Khatta Dhokla| Gujarati Steamed Rice & Lentil Cakes

Dhokla, a steamed snack from the state of Gujarat, has many avatars. It is a favourite breakfast and meal in Gujarati households, prepared in several different ways as well. Different combinations of rice and lentils, different grains feature in the dhokla made by different Gujarati families. Today, I am about to share with you all a recipe for Khatta Dhokla, as shared with me by a Gujarati neighbour of mine.

Check out this beauty! Khatta Dhokla, steamed and just out of the cooker!

What is Khatta Dhokla?

‘Khatta Dhokla’ literally translates into ‘sour savoury cakes’ in Gujarati. This is one of the many varieties of dhokla made in Gujarat, generally prepared using rice and a combination of one or more lentils. This particular version is made using idli rice and a mix of chana dal, urad dal and toor dal. The sourness in the dish comes from the addition of curd and proper fermentation of the batter.

The preparation of Khatta Dhokla requires a little prior preparation. The grains need to be soaked well, then ground to a batter and fermented. Once the batter is ready, though, making these dhokla is no tough task.
The batter is then steamed and tempered, with minimal use of oil. Since we are fermenting the batter, there is no need for the use of Eno Fruit Salt or cooking soda here. This is, therefore, a very healthy dish filled with the goodness of whole grains.

Steamed and tempered Khatta Dhokla, ready to serve!

How to make Khatta Dhokla

I have already shared one recipe for Khatta Dhokla on my blog. This version is a bit different from that one, in terms of the ingredients used. I have prepared Khatta Dhokla using this method several times over, and they always turn out spongy-soft and delicious. These are quite the favourite at home!

Let us take a look at how these Khatta Dhokla are prepared.
Ingredients (makes 2 batches of about 15 pieces each)

1. 1-1/2 cups idli rice

2. 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

3. 1/2 cup chana dal

4. 1/4 cup urad dal

5. 1/4 cup toor dal

6. Salt to taste

7. 5-6 cloves of garlic

8. A 1-inch piece of ginger

9. 2 green chillies or as per taste

10. About 3/4 cup of thick curd

11. 2-3 tablespoons of grated bottle gourd, per batch (optional)

For the tempering, per batch:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
  6. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


1. Take the idli rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds together in a bowl. Wash them thoroughly, then soak in enough water for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. Take the chana dal and toor dal together in another bowl. Wash well. Soak in sufficient water for 8-10 hours or overnight.

3. When all the above ingredients are done soaking, drain out the water from them.

4. Transfer the washed and drained idli rice to a mixer jar. Add in the curd. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly too. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies to the mixer jar too. Grind to a smooth paste. Transfer this batter to a large, clean and dry vessel.

5. Now, transfer the soaked and drained urad dal and fenugreek seeds to the mixer jar. Grind all these ingredients together to a smooth batter, using a little water if required. Once done, transfer this batter to the large vessel too.

6. Add the soaked and drained chana dal and toor dal to the mixer jar. Grind coarsely, adding a little water if required. Transfer this ground batter to the large vessel as well.

7. Add salt to the large vessel. Mix all the three types of batter in the vessel well, using your hands.

8. Let the batter rest, covered, in a warm place for 7-10 hours or till it ferments and rises in volume. Once it ferments, the batter is ready to make Khatta Dhokla.

Topmost left: The idli rice and lentils, soaked and drained, Topmost right: Step 4, Centre left: Step 5, Centre right: The chana dal and toor dal, coarsely ground and ready, Bottom left and right: Steps 7 and 8

9. To make Khatta Dhokla, mix 2-3 tablespoons of bottle gourd (if using) with half of the fermented batter. Add some water if the batter is too thick. Grease the bottom and sides of a wide vessel with some oil. Add 1 cup of water in a pressure cooker bottom, place a stand within, and place the greased vessel atop the stand. Place the cooker on high flame and let the water inside start boiling, in which time the greased vessel will have heated up too. At this stage, pour the batter with bottle gourd into the heated greased vessel. Close the pressure cooker. Cook on high flame for 12-15 minutes or till the dhoklas are done. Do not put the whistle on.

10. While the dhoklas are cooking, we will prepare the tempering. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, sesame seeds and curry leaves, and let them stay in for a few seconds. Switch off gas. Do not burn the tempering. Pour this tempering evenly over the dhoklas, once they are done cooking.

11. Spread the finely chopped coriander evenly over the cooked dhokla. Serve the Khatta Dhokla hot or at room temperature.

Top left: The water in the pressure cooker being heated, Top right: Adding some water to the batter, Centre left: The vessel, greased and ready for steaming, Centre right: The batter poured into the greased vessel for steaming, Bottom left and centre: The batter being steamed, Bottom right: The tempering for the dhokla

13. Prepare the second batch of batter similarly, with grated bottle gourd. Steam in a similar manner, then temper and garnish them the same way.

It’s raining ‘Steamed Recipes’ at the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

This post is brought to you in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of food bloggers who post based on a pre-determined theme every month. The participants form pairs, and each pair exchanges two ingredients which are used to cook the dish for the month’s theme.

The theme for this month is ‘Steamed Recipes’ suggested by Anu of Ente Thattukada. Check out the lovely Vattayappam or Kerala-Style Steamed Rice Cakes that she prepared for the theme!

My partner for the month is Sujitha of Sujitha’s Easy Cooking. I gave her the two ingredients of cardamom and moong dal, and she went on to use them to prepare these delicious Kozhukattai or Tamilnadu-Style Sweet Dumplings. You should also take a look at this beautiful Karadayan Nombu Adai, another traditional steamed snack from Sujitha’s blog.

Sujitha assigned me the ingredients toor dal and salt, and I decided to make these Khatta Dhokla.

Are these Khatta Dhokla vegan and gluten-free?

These Khatta Dhokla are completely vegetarian, but they are NOT vegan or plant-based because of the use of curd.

They can be made gluten-free by avoiding the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most brands of asafoetida available in India contain wheat flour and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. Do not be intimidated by the long proceedure I have listed out. The process of making Khatta Dhokla is fairly simple and requires quite basic ingredients. I have tried to share the method in detail so readers find the dhoklas really easy to prepare.

2. Make sure you mix the salt into the batter using your hands. This helps kick-start the process of fermentation.

3. Use fresh curd that isn’t too sour. I use home-made curd.

4. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and garlic cloves you use, as per personal taste preferences.

5. You may skip using the bottle gourd, but I would highly recommend it. It adds a nice texture and taste to the Khatta Dhokla, and also helps make them soft.

6. If you are not making dhokla immediately after the batter ferments, you can store the batter in the fridge for later. It stays well for 3-4 days. Add in the bottle gourd just before you steam the dhokla.

7. The time taken for the batter to ferment depends upon a lot of factors – weather conditions, ingredients used, sourness of the curd, etc. For me, it takes 7-8 hours in hot weather and up to 10 hours when it is colder.

8. For best results, grind the idli rice and urad dal smooth. The chana dal and toor dal should be coarsely ground.

9. Idli rice is a fat variety of rice that is typically used in making idlis. It works wonderfully in this batter. You can use boiled rice instead, too.

10. These Khatta Dhokla can be served with Kadhi Chutney or any other accompaniment of your choice.

11. If the batter is too thick, you can add in a little water before steaming it. The ideal consistency of the batter is thick but not overly so, and definitely not runny.

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

36 thoughts on “Khatta Dhokla| Gujarati Steamed Rice & Lentil Cakes

  1. I am loving the addition of bottle gourd here Priya. A nice way to sneak it in as well as add some taste and texture to the dhokla. The pic is very tempting


  2. These dhoklas are my favorite but I almost end up making khaman more often than these khatta dhoklas. Your recipe is super tempting and definitely on my to do list asap.


  3. Me and my kids love Khatta Dhokla, but never added bottle gourd to it.. will try next time when I make it.. Looks super delicious and inviting.


  4. Khatta dhokla sounds a flavorful snack and with the addition of bottle gourd it is all the more healthy. Would love giving it a try sometime.


  5. Khatta dhokla looks super tasty, heard about this recipe many times but never tasted. Loved yours recipe a lot, bookmarking to try it soon. Can imagine the taste of fermented mixed dal, idli rice taste & tempering on dhokla made it more inviting.


  6. This khatta dokla recipe is a treasure. Absolutely love the addition of bottle gourd. I love this vegetable in any form.


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