Instant Rava Dhokla refers to a sort of savoury snack cake from the state of Gujarat. Made using rava aka sooji, the dhokla can be put together in minutes, without any prior preparation. The dish is cooked by steaming and requires minimal oil. Today, I am sharing the recipe for Instant Rava Dhokla (also called Sooji Dhokla), the way I learnt it from a Gujarati family friend years ago.
A closer look at Instant Rava Dhokla
Dhokla, the popular Gujarati snack, has many different versions. I have, on my blog, the recipes for Khatta Dhokla, Safed Dhokla (Idada), Mug Na Dhokla and Khatta Dhokla (method 2). Some of these require fermentation, while some are the ‘instant’ variety. The Rava Dhokla recipe I am sharing today belongs to the latter category, wherein the batter does not need fermentation. This is, therefore, a wonderful breakfast or snack option when you need to put together something delicious in a jiffy. And, yes, these Instant Rava Dhokla are absolutely delish!
These dhokla are made using fine rava, soured with curd, a hint of citric acid and a dash of lemon juice (if needed). Eno Fruit Salt, a popular Indian antacid, is what is commonly used to make these dhokla soft and fluffy. Do read my earlier blog post on Instant Khaman, where I have written about the use of citric acid and Eno in the making of Gujarati dishes.
Like all the other dhokla recipes mentioned above, this Instant Rava Dhokla is also cooked by steaming. I use a pressure cooker for the steaming, but you may use an idli steamer instead too. Speaking of steamed foods, I absolutely loved my fellow food blogger Preethi’s recipe for Kothimbir Vadi – can’t wait to try it out!
Please do note that these Instant Rava Dhokla are NOT vegan (plant-based) and gluten-free. They are completely vegetarian and free of onion and garlic.
How to make Instant Rava Dhokla
Here is how we make them.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
1. 1 cup fine rava
2. Salt to taste, about 1-1/4 teaspoons
3. About 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
4. 2 generous pinches of citric acid
5. Juice from a small wedge of lemon, 2-3 teaspoons (optional)
6. A small piece of ginger
7. 1 green chilli or as per taste
8. 1/2 cup thick curd
9. 3/4 cup water + more as needed
10. 1 tablespoon oil + some more for greasing the steaming vessel
11. 1 sachet of regular Eno fruit salt, about 1-1/2 teaspoons
For the tempering and garnishing:
1. 1 tablespoon oil
2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
3. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
4. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1. Dry roast the rava for about 2 minutes in a heavy-bottomed pan. Take care to ensure that it does not burn. When done, transfer to a mixing bowl and allow it to cool down completely. Skip this step, if you are using store-bought pre-roasted rava.
2. When the roasted rava has completely cooled down, add salt, sugar and citric acid. I have used powdered sugar here.
3. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Chop the green chilli roughly too. Grind the chopped ginger and chilli coarsely in a small mixer jar, using very little water. Add the ground paste to the mixing bowl.
4. Add the thick curd and the water to the mixing bowl. Mix well.
5. Keep the batter aside, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Allow it time to rest.
6. After 15-20 minutes, we will start steaming the dhokla. Take about 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker bottom and place it on high flame. Place a trivet inside the cooker bottom. Grease a wide vessel with a little oil and place it on the trivet, inside the cooker. Let the water in the bottom of the cooker start boiling and the greased vessel get heated up.
7. In the meantime, check on the batter we prepared earlier. It would have become quite thick. Add in about 1/4 cup water or as needed to bring the batter to a consistency that is neither watery nor too thick. Adjust salt as needed and mix well.
8. When the water in the cooker bottom starts boiling, add the Eno fruit salt to the batter. Mix well, using your hands, in one direction only. Make sure the Eno is well incorporated into the batter. Pour the batter immediately into the heated greased vessel.
9. Close the pressure cooker at this stage. Now, cook on high flame for 18-20 minutes without putting the whistle on. Once this is done, wait for 5-7 minutes before opening the pressure cooker. Insert a skewer into the centre to check whether the dhokla is done or not. If uncooked, cook for a few more minutes. If cooked through, remove the dhokla and proceed to the next step.
10. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small tempering pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Now add in the sesame seeds, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Then, switch off gas and pour this tempering evenly all over the dhokla. Garnish with the finely chopped coriander. The Instant Rava Dhokla is now ready – serve immediately or when warm or at room temperature.
How to serve these Instant Rava Dhokla
These dhokla are quite flavourful, and do not really require any accompaniment. However, if you want to, they go beautifully with a Gujarati-style Kadhi Chutney. This Hari Chutney also pairs well with the dhokla.
Tips & Tricks
1. Use the fine variety of rava, also called Bombay rava or local rava. The thicker variety (Bansi rava) is not very well suited to making this dhokla.
2. Adjust the quantity of green chilli, salt and sugar as per personal taste preferences.
3. Make sure you use regular-flavoured Eno Fruit Salt. Other flavours like lemon and orange are not recommended. For best results, use a fresh packet of Eno that hasn’t been lying around for too long.
4. Sour curd works best in the making of this Instant Rava Dhokla. Add the lemon only if your curd is not sour enough. If the curd is sour, you may skip the lemon.
5. Adjust the quantity of water you use depending upon the consistency of the batter you require. After soaking for 15-20 minutes, the rava will absorb all the water and become quite thick. Adjust water to bring the batter to a cake batter-like consistency. For the perfect dhokla, the consistency of the batter must be neither too thick nor too watery. Also adjust the salt at this stage.
6. Do not let the batter sit after adding the Eno fruit salt. Add the Eno just before steaming the dhokla. Remember to mix the batter well after adding the Eno, preferably using your hands, in one direction only.
7. Before beginning the steaming process, make sure to bring the water in the pressure cooker or steamer to a boil and that the greased vessel is also heated up. Only then add the batter to the greased vessel.
8. The steaming of this Instant Rava Dhokla takes 18-20 minutes, depending upon the consistency of the batter. The dhokla is ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre of it comes out clean. Check done-ness after 5-7 minutes of switching off the gas.
9. I have used only mustard seeds and sesame in the tempering, plus coriander for garnishing. You may add some curry leaves, green chillies and/or asafoetida to the tempering too. Fresh grated coconut can also be used in the garnishing.
10. Skip the sugar if you do not prefer using it. I prefer adding it – the little amount of sugar does not make the dhokla overly sweet, but rounds off the other flavours beautifully.
11. I have used roasted rava from the Double Horse brand. If you are using unroasted rava, do dry roast it for a couple of minutes before proceeding to make the Instant Rava Dhokla. Many make the dhokla without roasting the rava, but I personally feel the roasting enhances the texture and taste of the dish. I would definitely recommend roasting.
12. The combination of Eno fruit salt and citric acid (along with sour curd and lemon juice, if using) causes the batter to bubble and foam. This is what helps make the dhokla soft and spongy. I have heard of people using baking soda as a substitute for Eno, but I have never tried that. I find Eno works beautifully.
13. You may skip using ginger and green chillies in the batter, if you do not prefer them. My family likes them, so I prefer adding them in.
14. If you so prefer, you may skip adding oil into the batter and also reduce the amount of oil used in the tempering. Personally, though, I would recommend not doing so – the oil keeps the dhokla from becoming too dry and helps keep it soft.
15. This Sooji Dhokla is best served immediately after preparing, but it keeps soft for at least a day. So, if you are pressed for time, you can definitely make it ahead of serving.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!