Dal Dhokli is one of those dishes I did not take to immediately. I grew up not liking it, though my grandmother was known to make an extremely delicious version. Over time, though, I acquired a taste for it – even started loving it – and making it myself. In today’s post, I will be sharing a Dal Dhokli recipe, the way I have known it.
What is Dal Dhokli?
Dal Dhokli is a traditional Gujarati dish, a simple thing at heart. Wheat flour is spiced and bound into a dough, which is then rolled out into circles and cut into little diamonds (the ‘dhokli’). These diamonds are then cooked in a very flavourful lentil broth (the ‘dal’). There are, thus, two major components to this dish – the sweet-spicy-tangy-salty dal, which is similar to the Gujarati Khatti Meethi Dal, and the dhoklis. The combination of the two is very delicious, very filling, and very satisfying. It wouldn’t be wrong to call the Dal Dhokli a Gujarati version of pasta, me thinks. 🙂
The list of ingredients for the Dal Dhokli might seem long and the proceedure daunting, but it is actually not a very difficult dish to prepare. It might take a bit of practice to perfect, but that’s not a tall ask. I would urge you to try it out, if you haven’t already. It’s not just a delicious confection, but a very healthy one too, made using minimal oil. It is a complete meal in itself, which does not require any accompaniments. It is the perfect lockdown recipe too, requiring the bare minimum of ingredients, though you can jazz it up with more vegetables if you want to.
Dal Dhokli Recipe| How To Make Gujarati Dal Dhokli
Here is how we make it. My grandmother learnt how to make Dal Dhokli from her Gujarati neighbours, back when we were living in Ahmedabad. The recipe passed on to my mother, and then to me. While this recipe is very, very close to authentic, I have also outlined in the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section how to make it even more traditional.
I had put up a straight-from-the-heart post about making Dal Dhokli on my Instagram feed some time ago, and many readers were interested in the recipe. So, for all of you lovely folks out there, here’s the recipe!
Ingredients (serves 4):
For the dhokli:
1. 3/4 cup wheat flour + more as needed for dusting
2. Salt to taste
3. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
4. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5. A pinch of asafoetida
6. 1/4 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
7. 1 teaspoon oil
For the dal:
1. 1/2 cup toor dal
2. 2 tablespoons raw groundnuts
3. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
4. 1 medium-sized tomato (optional)
5. 3-4 green chillies (optional)
6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
7. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
9. Salt to taste
10. Red chilli powder to taste
11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
12. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
13. 3/4 teaspoon garam masala or to taste
14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for at least 15 minutes, for it to soften. Let it cool down completely.
2. Next, we will cook the toor dal and groundnuts. Wash the toor dal thoroughly and drain out the water. Take the washed and drained toor dal in a wide vessel and add in just enough water to cover it completely. Inside the vessel, place a small bowl with the groundnuts and about a tablespoon of water. Place the vessel inside a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 7-8 whistles or till the toor dal is completely cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. Now, we will prepare the dough for the dhokli. Take the wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, carom seeds and asafoetida. Adding water little by little, bind everything into a soft dough, similar to roti dough. When done, add a teaspoon of oil to the dough and knead for a couple of minutes. Let the dough rest, covered, till we are ready to use it.
4. Prep the tomato and green chillies now, if using them. Chop the tomato finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep these ready.
5. When the soaked tamarind has completely cooled down, extract all the juice out of it. You may use water as needed to help with the extraction. Filter out seeds and impurities, if any.
6. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it well. Keep the cooked groundnuts aside.
7. Next, we will prepare the dhokli. Take a small ball of the dough, dust it with wheat flour, and roll it out into a thin circle (like a roti). Make sure that the dough is rolled out evenly and thinly; only then it will cook easily and the dish will taste lovely. Now, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the circle into small diamond-shaped pieces. Collect the pieces in a plate.
8. Use all the dough to roll out thin rotis, in a similar manner, and cut them up into little diamond shapes. Collect all the little pieces in the same plate – these are your dhokli. Keep these covered till further use.
9. Now, we will prepare the dal. In a large vessel, heat the oil. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida, cooked groundnuts and slit green chillies. Let these ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds.
10. Next, add the chopped tomato to the vessel, if using. Also add in a little water and a bit of salt. Cook on high flame till the tomato turns mushy.
11. Add the tamarind extract to the vessel. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
12. Now, add the cooked and mashed toor dal to the vessel. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder, along with 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water. Mix well. The mixture should be watery at this stage, as it will thicken up later.
13. Add in the jaggery powder and garam masala. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and spices if needed. Cook the mixture on high flame till it comes to a boil.
14. At this stage, reduce the flame to medium. Add all the dhokli we prepared earlier, to the vessel. Give the mixture a stir.
15. Cook everything together for 12-15 minutes or till the dough is completely cooked. You will need to stir intermittently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the vessel. The mixture will have thickened up quite a bit now, but it should still be on the runny side – it will thicken even further. Switch off gas at this stage.
16. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Dal Dhokli is ready. Serve it hot or warm.
Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?
This Dal Dhokli is completely vegetarian and vegan (plant-based). However, it is not gluten-free due to use of wheat flour and asafoetida (which may contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent).
This recipe is also free of onion and garlic.
#LockdownRecipes at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
This recipe is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. With India going through a terrible second Covid wave at the moment and lockdowns are in place in several states across the country, we decided to put together some #LockdownRecipes this week. This Monday, the group members will be showcasing simple recipes using minimal ingredients, and I couldn’t think of anything better than this Dal Dhokli.
Narmadha, the warm, friendly and talented author of Nams Corner, was the one who suggested the week’s theme. I especially love the heritage Tamilnadu dishes and kids’ special recipes on her blog. The Thalippu Vadagam recipe she shared a while ago has me intrigued – can’t wait to try it out!
Tips & Tricks
1. Make sure the rotis are rolled out evenly and very thin. Only then will they cook easily and the Dal Dhokli will taste delicious. The dough must be soft and pliable.
2. The traditional Dal Dhokli recipe uses kokum (Garcinia Indica) as a souring agent. I don’t always have kokum at home, so I prefer using tamarind instead. My grandmother would use tamarind in Dal Dhokli, and I continue to do the same. Adjust the amount of tamarind you use as per personal taste preferences. You may use lemon juice as a souring agent instead.
3. Adjust the quantity of water you use in the dal as needed. Remember that it needs to be quite watery (but flavourful) before adding in the dhokli. It will thicken as the dhokli cooks, but should still be quite runny when you finish. It thickens up quite fast.
4. Dal Dhokli is best served piping hot or warm. If you are making it ahead of time, do heat it up before serving. You might need to adjust the water, salt, spices and sourness before serving, if it has thickened up too much.
5. You will need a big vessel for the Dal Dhokli to cook. The vessel should not be overcrowded, and the dhokli should have space to move around. I use a large, 8-litre pressure cooker bottom to cook the Dal Dhokli.
6. Many Gujarati families do prepare the Dal Dhokli without the garam masala. I use it simply because my grandmother also used to, and I like it that way. Feel free to leave it out if you so prefer.
7. Make sure the toor dal is completely cooked before using it in the dish.
8. You may add vegetables like beans, carrot and green peas to the Dal Dhokli too, as Mayuri ji of Mayuri’s Jikoni kindly pointed out to me. I have most commonly had Dal Dhokli cooked with cluster beans (gavarphali) at the homes of my Gujarati friends – I absolutely love the flavour the beans add to the dish.
9. You may leave out the tomato and green chillies, and keep the Dal Dhokli plain and simple. Mayuri ji tells me that when no veggies or lentils are available, the dhokli can even be cooked in water, with the tempering, salt and spices added in. Isn’t this one super adaptable recipe, just perfect for the lockdown?
10. This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe, but you may add them in if you prefer. Ginger paste can be added in as well.
11. You may cut out the dhokli as small or large as you prefer. I prefer keeping the diamonds really small – I feel the Dal Dhokli tastes better that way. A pizza cutter works best for cutting out the dhokli, but you may use a knife instead too.
12. Do not skip the jaggery used in the recipe, as it is an important component of the Dal Dhokli. The dish is supposed to be a mix of sweet, salty, spicy and sour. I have used jaggery powder here, instead of which you may use regular jaggery or sugar.
13. Here, I have prepared the dhokli first and then the dal. However, you may set the dal cooking first, simultaneously rolling out the rotis and adding them to the dal to cook.
14. You may add lesser dhokli to the dal than what I have suggested above. Any excess dough can be converted into Masala Rotis – roll it out into rotis and cook on both sides on a hot pan, with some oil drizzled around them.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!