Khatta Dhokla| Gujarati Savoury Steamed Rice Cakes

Khatta Dhokla, anyone?

As much as we love having South Indian fare – idli, dosa, uttappam, rava upma, semiya upma, kuzhi paniyaram and the likes – for breakfast, Gujarati food finds pride of place on our table too. Dhokla, a steamed savoury cake from Gujarat, often makes an appearance at our place for breakfast or dinner. In different Gujju families, dhokla is made in different ways – using a variety of grains, in varying proportions. The Khatta Dhokla recipe I am sharing here today is from a childhood friend of mine, tried and tested several times over.

More about Khatta Dhokla

Khatta Dhokla‘, as the name suggests, refers to rice cakes that have a lovely sour taste to them. In this particular recipe, idli rice is the star ingredient, with some urad dal and chana dal also being used. The sourness comes from the use of curd and from allowing the batter to ferment well.

Considering the batter is fermented, the dhokla turn out very soft and fluffy, without the need for cooking soda or Eno Fruit Salt. They are steamed in a pressure cooker, with very little oil used only in the tempering – this makes the Khatta Dhokla a very healthy and highly nutritious thing.

These Khatta Dhokla are different from the Idada that I had posted about earlier. Those are made using idli batter, while these call for a specific type of batter to be ground.

How to serve Khatta Dhokla

Well-made Khatta Dhokla taste absolutely delicious and are a joy to eat. They can be served on their own, without the need for any accompaniment. However, if you do need a dip of some sort with them, some green chutney or Kadhi Chutney would go beautifully with them.

Khatta Dhokla, cut and ready to serve

Are these Khatta Dhokla vegan and gluten-free?

This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that can be easily made gluten-free by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India contain wheat flour to some extent and are, hence, not gluten-free. However, if you manage to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

Thanks to the addition of curd in the recipe, it is not vegan or plant-based.

Khatta Dhokla recipe for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is #NutriBrekkie, wherein all of us are showcasing nutritious breakfast recipes. The theme was suggested by Sujata, the very talented blogger at Batter Up With Sujata. Her blog is a treasure house of traditional Bengali dishes like Chhanar Dalna and Data Posto, including several innovative sweets like Chilli Rasgulla and Hazelnut Chocolate Sandesh. On her blog, there are also many unique bakes like Gluten-Free Fruit Cake, Eggless Litchi Loaf Cake and Orange Cranberry Cornmeal Cake that you would be hard-pressed to find somewhere else. Do check out her blog – it’s well worth it!

And, now, without further ado, here’s how we make the Khatta Dhokla.

Ingredients (makes 3 batches of 10-12 pieces each):

1. 1 cup idli rice

2. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds

3. 1/2 cup whole white urad dal

4. 1/4 cup chana dal

5. 1/2 cup thick sour curd

6. 2 green chillies

7. 5-6 cloves of garlic
8. Salt to taste
9. Oil, as needed to grease the steaming vessel

For the tempering:
1. Oil, a few teaspoons
2. Mustard seeds, as needed
3. A little asafoetida
4. Some finely chopped fresh coriander (optional)
5. A few sprigs of fresh curry leaves

6. A few teaspoons of sesame seeds (optional)


1. Wash the dosa rice + fenugreek seeds, urad dal and chana dal well under running water, separately. Drain out all the excess water from the ingredients. Then, add in enough fresh water to cover the ingredients fully. Soak the ingredients separately for 6-8 hours or overnight.

2. When the ingredients are done soaking, drain out the excess water from them.

3. Transfer the urad dal to a mixer jar. Chop the chillies roughly and peel the garlic cloves. Add these to the mixer jar too. Add in the curd as well. Grind to a smooth batter. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel.

4. Now, transfer the washed and drained chana dal to the pan, along with the dosa rice. Add in a little water. Grind to a slightly coarse batter – neither too smooth, nor too coarse. Transfer this batter to the large vessel too.

5. Add salt to taste to the vessel. Mix both types of batter in the vessel well, using your hands.

6. Cover the batter and let it rest in a warm place in your kitchen, undisturbed, for 8-10 hours. By this time, the batter should ferment.

8. Once the batter ferments, it is ready to make Khatta Dhokla. In case you are not planning on using it immediately, it can be stored, refrigerated, for 2-3 days. To make the dhokla, grease a wide vessel using a little oil. Take some water in a pressure cooker base and place it on high flame, with a trivet placed inside. Place the greased vessel over the trivet. Allow the water in the pressure cooker base to start boiling, and for the greased vessel to get slightly heated up. Now, pour batter evenly inside the greased vessel, up to 1/4 inch in height. Close the pressure cooker. Cook on high flame for about 12 minutes, without putting the whistle on. Switch off gas.

9. Wait for about 5 minutes to get the cooked dhokla out of the cooker. Meanwhile, prepare the tempering. Heat a little oil for the tempering, in a small pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Now, turn the flame down to medium and add some curry leaves, sesame seeds (if using), and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Pour this tempering evenly over the cooked Khatta Dhokla. Cut the dhokla into pieces, using a spatula. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (if using). Serve hot or at room temperature. Prepare dhokla from all the batter, in a similar fashion.

Tips & Tricks

1. I don’t usually add any cooking soda or Eno Fruit Salt while making these Khatta Dhokla. If you prefer, you may add in a bit to make the dhokla fluffier.

2. Use day-old slightly sour curd while grinding the batter, for best results.

3. Make sure the batter is well fermented, before proceeding to make the Khatta Dhokla.

4. Adjust the number of green chillies you use in the batter, as per personal taste preferences.

5. Ideally, steaming for 12 minutes on high flame is just right to cook the Khatta Dhokla. The cooking time might vary depending upon the water content in the batter, level of fermentation and make of pressure cooker. You should be steaming the dhokla till a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

6. I prefer giving these Khatta Dhokla a simple tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. You can use more or less ingredients in the tempering, as you prefer. Some Gujjus do not temper these dhokla, but serve them with a generous dousing of red chilli powder or black pepper powder.

7. You can grind the batter as fine or coarse as you prefer. I usually grind the urad dal fine, keeping the dosa rice and chana dal ever so slightly coarse.

8. Do not add much water while grinding the batter for the Khatta Dhokla. The batter should be thick with only very slight runniness.

9. As mentioned above, any leftover batter can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days, and used as needed. I use leftover batter to make dosa and kuzhi paniyaram, and they turn out quite delicious too.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

22 thoughts on “Khatta Dhokla| Gujarati Savoury Steamed Rice Cakes

  1. Khatta dhokla with lentils and dosa rice sounds absolutely healthy Priya and the flavorful tempering is making it all the more inviting .


  2. I love khatta dhokla or idra as we call it. However, have not thought of serving them for breakfast as we usually make it to go with aam ras and puri. Next time I will add chana dal too.


  3. I like this way of making the dhokla, where the batter ferments naturally. Loving the delicious soft and spongy ones perfect with some tea


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