Boondi Masala is a simple appetiser, a tasty snack that you can fix in a matter of minutes. Also, it needs just a few ingredients. Perfect for your evening hunger pangs or even for a party!
What is Boondi Masala?
For the uninitiated, boondi refers to droplets of spiced gram flour batter dropped into hot oil and deep-fried till it is crispy. It isn’t the healthiest thing, but I know many who adore it, myself included. Actually, everyone in our house is a boondi fan – we love eating it as is, in raita, or sprinkled over bisi bele bath.
When I saw this recipe for restaurant-style Boondi Masala on my friend Preethi’s blog, I knew I had to make it. Just as I had known it would, it was an instant hit at home. All of us loved it so, so much!
Boondi Masala is a sort of bhel made using boondi. With finely chopped onions and tomato, a dash of lemon juice, garnished with fresh coriander, Boondi Masala is surely a delight to the tastebuds. Making boondi at home is a tedious process and one that requires considerable skill, but if you happen to have it on hand, this Boondi Masala is an easy-peasy snack to put together. Here, I have used store-bought boondi.
How to make Boondi Masala
I have used Preethi’s recipe as the base, and made the Boondi Masala with a few variations of my own. Here’s how I went about it.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
1. 1-1/2 cups of salted boondi
2. Black salt to taste
3. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder
4. 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
5. 1 small onion
6. A small piece of carrot
7. 1 small tomato
8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
9. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
1. Take the boondi in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add in black salt to taste, powdered sugar and roasted cumin powder.
3. Peel the onion and chop finely. Peel the carrot and grate medium-thick. Chop the tomato finely. Add the chopped onion and tomato and grated carrot to the mixing bowl, along with the finely chopped coriander.
4. Add the lemon juice to the mixing bowl.
5. Mix everything up well. Your Boondi Masala is ready. Serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks
1. I have used store-bought boondi here. You can make your own at home instead.
2. The boondi I used had red chilli powder and roasted peanuts added to it. If you are using plain boondi, you could add red chilli powder or finely chopped green chillies. Dry-roasted and crisp peanuts can also be added. Roasted cashewnuts would also make a great addition.
3. To make roasted cumin powder, I dry roast a few tablespoons of cumin seeds on medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pan, till they become fragrant. I allow these to cool down completely, then coarsely grind them, and store the powder in a dry and air-tight bottle. I always have a batch of this roasted cumin powder at hand, which I use as needed.
4. You can add finely chopped capsicum and/or grated raw mango to the boondi too.
5. Adjust the quantity of black salt, sugar, roasted cumin powder and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.
6. This Boondi Masala needs to be consumed immediately after making it. If it sits around for too long, the boondi will lose its crispiness.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!
Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak is a classic Gujarati sabzi, a stir-fry made using fresh hyacinth beans and deep-fried fenugreek leaf dumplings. The combination is lip-smackingly delicious and hearty, almost an Undhiyu but not quite. It is something that you must definitely try out if you haven’t already. Let me show you how!
I believe the best way to eat is seasonal and local. However, I find the boundaries between seasonal produce are blurring lately, with most things being available throughout the year. One way to counter this is by shopping from local markets and vendors, looking around for produce that is abundantly available and fresh. I often strike up conversations with the vendors on where a particular vegetable they sell comes from and how they cook it – quite interesting, I tell you!
On a recent veggie shopping expedition, I saw almost all the vendors selling piles of fresh hyacinth beans, and simply had to pick up some. These beans, ‘avarekkai‘ in Tamil, are in season right now. I also bought some beautiful tender fenugreek leaves (methi). This Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak was destined to happen, and it did. 🙂 You should make it too, while hyacinth beans are still in season.
As I was saying earlier, this is a traditional Gujarati dish, commonly prepared in households in the winter. It is also typically prepared in Gujarati weddings. It has a sweetish tinge, as is common with several Gujarati dishes, but the other flavours (like spiciness and sourness) are just as balanced. I would say it is a beautiful blend of flavours, this sabzi. It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to rotis, plain parathas and pooris. I think the sabzi would also pair very well with these lovely Sorghum And Spinach Rotis my fellow food blogger Radha has showcased.
This is a semi-dry curry made using flat hyacinth beans, which are called ‘valor‘ in Gujarati. The tender pods are used whole, while the seeds are used in case of the more mature ones. The pods and seeds are stir-fried with a gorgeously aromatic tempering of mustard, asafoetida, sesame seeds and carom seeds (ajwain). A freshly prepared, fragrant mix of grated coconut, crushed green chillies, ginger and finely chopped coriander (called ‘lilo masalo‘ or ‘green masala‘ in Gujarati) goes into the pan next, followed by delicious deep-fried fenugreek dumplings (‘methi muthiya‘ in Gujarati). The combination of these three components is quite the explosion of taste!
How to make Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak
Here is how to go about it. It is a bit of a labour-intensive process, but I can assure you that the end result is completely worth it.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
For the lilomasalo:
1. 1 cup fresh coconut pieces
2. 2 green chillies
3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
4. About 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
5. A dash of salt
6. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
7. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
For the methi muthiya:
1. A small bunch of fenugreek (methi) greens, about 3/4 cup when finely chopped
2. 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
3. 1 cup gram flour (besan)
4. Salt to taste
5. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
6. Red chilli powder to taste
6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. 3/4 tablespoon sesame seeds
10. 1/2 teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
11. Oil for deep-frying
1. About 400 grams of hyacinth beans (valor), 3 cups when chopped, including seeds
2. 1 tablespoon oil
3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4. 1/2 teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
6. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
7. Salt to taste
8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
9. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
10. 2 teaspoons roasted coriander powder
11. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
12. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
13. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder
We will start by getting the hyacinth beans ready.
1. Wash the hyacinth beans well under running water, to remove any traces of dirt from them. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out.
2. Wipe the hyacinth beans using a thick cotton napkin to dry them. Now, they are ready for prepping.
3. Pinch off the tops and ends from the beans and remove the strings.
4. Use your hands to snap the tender beans into two. You can also use a knife for this purpose.
5. Remove the seeds from the more mature beans.
6. Collect the seeds and prepped hyacinth bean pieces in a bowl. Keep aside. 400 grams of hyacinth beans should give you about 3 cups of seeds and pieces together.
Next, we will prepare the ‘lilo masalo‘ or fresh hara masala that will go into the dish.
1. Take the fresh coconut pieces in a small mixer jar. Chop the green chillies roughly and add them in. Peel the ginger, chop roughly and add it in too. Do not add in any water. Pulse the ingredients a few times to make a coarse semi-dry mixture – do not make a fine paste. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl.
2. Add in the finely chopped coriander.
3. Add salt to taste and the jaggery powder.
4. Add in the lemon juice.
5. Mix up all the ingredients well. Your lilo masalo is ready. Keep it aside.
Now, we will prepare the fenugreek dumplings or methi muthiya.
1. Wash the fenugreek greens well under running water, to remove any dirt from them. Place in a colander and let all the water drain out.
2. Chop the washed and drained fenugreek greens roughly and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.
3. Add in the gram flour, salt, jaggery powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, sesame seeds and carom seeds. Mix all the ingredients well.
4. Add in just enough water to make a batter of dropping consistency. The batter should neither be too watery nor too thick. Set it aside, covered, till needed.
5. Take the oil for deep-frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame. Allow the oil to get nice and hot, then reduce the flame down to medium.
6. Drop a few blobs of the batter into the hot oil. Deep fry on medium flame till golden-brown on the outside, then transfer the dumplings to a plate. Prepare dumplings from all the batter, in a similar manner. Keep aside.
Next, we will prepare the Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Add in the carom seeds, asafoetida and sesame seeds. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds, without burning.
2. Reduce flame to medium. Add the prepped hyacinth bean pieces and seeds to the pan, along with a little salt. Mix well.
3. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of water over the beans. Cover the pan and cook on medium flame for 5-6 minutes or till they are about 60% done. Uncover intermittently and stir, sprinkling a little more water if needed, to prevent burning.
4. At this stage, add in salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (if using), garam masala, roasted coriander powder, roasted cumin powder and jaggery powder. Mix well. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes more or till the hyacinth beans are completely done.
5. Reduce flame to low-medium. Add in the prepared methi muthiya at this stage.
6. Also add in the lilo masalo we prepared earlier. Mix well, but gently, ensuring that the muthiya do not break.
7. Cook for 2 minutes on low-medium flame, then switch off gas. Your Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak is ready. Serve warm, with rotis, pooris or parathas.
This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is plant-based too. It can be used by someone following a vegan diet.
This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe as well.
This recipe can easily be made gluten-free. In that case, you would need to skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. Also, if you are using store-bought garam masala, do make sure it fits your dietary preferences.
Tips & Tricks
1. I have used the regular green hyacinth beans that are commonly available across India. These are called ‘avarekkai‘ in Tamil, ‘valor‘ in Gujarati. These beans work best in this sabzi. Make sure you use fresh hyacinth beans, especially the ones in season are very flavourful. Alternatively, you may use any variety of flat beans that are easily and locally available to you. I also often use ‘Belt Chikkadikayi‘ in this sabzi, a variety of flat bean that is commonly available in Bangalore – it is thicker and greener than the hyacinth beans I have shown above.
2. Do not skimp on the coriander and coconut used. It might feel like a lot initially, but it turns out just right in the end.
3. Be careful with the salt. We add salt to the lilo masalo as well as while cooking the hyacinth beans. Even the methimuthiya contain salt. Make sure you do not overdo the salt.
4. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.
5. Taste the sabzi after adding the lilomasalo. If the heat from the chillies is not enough, you can add in a bit of red chilli powder. This is purely optional, though.
6. Use very fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) to make the dumplings (muthiya). This makes a world of difference.
7. Sprinkle just a little water as needed while cooking the hyacinth beans. Do not add too much water, as this sabzi is supposed to be dry.
8. Deep-fry the methi muthiya on a medium flame only. Frying on a high flame might cause the exterior to blacken, while the interior remains raw.
9. Make sure the oil is just the right temperature, while frying the methimuthiya. After it has heated up for a bit, drop a blob of the muthiya batter into the pan. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil needs to be heated some more. If it rises to the top and gets a nice golden-brown colour, the oil is just perfect. If it rises up to the surface too fast and starts smoking or browning immediately, the oil is too hot – take it off the flame for a couple of minutes to cool it down a little.
10. Jaggery is added at different stages in the preparation of this sabzi – in the lilo masalo, in the methi muthiya and then again while cooking the hyacinth beans. Make sure you don’t overdo the jaggery, otherwise the sabzi might end up getting too sweet at the end.
11. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery powder I have used here.
12. Jaggery powder is nothing but the powdered version of jaggery, available in several departmental stores in Bangalore. I use it because it is super convenient to do so. You may use regular blocks of jaggery instead, too.
13. I make roasted cumin and coriander powder in small batches, store them in air-tight bottles and use as needed. You may use store-bought coriander and cumin powder instead, too.
14. Traditional Gujarati kitchens use a blend of coriander and cumin powder called ‘dhana jeeru‘. Dhana jeeru goes into almost every Gujarati preparation, so it is prepared in bulk, stored carefully, and used as needed. You may use Gujarati dhana jeeru in place of the roasted coriander and cumin powders that I have used here.
12. You may add garlic cloves to the lilo masalo, if you prefer. I make this sabzi both with and without garlic.
13. You can cook the fenugreek dumplings in a paniyaram/appe pan with a little oil, instead of deep-frying them. Since I make this sabzi only occasionally, I do not mind the deep-frying.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!
Farsi Poori is an integral part of the Diwali celebrations in several Gujarati households. The coterie of Diwali farsaan or savoury dishes is incomplete without these little, crisp pooris. They can be made days in advance, and stay crisp for days on end. They are perfect to fill into jars and bring out when guests are visiting, just right with a cup of chai. They go beautifully with pickle or jam too, if you so prefer!
I know I say this every year, but this year it is especially true – I just can’t fathom how the months have flown by! It feels like 2022 just began. How is it almost time for Diwali already?! Anyhow, I wanted to share with you all recipes for a few sweets and savouries you could make this Diwali, and would like to begin with this one for Farsi Poori. Amma learnt how to make these from a Gujarati neighbour years ago, and they have been a permanent fixture at our place since, festival or not. Did I tell you they are lovely things to send in lunch boxes?
My fellow food blogger Priya Vijayakrishnan has shared a recipe for Namkeen Moong Dal, which I would love to try out this Diwali.
Then, there’s the Diwali Marundhu, the digestive that our wise ancestors would make, using a variety of spices and other ingredients, much needed after all the festival binge-eating.
Farsi Poori – ingredients needed
Like I was saying earlier, Farsi Poori refer to small, crunchy pooris that are typically made using maida and deep-fried. The word ‘farsi‘ means ‘crispy’ in Gujarati, and these pooris are definitely that. These pooris are a dry snack quite popular in Gujarat, especially during festivals like Diwali.
Here, I have deep-fried them as is traditionally done, but have substituted the maida for wheat flour. I think they still manage to be just as crunchy and delicious as the regular maida version.
Farsi Pooris sometimes have spices like carom seeds, pepper, cumin, and coriander powder added in. Sometimes, finely chopped fenugreek (methi) is also added to make them all the more flavourful. I have kept it really simple and added just a couple of basic spices – just some red chilli powder, asafoetida and carom (ajwain).
These are also sometimes referred to as ‘kadakpooris‘ or ‘kadak masala pooris‘. They are lovely as a tea-time snack, as I mentioned earlier. They are just as nice on their own, or dipped into pickle or jam, if you like that.
Vegan but not gluten-free
This recipe for Farsi Poori is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.
However, due to the use of wheat flour and asafoetida (which most often contains wheat flour, in India), it is not gluten-free.
How to make FarsiPoori or KadakMasalaPoori
Here is how we go about it.
Ingredients (makes 25-30 small pooris):
1. 1 cup wheat flour plus some more for dusting
2. 2 tablespoons fine semolina (rava)
3. Salt to taste
4. 1/2 teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
5. 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing) powder
6. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste
7. Oil for deep-frying + 2 tablespoons
1. Take the wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the semolina, salt, carom seeds, asafoetida and red chilli powder. Mix everything well using your hands.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small tadka pan. Add this to the flour in the mixing bowl.
3. Mix the flour and the oil well together, with your hands.
4. Now, adding water little by little, bind the flour into a dough. The dough should be non-sticky, yet soft and pliable. Knead for 2 minutes.
5. Let the dough rest, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
6. After the dough has rested, divide it into 25-30 small balls.
7. Roll out the balls into thin circles, using a rolling pin, on a flour-dusted work surface. Usually these pooris are small, with a diameter of 2-1/2 to 3 inches. Prick these circles with a fork on both sides, to prevent them from puffing up while frying.
8. Heat oil for deep-frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Meanwhile, keep the dough circles covered.
9. When the oil is nice and hot, reduce the flame to medium. Drop one of the dough circles into the hot oil. Fry till it browns gently on both sides, flipping over a few times. Drain out the oil and transfer the fried dough to a plate. Now, fry the other prepared discs of dough in the same way. Your Farsi Pooris are ready. Let them cool down completely, then transfer to a jar. Store at room temperature for 7-10 days.
Tips & Tricks
1. In many Gujarati households, these FarsiPoori are made using maida. I prefer using wheat flour instead. You could also use a mix of maida and wheat flour.
2. Do not forget to prick the dough circles before deep-frying them. This will stop them from puffing up while frying and render them crispy.
3. The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky to the touch. It should be slightly more firm than regular roti dough.
4. Roll out the dough into discs that are thin, for best results. These pooris are usually small, but you can make them in any size you want.
5. Remember to keep the prepared dough circles covered while you are frying. This will prevent them from drying up and getting too hard.
6. You can add other spices like coriander powder, coarsely crushed cumin and black pepper and/or sesame seeds to the dough. I have added only asafoetida and carom seeds, here.
7. To test whether the oil for deep-frying has heated up enough, drop a small blob of the dough into it. The dough should rise up. If the dough does not rise up immediately, the oil needs to be heated up some more.
8. Fry the pooris on a medium flame only. This will ensure that they are evenly fried and turn out nice and crispy. Do ensure that they do not burn or that you do not over-fry them.
9. Use only fine semolina aka ‘Bombay rava‘. The thicker variety of rava does not lend itself well to this recipe. Since the wheat flour available at most places is super fine these days, the addition of rava gives the pooris a bit of texture. Alternatively, you could use wheat flour that is slightly coarsely ground, if that is accessible to you.
10. Adjust the quantity of salt and red chilli powder as per personal taste preferences.
11. You may air-fry or bake these Farsi Poori, but I prefer to deep-fry them the way they are traditionally made. We only occasionally indulge in them, anyways.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
Schools have now started working offline after a long time (touch wood!), and most parents are on the lookout for new and interesting things to send in their kids’ lunch boxes. 🙂 I am here to help out just a little bit. This delicious Pressure Cooker Sweet Corn Pulav is an ideal lunch-box candidate! Let’s see how to make it.
A closer look at Sweet Corn Pulav
As the name of the post suggests, this is a one-pot recipe. All you need to do is get the ingredients ready, add everything to a pressure cooker, and let it do its job. It takes barely 15 minutes to put together this dish – with school-going children and office-goers around, we all know how precious time in the morning is!
There are only a few ingredients this Sweet Corn Pulav needs, nothing fancy or out of the ordinary. This is a simple, mildly spiced pulav that turns out beautifully fluffy and tastes absolutely delicious when made right. It is hearty and filling, more so when you pair it with a gravy like Paneer Butter Masala or Chana Masala or even something like Dal Fry.
This Sweet Corn Pulav recipe is completely vegetarian and gluten-free. It can easily be made vegan (plant-based) too – check out the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this post to find out how.
Rice and sweet corn are the major constituents of this pulav. I typically use Sona Masoori rice, but you may use Basmati or any other variety you prefer. You can use frozen sweet corn or kernels from a fresh cob. I prefer frozen.
A few whole spices like cinnamon, bay leaves and mace go into this Sweet Corn Pulav, while no garam masala or other powdered spices are used. A paste of ginger, garlic cloves and green chillies adds flavour to the pulav, as well as finely chopped onions.
There is a little ghee used in the making of this Sweet Corn Pulav too.
Pressure Cooker Sweet Corn Pulav recipe
Here is how to go about making it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 1 cup rice
2. 1 heaped cup sweet corn kernels
3. 1 medium-sized onion
4. 1 green chilli or as per taste
5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
6. 4-5 cloves of garlic
7. 1 tablespoon ghee
8. A small piece of cinnamon
9. 2 small bay leaves
10. 1/3 teaspoon shahi jeera
11. 1 star anise
12. A small piece of mace
13. Salt to taste
14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
1. Wash the sweet corn kernels well. Place in a colander and let all the water drain out. Take the sweet corn kernels in a saucepan with about 1-1/2 cups of water and place on high flame. Cook on high flame for 4-5 minutes or till the corn kernels are cooked. Drain out the water and let the corn kernels cool down completely. Retain the water the corn was cooked in, if any remains.
2. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
3. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves, and chop roughly. Chop the green chilli roughly too. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chilli together to a smooth paste, in a small mixer jar. Use very little water for the grinding. Keep aside.
4. Wash the rice well under running water. Drain out all the water from it.
5. Keep the cooked sweet corn ready. You will need 3 cups of water to cook the pulav, so add fresh water to the residual cooking water accordingly. (For example: If you have 1/2 cup water left over after cooking the corn, you need to add 2-1/2 cups of fresh water to it. This will make it 1/2 cup + 2-1/2 cups = 3 cups of water.)
6. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the cinnamon, bay leaves, shahi jeera, star anise and mace. Saute for a couple of seconds.
7. Add in the chopped onion at this stage. Saute on high flame for a minute.
8. Add in the cooked and drained sweet corn kernels, followed by the ginger-chilli-garlic paste. Reduce flame to medium. Saute for a minute.
9. Add in the washed and drained rice. Saute on medium flame for a minute.
10. Add in the 3 cups of water, along with salt to taste. Mix well.
11. Increase the flame to high. When the water comes to a boil, close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.
12. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, wait for 7-10 minutes before opening it. Then, fluff up the Sweet Corn Pulav gently.
13. Serve hot, garnished with finely chopped coriander. If you are packing this in a lunch box for school or work, spread the pulav in a large plate and wait till it cools down. Pack in a lunch box and garnish with finely chopped coriander.
Tips & Tricks
1. You may use fresh or frozen sweet corn to make this pulav. Here, I have used frozen kernels. You may even use desi corn, but I prefer sweet corn.
2. Adjust the number of green chillies and garlic you use as per personal taste preferences.
3. I have used whole spices in this Sweet Corn Pulav, but no garam masala powder. You may add a dash of garam masala if you prefer it. I don’t use it as I prefer keeping this pulav very mildly spiced and simple. You can use the whole spices you have at hand at home – just cumin seeds, green cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves work well too.
4. If you do not want to use the water left over from boiling the corn, you can use fresh water instead. In that case, you would be using 3 cups of fresh water.
5. Oil can be used in place of the ghee I have used here. This will make the recipe vegan (plant-based) too. A mix of oil and ghee can be used as well, if your family isn’t vegan.
6. I have used 1 cup of Sona Masoori rice here. 3 cups of water and 4 whistles in the pressure cooker yield pulav that is well cooked but not mushy. I do not soak the rice before cooking it. You may use basmati rice instead – adjust the amount of water you use accordingly. The number of whistles you will need might also differ from one household to another, depending upon the type of rice used, the consistency of the pulav you require, and the type of pressure cooker used.
7. I prefer cooking the sweet corn first before using them to make the pulav. I find that cooking the kernels in boiling water yields better results, but you may also use a steamer to do so.
8. You can use dairy milk or coconut milk to cook the Sweet Corn Pulav. You may even use a mix of dairy milk or coconut milk and water. I commonly use only water. Avoid dairy milk in case you want to make this a vegan (plant-based) dish.
9. I use a 7.5-litre pressure cooker to make this pulav. You can even make it in a pan.
10. Remember to wait for some time before fluffing up the pulav after cooking. Otherwise it might turn mushy.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!
I had shared the recipe for Instant Khaman (aka Nylon Khaman) on the blog, some time ago. It is made with gram flour (besan), requires no fermentation, and uses Eno to make it soft and fluffy. Today, I am sharing with you how to make khaman the way it is traditionally made in Gujarat, using batter made from soaked chana dal that is allowed to ferment. This is called Vati Dal Na Khaman in Gujarati, which literally translates into ‘khaman made using ground lentils’ in Gujarati.
The fermentation adds flavour to the batter, and makes the khaman soft and springy naturally, eliminating the need for Eno or any other raising agent. Vati Dal Na Khaman are, therefore, definitely healthier than the instant variety. The grinding of batter and the process of fermentation do take effort and time, but the overall process is definitely not very cumbersome. Also, the end result is so worth it, I promise! When made right, Vati Dal Na Khaman turn out perfectly jaalidar (the grainy texture marked with holes, like lace) and absolutely delish. They are slightly more dense as compared to the instant version, but definitely not too chewy or hard.
Vati Dal Na Khaman is also often referred to as Surti Khaman, because of their huge popularity in Surat, Gujarat. Many purists consider only this variety as ‘true’ khaman, and baulk at the instant variety. I happen to love both types, and consume both equally happily. 🙂
Some other interesting khaman/dhokla recipes
Looking for another instant khaman variety that can be put together in a jiffy? Check out this recipe for Instant Rava/Sooji Khaman ! You must also see this Instant Sooji Besan Khamanrecipe – this post also mentions the differences between ‘dhokla‘ and ‘khaman‘, two very popular steamed Gujarati snacks.
I also have on the blog two different types of Khatta Dhokla, made using naturally fermented batter. Check out this and this. These Mug Na Dhokla are made using fermented batter ground from whole green moong beans.
Ingredients used in Vati Dal Na Khaman
Vati Dal Na Khaman are made in different ways in different households. Some make it with rice, some without. Some use Eno or baking soda, too. I typically rely on this recipe by Srujan of Diving Into My Pensieve, which she has adapted from Aneri, a cookbook by Nayana Shah. I have tried Srujan’s recipe several times over, and it always turns out beautifully.
This recipe uses chana dal, urad dal, and flattened rice (poha), all of which are soaked and then ground to a batter. A paste of ginger and green chillies is used for flavour, as well as lemon juice and jaggery powder. The batter is then steamed in a pressure cooker, allowed to cool, then cut into pieces. These pieces are then tempered with mustard, sesame seeds and asafoetida, and are served garnished with finely chopped coriander.
How to make Vati Dal Na Khaman
Here is how to go about it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 1 cup chana dal
2. 1/4 cup urad dal
3. 1/4 cup flattened rice (poha)
4. Salt to taste
5. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
6. 3-4 tablespoons sugar/jaggery powder or as needed
7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
8. 2 green chillies
9. Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
10. 1 tablespoon oil
11. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
12. 2 pinches of asafoetida
13. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
1. Wash the chana dal and urad dal thoroughly under running water. Soak them in enough water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Soak the poha in enough water for 20-30 minutes.
2. When the ingredients are done soaking, drain out the water from them. You may reserve this water for use during grinding, later.
3. Add the soaked and drained urad dal and poha to a mixer jar. Grind till smooth, adding only a little water as needed. Transfer to a large vessel.
4. Next, add the soaked and drained chana dal to the mixer jar. Grind coarsely, adding a little water as needed. Transfer this batter to the large vessel too.
5. Add salt to taste, to the vessel. Mix both batters well, using your hands. Set it aside, covered, for fermentation – this might take 12-15 hours.
6. Once the batter has fermented, add turmeric powder and sugar/jaggery powder.
7. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly. Grind both to a paste in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Add this paste to the batter.
8. Add the lemon juice to the batter too. If needed, add in some water, but not too much.
9. Mix the batter well. Now, you are ready to use the batter to make khaman.
10. Heat about 1-1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand inside. Keep the cooker base on high flame for it to get heated up.
11. Grease a wide vessel with a little oil. Place this on top of the stand, inside the pressure cooker. Let it get heated up too.
12. When the water in the pressure cooker starts boiling and steaming, pour half of the batter into the hot, greased vessel.
13. Close the pressure cooker. Steam for about 20 minutes on high flame, without putting the whistle on. Switch off gas when done and wait for 7-10 minutes before opening the pressure cooker.
14. In the meantime, prepare the tempering for the khaman. Heat the oil in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard, and allow to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and sesame seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Pour this tempering over the prepared khaman and spread evenly.
15. Garnish the khaman with finely chopped coriander leaves.
16. Your Vati Dal Na Khaman are ready to serve. Allow to cool down a little, then cut into square pieces using a knife, and serve.
17. Steam and serve the remaining batter too, in the same way.
This recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. Unlike several other Vati Dal Na Khaman recipes, this one does not use dairy curd.
It is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent, and are therefore best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. If you want to make these Vati Dal Na Khaman gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering.
This recipe does not use any onion or garlic.
There are no artificial additives like Eno or baking soda used in this recipe, like I was saying earlier. If you want, you may skip adding sugar or jaggery, too, for health reasons. Personally, though, we prefer the khaman with added sugar/jaggery.
Since the Vati Dal Na Khaman is cooked by steaming, there is minimal oil used, only in greasing the vessel and in the tempering. You may skip the tempering altogether, if you wish. I would definitely recommend the tempering – it adds such a flavour punch to the khaman!
Tips & Tricks
Adjust the quantity of salt, sugar or jaggery powder, green chillies, and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.
I have used the medium-thick variety of poha here, from a brand called Bhagyalakshmi. That is what I use to make Batata Poha. You may use any type of poha instead.
The time taken for the batter to ferment may differ from one place to another, depending upon the weather conditions. For me, it usually takes about 10 hours in the summer and 12-15 hours in cold weather.
The batter needs to be very well fermented for the Vati Dal Na Khaman to turn out springy-soft and flavourful. If the batter doesn’t ferment well for some reason, you may add some Eno Fruit Salt (plain flavour) just before steaming it. I usually don’t need to.
Citric acid (also called ‘nimbu ke phool‘ or ‘saji na phool‘) can be used in place of the lemon juice. Read my detailed notes about the use of citric acid, here. For Vati Dal Na Khaman specifically, I prefer using only lemon juice.
If the batter is quite sour, you may skip the lemon juice or citric acid completely.
Remember to wait for at least 7-10 minutes to open the pressure cooker after steaming. Allow the khaman to cool down before cutting it, otherwise it will become a soggy mess.
Fresh grated coconut and/or curry leaves can also be used in the tempering. Here, I haven’t used them.
I have used a large 7.5-litre pressure cooker for steaming the khaman. You can do the same in a vegetable steamer or dhokla plate too.
The batter, once ground and readied, is best used on the same day. However, if there is leftover batter, it can be refrigerated and used for upto 2 days.
Use very little water while grinding the soaked ingredients into batter. The same goes for the ginger-green chilli paste too. Using too much water can make the batter watery, and the khaman might not turn out perfectly.
You may also add some garlic cloves, along with the ginger and green chillies. I don’t commonly use it.
The time taken for the Vati Dal Na Khaman to cook might vary from one household to another, depending upon the type of steamer used and the consistency of the batter. The batter should ideally be runny and thick, not overly thick, definitely not watery.
For best results, the water in the pressure cooker base and the greased vessel should be well heated up before you pour the batter in.