Remove the dhokri from pan with a spatula and serve immediately.

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Tips

  • I use Bobs Red Mill brand of stone milled whole grain cornflour.  It has the texture of all purpose flour.  Please do not use cornstarch or cornmeal.
  • * Use the tangiest yogurt possible.  If it’s not sour enough leave it on the counter, unrefrigerated for a day or two.  If for some reason that makes you stay awake at night, that’s totally fine.  Just add  the citric acid and that will do the trick.
  • Left over dhokri will keep for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Tastes great cold and at room temperature too.
A Bowl of Sunshine

A Bowlful of Sunshine

 

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16 thoughts on “Dhokri or Dhokla – Steamed Savoury Cake

  1. Def sunshine in a bowl! I love the mealie ones too. And with xtra hot green chilli sauce…
    I’m def gonna try this on the weekend. Also help me stock up my kitchen 😉

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    • Hey Zayni! Yup this will definitely get you started with stocking up your pantry! It’s fun starting anew but a lil scary too! I loved the mealie (corn) ones too. Will have to make some soon 🙂

      Like

    • Hey Nasimah! I usually steam my dhokri in a large based pot, about 20inches in diameter. I add about 3 inches of water to the pot, and then place a small colander on the base on which I balance the cake pan ready to be steamed. This can get a little tricky and sometimes results in scalded hands, especially if the pot is too small.
      I would recommend using a large bamboo steamer if you have one, this works really well.
      If you absolutely love dhokri and make it a lot, I would suggest investing in a dhokla steamer from an Indian store or it can be easily bought on amazon.
      Hope this helps!

      Like

  2. this looks fantastic! Have never seen anything like this. I know you said it’s good as a snack, but could you also serve it as a side dish? And if yes, then with what?

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  3. I can’t wait to try these! I just had a big party where guests all brought a dish, and two guys from India brought a panful of these with two amazing chutneys. How funny that I would find your post right afterward 🙂

    Like

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