Hotel-Style Thatte Idli| Plate Idli

Thatte Idli refers to idlis steamed in plates, hailing from the state of Karnataka. These idlis, made using a mix of rice and urad dal, are pillowy-soft and absolutely delicious. While I am not a huge fan of idli otherwise, this is one variety I make an exception for.

The Bidadi region of the state is where these idlis (also called ‘Plate Idlis’) are believed to have originated. While driving along the Bangalore-Mysore highway, you will find several small stalls selling these spongy idlis, with a pat of butter on top, chutney or sambar on the side. Today, I am going to share with you all how to make hotel-style Thatte Idli at home, a foolproof recipe I have tried and tested several times over.

Spongy-soft Thatte Idli, served with a drizzle of home-made milagai podi

Spongy-soft hotel-style Thatte Idli at home

My house help taught me how to make hotel-style Thatte Idli at home, sans any cooking soda (a common practice in hotels), and we have been fans ever since. Even without the soda, the idlis turn out perfectly, soft and fluffy. At home, we have these with home-made dosa milagai podi drizzled over.

The rice to urad dal ratio in this recipe is a bit different from what we use in case of regular idlis – I will share the proceedure for this shortly, too. This Thatte Idli recipe uses idli rice, a variety of rice with fat grains that is specifically used for making idlis, commonly available in several departmental store (see the picture below). There’s whole white urad dal added in, along with some flattened/beaten rice (poha/aval), sago (sabudana/javvarisi) and fenugreek (methi/vendayam) seeds. These ingredients are ground to a smooth batter, which is then allowed to ferment before making the Thatte Idlis.

Idli rice

This is quite a healthy breakfast option, considering it is steamed and is essentially oil-free. Only a little oil is used to grease the plates the idlis are steamed in.

Thatte Idli recipe

This is how to go about making the idlis.

Ingredients (makes 10-12 small plate-sized idlis):

1. 1-1/2 cup idli rice (see the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section)

2. 1/2 cup urad dal

3. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)

4. 1/4 cup beaten rice (poha/aval)

5. 1/8 cup sago (sabudana)

6. Salt to taste

7. Oil, as needed to grease the plates

Method:

Top left and centre: Step 1, Top right: Step 2, Bottom left and centre: Steps 3 and 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. Wash and drain the idli rice and soak it in enough fresh water to cover it completely. Take the urad dal and fenugreek seeds together in a vessel, wash well and drain, then soak in enough fresh water. Wash the sago well, then drain and soak in sufficient fresh water. Soaking time for all these ingredients would be 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. Soak the beaten rice in some water for 20-30 minutes. You can soak this just before you grind the batter.

3. When all the ingredients are done soaking, drain out the water from them and reserve. Add the soaked and drained urad dal and fenugreek seeds to a mixer jar, along with the soaked and drained sago and beaten rice. Add in a little of the soaking water we reserved earlier and grind these ingredients together to a smooth batter.

4. Test the ground batter by dropping a small blob of it in a glass of water. If the blob rises to the surface immediately and floats on the water, it means the batter is light and airy. If it sinks, you need to grind it some more. When the batter is ready, transfer it to a wide vessel.

5. Now, transfer the soaked and drained idli rice to the mixer jar along with some of the reserved water. Grind to a smooth batter. Transfer this to the same wide vessel. Mix both batters well together.

Top left and centre: Steps 6 and 7, Top right: Step 8, Bottom left and centre: Steps 9 and 10, Bottom right: Step 11

6. Add salt to taste to the batter. Mix well, using your hands. Cover the batter and set aside, undisturbed, for about 7-8 hours for fermenting.

7. Once the batter has fermented, it can be used to make Thatte Idlis. Mix it gently. If the batter is too thick, add some water to adjust the consistency – remember that the batter should be neither too thick nor too watery.

8. Take about 1 cup of water in a pressure cooker base and place a trivet inside it. Place the cooker on high flame.

9. Grease a small steel plate with some oil and place it on top of the trivet, in the pressure cooker. Let the water come to a boil and the greased plate get slightly heated up.

10. At this stage, pour a couple of ladles of the batter into the hot greased plate. Let the batter spread out evenly in the plate, then close the pressure cooker. Do not put the whistle on.

11. Steam the batter on high flame for 12-15 minutes. Wait for 7-8 minutes to open the cooker and get the idli out, then let it cool slightly more before de-moulding it from the plate and serving. Serve with milagai podi and/or sambar or chutney on the side.

12. Use all the batter to make Thatte Idli in a similar manner.

Vegan and gluten-free recipe

This Thatte Idli recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free as well.

Tips & Tricks

1. Some people use a mix of idli rice and raw rice to make Thatte Idli. This recipe, using only idli rice, works best for me. Do not use dosa rice instead. I’m guessing the idli rice can be substituted with parboiled rice (‘puzhungal arisi‘ in Tamil), but I have never tried that out.

2. For all idli/dosa varieties, we prefer using whole white urad dal which is also called gota urad. You could use split white urad dal too, but this yields better results.

3. I have used regular white poha of the thin variety here. Regular white sabudana has been used.

4. We always add salt to the batter before fermentation. You may add it after fermentation too, if you so prefer.

5. Remember to mix the batter and salt with your hands, before setting it aside for fermenting. This actually kickstarts the fermentation process and aids it.

6. The time the batter takes to ferment will depend upon factors like type of ingredients use and the weather conditions. Here in Bangalore, batter ferments in 5-6 hours in the peak of summer, but might take longer in the colder months.

7. I have steamed the Thatte Idli in a pressure cooker, in a steel plate. You may use a Thatte Idli/Dhokla stand instead (available in vessel stores as well as in certain departmental stores). You can also use a vegetable steamer to cook the idlis.

8. Do not overly mix the batter after fermentation. Do it very gently. If you are not planning on using the fermented batter immediately, store it in the refrigerator after gently mixing. It is best used within 2-3 days.

9. Make sure the greased plate is slightly warmed up before pouring the batter in. Do not overcook the idlis, otherwise they might become hard.

10. Make sure no water enters the plate while steaming the idlis.

11. Do not attempt to de-mould the Thatte Idli when it is too hot. It might break or get too soggy.

12. You may use the same batter to make regular idlis in an idli stand, too. I have not tried using this batter to make dosas, but I’m sure they would turn out well too.

13. Some people grind the urad dal smooth, but keep the rice batter coarse. We prefer grinding both to a smooth texture. Do not miss testing the urad dal batter as stated above – if it does not float in the water, it is not ready. This is crucial to get fluffy, soft Thatte Idlis.

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

Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney For Biryani

I first read about Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney in Andaleeb Wajid‘s book More Than Just Biryani, a couple of years ago. It is more of a raita than an actual chutney, a delicious blend of curd, cucumber and onion, among other ingredients. Dahi Ki Chutney, as it is called in local parlance, serves as an accompaniment to the famed Hyderabadi biryani, along with salan. It is a more elaborate version of the regular onion-cucumber raita, much more full-bodied and flavourful.

Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney – love how pretty it looks and how flavourful it tastes!

It was during the 2020 Covid lockdown that I made Dahi Ki Chutney for the first time, following the brief outline Ms. Wajid has laid out in her book, and served it along with home-made pressure-cooker vegetable biryani. It became such a favourite at home that we repeated the combination several times over, and still continue to. 🙂 Now that summer is setting in and Bangalore is getting hotter by the day, it’s time to bring on those one-pot meals and cooling raitas – hence, this post. Today, I am going to share with you all the way Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney is made.

But before that, some other interesting raita recipes!

Do check out this unusual but extremely delicious Methi Ka Raita recipe on my blog – the fried garlic tadka on top is quite something! Several readers tried out this recipe loved it to bits.

Then, there’s Boondi Raita, dearly beloved to many, and the long-forgotten Dangar Pachadi from Tamilnadu, made using roasted urad dal.

This sweetish Dahi Kela is a sort of raita from Gujarat, a flavour bomb and a beautiful side for rotis and parathas.

My fellow blogger Sasmita shared this unique recipe for Achaari Aloo Raita a while ago, and I have been eyeing it since. This summer, I am going to shake off my lethargy and try out at least a few of the recipes on my eternally growing must-try list. This one is definitely happening!

How to make Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney

It’s an easy-peasy thing to make! If you have all the ingredients stocked up, putting together this dish will barely take 10-15 minutes. Here’s how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 1 cup thick curd

2. Salt to taste

3. A dash of lemon juice (optional)

4. 1 teaspoon powdered sugar (optional)

5. 1 small onion

6. 1/2 of a medium-sized cucumber

7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves

8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

9. 2 pinches of red chilli powder or as needed

10. 2-3 pinches of roasted cumin powder or as needed

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left: Step 3, Centre right and bottom left: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. Take the curd in a large mixing bowl. Add in a little water, as needed, to adjust the consistency of the curd. Whisk together well.

2. Add in salt to taste.

3. Add in the lemon juice.

4. Chop the onion and cucumber finely. Add to the mixing bowl.

5. Add in the finely chopped mint leaves and coriander, as well as the red chilli powder and roasted cumin powder. Mix well. The Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney is ready. Serve immediately with dishes like pulav, biryani or as part of a thali meal.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use full-fat curd for best results. I have used home-made curd that was quite thick and very fresh.

2. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how thick the curd is. Don’t add too much or too little. The perfect raita is free-flowing, neither too watery nor too thick.

3. For best results, use a ‘seedless’ (English/European) cucumber.

4. Slightly sour curd tastes good in this raita. If the curd is very fresh and sweet, add some lemon juice to sour it. This is purely optional.

5. If the curd is the right amount of sour, adding a little sugar brings out the flavours of the ingredients beautifully. Taste the curd and decide whether it needs sugar or not.

6. A small tomato can be finely chopped and added to the Dahi Ki Chutney too. I skipped this, as I don’t like raw tomatoes.

7. Finely chopped green chillies are usually added to this Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney. I don’t, as my little daughter doesn’t like it.

8. The traditional version of Dahi Ki Chutney does not use roasted cumin powder or red chilli powder (green chillies are used in place of the latter). I use just a couple of pinches of both, to garnish the chutney. If you are using these, adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences. If you are using green chillies, you may skip the red chilli powder entirely.

9. Use very fresh coriander and mint leaves, for best results.

10. This Hyderabadi Dahi Ki Chutney is best consumed fresh, within about 1/2 hour of preparation. Letting it sit around for too long after preparation might cause the chutney to get watery and lose its taste.

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

Dahi Vada| Dahi Bhalla Chaat

I am a sucker for Dahi Vada. Irrespective of whether it is made the South Indian way or in the North Indian style, I love the dish to bits. Today, I am going to share with you all the way we make Dahi Vada at home.

Home-made Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla Chaat

What is Dahi Vada, exactly?

Lentils soaked and ground into a smooth batter, flavoured with chillies and ginger, then deep-fried and soaked in curd – that’s dahi vada for you. When made right, it’s a beauty of a dish. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the fried lentil batter soaks in the flavours of the curd and the end result is absolutely delectable. I definitely can’t resist the lure! 🙂

There’s the South Indian version of dahi vada (called Thayir Vadai) where the curd is tempered with mustard and curry leaves, sometimes with a green chilli-coconut paste mixed in. The North Indian version is more like a chaat, with sweetened curd, topped with sweet and spicy chutneys, sev or boondi, and roasted cumin powder. The latter – also called Dahi Bhalla Chaat – often stars in Holi parties in North India. It is this North Indian version of dahi vada that we are going to talk about today. I will share the recipe for the South Indian thayir vadai shortly, too.

This recipe is completely vegetarian, but not vegan (plant-based) because of the use of curd. It is, however, completely gluten-free.

How to make Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla Chaat

The making of perfect Dahi Vada is not very difficult, but it might take some practice. I have listed out some techniques which have helped me achieve great results. Please read the entire post carefully before attempting to make the dish.

Here is how we make Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla Chaat.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the vadas:

1. 1 cup whole white urad dal

2. 2 green chillies

3. A 1-inch piece of ginger

4. Salt to taste

5. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves (optional)

6. Oil for deep-frying the vadas

For the curd and assembling:

1. 500 ml fresh curd

2. 1/4 teaspoon black salt

3. Regular salt as needed, if required

4. 2 teaspoons powdered sugar or as needed

5. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or as needed

6. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as needed (see notes)

7. Spicy green mint-coriander chutney, as needed (see notes)

8. Sev/boondi, as needed

9. About 2 tablespoons grated carrot

10. About 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander

11. Roasted cumin powder, as required

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left: Step 4, Bottom centre: What the consistency of the batter looks like, Bottom right: Well ground batter floating in a glass of water

1. Wash the urad dal a couple of times under running water, draining it out each time. When the water runs clear, add in enough fresh water. Soak the urad for about 2 hours, then place in the refrigerator and soak for another 2 hours.

2. When the urad dal is done soaking, drain out the cold water from it and reserve.

3. Transfer the cold dal to a mixer jar. Chop up the green chillies roughly and add to the mixer jar. Peel the ginger, chop roughly and add to the mixer jar too.

4. Adding a little of the cold reserved water at a time, grind the ingredients in the mixer jar to a smooth batter. Do not add more than 7-8 tablespoons of water; use only as much water as is strictly necessary. Drop a blob of the batter in a glass of water – if it floats on the water, it is light and airy and ready; if it sinks to the bottom, you need to grind it further.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 6, 7 and 8, Bottom left: Step 9, Bottom centre and right: Preparing the dahi vada for serving

5. Take the oil for deep-frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame. Let the oil get nice and hot.

6. In the meantime, transfer the ground batter to a large mixing bowl. Chop up the curry leaves roughly (if using) and add them in. Add salt to taste. Mix the batter using your hands in a circular motion, in a single direction only, for 2-3 minutes. This incorporates air into the batter so the vadas turn out soft on the inside. Now, the batter is ready to make the vadas.

7. When the oil is hot, drop a few small balls of the batter into it and turn the flame down to medium. Fry on medium flame till the vadas turn crispy and brown on the outside.

8. Simultaneously, prepare the curd mixture. Take the curd in a large mixing bowl. If the curd is too thick, add some water to adjust the consistency. Add in the black salt, regular salt (if using), red chilli powder and powdered sugar. Mix well and keep this ready.

9. When the first batch of vadas are fried, drop them into the curd mixture immediately. Keep them soaking while you fry the rest of the batter in batches. Keep dropping the vadas in the curd mixture as and when they get ready. Do not crowd the mixing bowl – make sure all the vadas are soaking in the curd equally.

10. Start serving the dahi vadas once each batch is done soaking for a bit. Leaving them in for more than 15 minutes will cause all the curd to get absorbed. To serve, take a few of the soaked dahi vadas in a plate along with some of the curd mixture. Drizzle some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green mint chutney on top. Add some sev or boondi over this, and garnish with finely chopped coriander and grated carrot. Sprinkle some roasted cumin powder over this. Serve immediately.

11. Prepare and serve all the dahi vadas in a similar manner.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used home-made sweet-sour tamarind chutney here. Here’s how I make this chutney.

2. I make the spicy green chutney at home too. Here’s the proceedure I follow for this.

3. Some people use a mix of moong dal and urad dal to make dahi vada. We use only urad dal. If you want to, use 1/4 cup moong dal and 3/4 cup urad dal.

4. Adjust the number of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the vadas to be.

5. You may soak 2 tablespoons of raw rice along with the urad dal, and grind them together. This yields crispier vadas. I do that when I’m making Medu Vada (vadas with a hole, to be had with sambar and/or chutney, but skip the rice in case of dahi vadas).

6. For dahi vada, urad dal needs soaking for at least 4 hours. A tried and tested tip is to place the urad dal + water in the refrigerator after 2 hours. Let it soak in the refrigerator for the rest of the time. The cold lentils stop the mixer from getting heated up while grinding, which translates into fluffier vadas.

7. Do not add too much water while grinding the urad dal. Add a few tablespoons of the cold water reserved from soaking the lentils, if required.

8. The batter should be ground fine and thick – as stated above, when you put a blob of the batter in a cup of water, it should float. This suggests that the batter is well ground and fluffy, and that the vadas will turn out nice and airy. If the batter sinks to the bottom, it suggests that you need to grind some more.

9. Don’t forget to mix the batter with your hand for a few seconds, after grinding. Move your hand in a circular motion in one direction only. This aerates the batter and yields light and fluffy vadas.

10. If the batter becomes too runny, you can add some rice flour to make it thicker. However, do not use too much rice flour as this can alter the taste of the vadas.

11. Use fresh curd that is not sour, for best results.

12. It is important to fry the vadas on a medium flame to ensure that they are evenly cooked. Frying them on a high flame might cause them to get brown on the outside but stay raw inside. Make sure the oil is nice and hot before you start frying.

13. Some people drop the fried vadas into water, then squeeze them and add to the curd. We don’t do this as we don’t like dahi vada made that way.

14. We don’t usually make vadas with holes, while preparing dahi vada. We just drop blobs of batter into hot oil and fry. If you want, you can form holes in the vadas, as in case of Medu Vada.

15. Whole white urad dal, also called gota urad, gives the best dahi vada. I have tried this with whole and broken black urad (with skin) as well as broken white urad dal.

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

Thandai Powder Recipe| Home-Made Thandai

Home-made thandai, anyone? Let’s see, today, how to make delectable thandai at home, from scratch! Try it out this Holi and enjoy! 🙂

What is Thandai?

Thandai, also called Sardai, is a Holi essential in North India. For the uninitiated, thandai refers to an Indian drink that is mostly served chilled, especially during the festivals of Shivratri and Holi. I’m not sure about the origin of the drink’s name – maybe it comes from the fact that it is served cold and is utterly refreshing (‘thand‘ = ‘cold’ in Hindi).

Delicious home-made thandai

Thandai is made using milk and assorted ingredients like cashewnuts, almonds, melon seeds, sugar, saffron and poppy seeds. It is absolutely delicious when made right – totally understandable why it has legions of fans!

There are a few versions of thandai. Rose- and mango-flavoured ones are quite common these days. Then there’s the one infused with bhaang (cannabis), the alcoholic version. The traditional kesar-badam version, a non-alcoholic one with saffron and almonds, is what we are going to see today.

Home-made thandai using powder

Ready-to-use thandai concentrate is easily available in stores these days, making it rather convenient to whip up glasses of the drink whenever you please. However, more often than not, these concentrates come with a lot of chemical additives and preservatives. It is not very difficult to make good thandai at home, using all-natural ingredients.

Now, thandai can be made in two ways – using a wet freshly ground paste or a dry powder. The paste has to be used immediately while the powder, once prepared, can be stored for about a month. The latter is a more convenient way of making thandai, without losing any of the deliciousness! In today’s post, I am going to be sharing the thandai powder recipe that I learnt from a friend years ago, and show you how to use it to make home-made thandai.

Thandai powder recipe

Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients (makes about 1-1/2 cups of thandai powder):

1. 1/3 cup almonds

2. 1/3 cup cashewnuts

3. 1/3 cup sugar

4. 20 green cardamom (hari elaichi)

5. 2 tablespoons watermelon seeds

6. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (khuskhus)

7. 2 tablespoons dried rose petals

8. 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf)

9. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

10. 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands

Other ingredients (makes 2 tall glasses of thandai):

1. 500 ml full-fat milk

2. A fat pinch of saffron (optional)

3. About 4 teaspoons sugar or as needed (optional)

Method:

1. We will first make the thandai powder. For this, measure all the ingredients listed for the powder, above. Take them in a mixer jar. Pulse a few times, then stop to mix up the ingredients. Continue to do so till you get a powder that is almost fine, just slightly coarse.

2. Store the prepared thandai powder in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as required.

Top left and centre: Steps 1 and 2, Top right: Step 3, Below top right, bottom right and centre: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5

3. To make 2 tall glasses of thandai, take the milk in a vessel and place on high flame. Allow the milk to come to a boil.

4. At this stage, reduce the flame to the lowest possible. Add in 4-5 tablespoons of the thandai powder we prepared earlier, or as much as required. Also add in the saffron strands and sugar, if using. Mix well.

5. Cook the milk on low-medium flame for 4-5 minutes, then switch off gas. The milk would have thickened up by this time and gotten a light yellow colour. Your thandai is ready.

6. Allow the thandai milk to cool down completely, then place it in the refrigerator. Chill for at least a couple of hours. Serve cold.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use full-fat milk for best results. I have used Akshayakalpa milk here.

2. Some people add more whole spices like nutmeg and cinnamon in the thandai powder. I don’t as I rather prefer it made the above way.

3. You may adjust the quantities of the ingredients used in making the thandai powder. The above quantities work perfectly for us.

4. To make the thandai vegan, you may use non-dairy milk like almond or soya. An alternative sweetener can also be used in place of the refined sugar I have used here. However, for that authentic taste, I prefer using dairy milk and refined sugar.

5. The colour of your thandai will depend upon the quantity of ingredients used in making the powder. I add a little saffron while preparing the thandai to give it a nice, light yellow colour. However, this can be skipped if you don’t want to use it.

6. If you want to keep the thandai mildly sweet, skip adding extra sugar while adding the powder to the milk. We prefer it with the extra sugar added.

7. You may dry roast the almonds, cashewnuts, peppercorns and watermelon seeds before powdering them. It is not strictly necessary, though. I do away with the roasting.

8. The thandai powder stays well for about a month when stored in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Use only a clean, dry spoon for the powder. Refrigeration will further increase the shelf life of the powder.

9. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or char magaz seeds can be used in place of the watermelon seeds I have used here. You may use a mixture of seeds of your choice, too.

10. I have used store-bought dried rose petals here. You can make your own at home, too. If you don’t have dried rose petals, skip them while making the powder and use some rose syrup while preparing the milk. You can use gulkand while preparing the thandai, in which case you would need to cut down on the sugar.

11. Some people strain the milk after chilling it, before serving. You may do so if you want to. I don’t.

12. Pistachios can be added to the thandai mix, if you prefer. I didn’t have any, so I skipped them.

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

Chokha Na Lot Na Dhokla| Rice Flour Dhokla

The typical Gujarati dhokla is made using a batter of rice and lentils, soaked and ground, then fermented. However, there are some instant versions too, which require no soaking, like this Instant Rava Dhokla. The recipe I am about to share with you all today belongs to the latter no-fermentation category – Chokha Na Lot Na Dhokla, made using rice flour.

Considering these Rice Flour Dhokla do not need any prior preparation, they can be made instantly for a quick breakfast or snack. They turn out soft and spongy, and taste absolutely delicious too. I wouldn’t call this the healthiest dhokla variety ever, but it does trump junk food like chips and biscuits. The fact that it can be put together in just about 20 minutes makes it a winner for me.

Soft and delicious Rice Flour Dhokla

What is dhokla?

For the uninitiated, the term ‘dhokla‘ refers to a steamed snack from the land of Gujarat in West India. ‘Savoury steamed cakes’ would be an apt way of describing them to someone who has never had a chance to try them out first-hand.

Like I was saying earlier, dhokla can be made in a few different ways and can be made using fermented batter or not. Dhokla are different from khaman, which is another famous steamed dish from Gujarat. Check out this post of mine, which clarifies the difference between dhokla and khaman.

The ingredients for Rice Flour Dhokla

Rice flour is the main ingredient used in the dhokla recipe I’m sharing today. Curd has been used as a souring agent, along with some lemon juice. Ground green chillies and ginger – a quintessential element of dhokla – go in too. I have also used a bit of sugar for added flavour. As in this Instant Khaman recipe, Eno fruit salt has been used to make the dhokla soft and fluffy. I have tempered these dhokla with mustard and sesame seeds and asafoetida, and garnished them with finely chopped fresh coriander.

We typically use rice flour in dishes like Instant Ragi Onion Dosa and Rava Dosa. We also use it to make Kara Ammini Kozhukattai, like my blog friend Priya Vijaykrishnan has done here, or in sweet Thengai Poornam Kozhukattai for Ganesh Chaturthi. Making these Chokha Na Lot Na Dhokla is, for us, a different-from-the-usual way of using rice flour.

How to make Rice Flour Dhokla

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

1. 1 cup rice flour

2. 1 tablespoon fine semolina (rava/sooji)

3. 1/2 cup sour curd

4. Salt to taste

5. 3-4 teaspoons sugar

6. A 1-inch piece of ginger

7. 1 green chilli

8. A dash of lemon juice, about 2 teaspoons

9. 1 tablespoon oil + more to grease the steaming vessel

10. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

12. 3/4 tablespoon sesame seeds

13. 1 sachet Eno fruit salt (regular)

14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left and right: Steps 3 and 4, Bottom left and right: Step 5

1. Take the rice flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste, fine semolina, sugar and sour curd.

2. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Remove the top from the green chilli and chop roughly too.

3. Grind the ginger and green chilli together in a small mixer jar, with a little water. Add this to the mixing bowl.

4. Add the lemon juice to the mixing bowl too.

5. Add about 1-1/4 cup water or as needed to mix all the ingredients into a runny batter. The batter should neither be too watery nor too thick. All the ingredients should be mixed together very well. Set this batter aside for 15-20 minutes to rest undisturbed.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 6, 7 and 8, Below top right: Step 9, Bottom right: Step 10, Bottom centre and left: Steps 11 and 12

6. Grease the vessel you will be steaming the dhokla in, with a little oil. Take about 1-1/2 cups water in a pressure cooker base and place a trivet inside. Place the greased vessel on top of this. Place the cooker base on high flame and let the water get heated up.

7. When the water in the cooker is boiling, add the Eno fruit salt to the batter. Mix well.

8. Immediately pour the batter into the greased vessel.

9. Close the pressure cooker and steam on high flame for about 15 minutes. Do not put the whistle on.

10. When done, wait for about 10 minutes to get the cooked dhokla out.

11. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small tempering pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter. Next, add the sesame seeds and asafoetida and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Take care not to burn this tempering.

12. Spread the tempering evenly over the cooked dhokla. Garnish with the finely chopped coriander leaves. The Rice Flour Dhokla are ready – let them cool down, then cut into pieces and serve with Kadhi Chutney or Papaya No Sambharo.

Can be gluten-free, but not vegan

This recipe is completely vegetarian (plant-based), but it is not vegan because of the use of curd.

To make these Rice Flour Dhokla gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, so are best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you are able to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use fine semolina aka Bombay rava. Do not use the coarse variety, for best results.

2. Use sour curd, for best results. I used home-made curd that had gone sour, not too watery but not extremely thick either.

3. Adjust the quantity of green chillies as per personal taste preferences.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use depending upon the consistency of the batter. In the end, the batter should be neither too thick nor too watery, runny and pourable.

5. Use only regular Eno fruit salt and not the flavoured versions.

6. Wait for the Rice Flour Dhokla to cool down before cutting. Otherwise, they might get too soggy.

7. Remember to heat up the greased vessel before pouring the dhokla batter into it. Make sure you place a trivet inside the pressure cooker base, so that water does not enter the vessel.

8. You can use a steamer for the dhokla. Here, I have cooked it in a stainless steel container in an 8-litre pressure cooker.

9. Add the Eno fruit salt to the batter at the very end, just before steaming it. Do not let the batter sit around for too long after adding the Eno.

10. Use a fresh sachet of Eno, for best results. Do not use fruit salt that is past its ‘best before’ date or that has gone flat.

11. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you add as per personal taste preferences. If the curd you are using is very sour, you can skip the lemon juice completely.

12. Skip the sugar if you prefer not to use it. Personally, I feel it rounds off the other flavours nicely and the family rather likes it. I have used regular refined sugar here.

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