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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Live Dhokla

Now here is another variety of dhokla that are supposedly becoming a popular street food in Gujarat and believe it or not, they are called live dhokla. The title itself caught my attention when I saw them on a TV cook show. If I recall correctly, the chef was mentioning that these dhokla are called so because they are prepared live in front of the customers and are served fresh and warm unlike the traditional dhokla and are quite becoming a rage.
My local "Patel Brother's" grocery shop sells freshly made dhokla, samosas, dabeli and similar stuff on weekends and they would be gone like hotcakes in under an hour or so. My husband is a great patron of that store and so I can understand the popularity considering that they are served warm. 
The recipe is quite simple though a bit of pre-planning is required since the batter needs to be fermented. And don't worry, there is no grinding involved here. All you need is a bowl, a spoon and a couple of minutes. The recipe uses flours and so the batter can be whipped up in a jiffy, right before you go to sleep. Unlike the traditional ones, these are thinly made and are smeared with oil as soon as they are steamed. There is no mustard - sesame seed seasoning or garnishing with cilantro or coconut. These dhokla are soft, spongy and are slightly on the tangy side. These thin dhokla bites are a great evening snack / breakfast item when paired with green chutney posted below and a sweet chutney.
1/2 cup handvo flour
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 cup corn flour
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup slightly sour yogurt
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp baking soda 
Water as needed (I added about 3/4 cup.)
Salt to taste
A pinch of asafoetida powder
1 finely chopped green chili
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp oil

Store-bought or homemade handvo flour can be used. If preparing at home, use rice and a mixture of dals in the ratio 1:1 and grind them coarsely. You can use basically any variety of skinned dal than can be found in an Indian kitchen. For example: Urad dal (skinned black gram), chana dal (split chick peas), toor dal (lentils), moong dal, masoor dal and/or any other dal. I prepared it using rice, urad dal, chana dal and toor dal.

* Mix the flours and turmeric powder in a bowl. (If you don't have turmeric powder, you can leave it out but the dhokla would end up white.)
* Combine yogurt and 1/2 tsp baking soda in another small bowl and whisk. Add this to the above flour mixture and mix well with a spoon. 
* Next add water as needed and mix to make a thick batter (thicker than dosa batter). I had to add about 3/4 up water.
* Cover and let the batter sit to ferment overnight or for about 7 - 8 hours or lesser time if you live in a hot climate. (I prepared my batter around 10.30 pm and prepared dhokla in the morning.)
 * In the morning / just before steaming the dhokla, grease a thali (stainless steel plate with high edges) or a circular cake tin of about 6- 7 inches in diameter. Keep your steamer / pressure cooker ready for steaming by pouring water in the base and turning on the heat.  * Add salt, asafoetida and green chili to the fermented batter and mix well with a ladle.
* Add 1/2 tsp baking soda to 2 - 3 tbsp. of hot water and stir it with a spoon and add it to the batter. Stir the batter vigorously using a ladle in clockwise motion for few seconds. You would notice the effervescence and the batter turns frothy. 
(If you are going to use one thali to steam at a time, my advice would be to work with the fermented batter in batches to retain the action of baking soda. Use half of the fermented batter and add 1/4 tsp baking soda as explained in this step, pour into the container and steam. When ready to steam the next batch of dhokla, use the remaining half of the batter and again add the hot water and 1/4 tsp baking soda. )
* Similar to sandwich dhokla, these are also kept thin and so pour about a cup of batter (about 1/2 cm thickness) into the greased thali / circular container you are going use to steam dhokla. Gently shake the thali / container to ensure that batter is spread evenly. (I used two 8 inch containers and poured the batter at about 1/2 cm thickness and steamed them in my pressure cooker.)
* Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp red chili powder over it. Place it in the steamer / pressure cooker and cover it. Remember to not use a whistle on if using a pressure cooker.
* Steam on medium flame for about 15 - 20 minutes or until a knife / toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Another way of checking is, removing the lid and trying to touch the surface of the dhokla with wet hands. The surface wouldn't be sticky when done. However be careful with the latter method. This needs experience and caution as there is the risk of burning hand with the hot steam if attention is not paid. I follow this method but follow it at your own risk. :)
* Allow it to rest for a couple of minutes and brush it with about a tsp of oil over the surface using a flat surfaced wooden spatula. Cut into squares using the same spatula or a knife.

These dhokla were served with a green chutney in the show. It is quite simple to prepare. Just bend together finely the following ingredients.

Ingredients for chutney:
1/4 cup daliya / roasted, split chick peas
3 -4  tbsp. cilantro
1 - 2 green chillies
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste  
1 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp. yogurt

This is my entry for BM #43 under the theme "dhoklas".
Check here to know what other marathoners are cooking.



Srividhya Manikandan said...

Nice. Have to dry it with store bought flour though :-)

Manjula Bharath said...

wow thats very interesting info to know that these dhoklas are prepared live in front of the customer :) At first while reading the title i was too bit confused and now i know .. super delicious varieties from you dear :) this now looks super tempting !!

Hamaree Rasoi said...

This is indeed yet a delicious variety of dhokla. Must have tasted simply wonderful.Thanks for posting.Even the chutney is lovely to look at.

Kalpana Sareesh said...

a very delicious one.

Priya Suresh said...

Such an attractive name, definitely a delicious one, loved the reason behind the same..Seriously loved ur different dhoklas..

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Srivalli said...

From the name to the dish, it sounds and looks great Suma..I enjoyed your dhokla series..s I said, had I known your collection, would have made you do more..:)...btw need to check out handvo flour

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

Wow super tempting and yummy dhokla... Nice to hear the reason behind the name Live Dhokla... ;)

vaishali sabnani said...

Live Dhokla:) it surely lead to suspense. .well here in India also ee get these dhoklas but with different flour..also the rage of live cooking makes it interesting. .the Gujju handvo and dhokla flour is the same..but sold by different names:)

Pavani N said...

What soft and delicious looking dhoklas. Love your presentation.

Varadas Kitchen said...

Very interesting, the name and the dhokla.

Harini-Jaya R said...

Interesting name to the dhokla. Now do you mind sharing the name of the cooking show? Sounds like a unique one :)

Nalini's Kitchen said...

Interesting name and nice to know the reason behind the name..BTW dhokla looks so delicious and fluffy..feel like grabbing it.

Chef Mireille said...

as soon as I saw the name was wondering why it is called so...Interesting

Anonymous said...

Corn flour means makai ka atta or the regular cornflour?

Suma Gandlur said...

I mean regular corn flour.