Kadak Masala Poori| Farsi Poori

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?

Farsi Poori or Kadak Masala Poori

Some other Diwali special recipes

You might want to check out the recipe for Omapodi on my blog, as well as this Aval Mixture and Chana Dal Namkeen. If you are thinking sweet treats, do take a look at my recipes for Mawa Gulab Jamun, Lauki Ka Halwa, Badam Kheer, and Sitaphal Basundi.

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 ‘kadak pooris‘ 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 Farsi Poori or Kadak Masala Poori

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

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom right: Step 3, Bottom left: Step 4

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.

Top left: Step 6, Top right and below: Step 7, Bottom right: Step 8, Bottom left: Step 9

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 Farsi Poori 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!

Pressure Cooker Sweet Corn Pulav

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.

Simple, hearty, and delicious Sweet Corn Pulav

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.

Ingredients used

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

Method:

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

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.)

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Bottom left and right: Steps 8 and 9

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.

Top left and right: Step 10, Centre left: Step 11, Centre right and bottom left: Step 12, Bottom right: Step 13

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!

Vati Dal Na Khaman| Surti Khaman

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.

Delicious Vati Dal Na Khaman, ready to be devoured!

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 Khaman recipe – this post also mentions the differences between ‘dhokla‘ and ‘khaman‘, two very popular steamed Gujarati snacks.

This Chokha Na Lot Na Dhokla is an instant variety, made using rice flour.

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

Method:

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

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.

Top left: The fermented batter, Top centre: Step 6, Top right and centre left: Step 7, Centre middle and right: Step 8 and 9, Bottom left and right: Steps 10 and 11

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.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 12, 13 and 14, Below top right: The steamed khaman, Bottom right: Step 14, Bottom centre and left: Steps 15 and 16

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.

Dietary Guidelines

This recipe is completely vegatarian 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

  1. Adjust the quantity of salt, sugar or jaggery powder, green chillies, and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. If the batter is quite sour, you may skip the lemon juice or citric acid completely.
  7. 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.
  8. Fresh grated coconut and/or curry leaves can also be used in the tempering. Here, I haven’t used them.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. You may also add some garlic cloves, along with the ginger and green chillies. I don’t commonly use it.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Vati Dal Na Khaman can be served with Gujarati Kadhi Chutney and/or with this Papaya No Sambharo. I often also serve them with a mix of spicy Hari Chutney and Meethi Chutney. My blog friend Poonam has shared an Imli Khajoor Ki Chutney recipe that you could use too.

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

Instant Rava Besan Dhokla| Sooji Besan Khaman

Want a delicious snack within minutes? Try out this Instant Rava Besan Dhokla!

It is no secret that I love myself a platter of well-made khaman or dhokla. These steamed Gujarati snacks never fails to bring a smile to my face. 🙂

I had shared the recipe for Instant Khaman made using gram flour on the blog, some time ago. Today, I am sharing the proceedure for making another type of instant khaman (which also qualifies as a dhokla) – this one is made with a mix of rava and besan. Turns out spongy-soft and very tasty!

Instant Rava Besan Dhokla – soft and utterly delish!

Is this Dhokla or Khaman?

Though the terms ‘dhokla‘ and ‘khaman‘ are used interchangeably outside of Gujarat, the two are actually different dishes. Both dhokla and khaman are made by steaming a semi-liquid batter, but the ingredients used and flavour profile are quite different. Khaman is usually made using ground chana dal or gram flour, while dhokla is commonly prepared using a rice-lentil batter. Both dhokla and khaman can have added sugar, depending upon personal preferences.

Here’s how to make a nutritious Khatta Dhokla with idli rice and mixed lentils. This Chokha Na Lot Na Dhokla is made with rice flour, while this Mug Na Dhokla is made using whole moong beans and no rice. Speaking of dhokla, here’s a lovely recipe for Barnyard Millet Dhokla from my fellow food blogger Preethi.

This recipe is a cross between the instant gram flour khaman and the Rava Dhokla I had shared earlier on the blog. It can be referred to as both ‘khaman‘ or ‘dhokla‘ as it contains both gram flour and rava. Call it dhokla or khaman, one thing is sure – it is a beauty!

What goes into this Instant Rava Besan Dhokla

Like I was saying earlier, this dhokla is made with a mix of fine semolina (aka sooji or rava) and gram flour (besan). Salt, lemon juice, citric acid and sugar are used for flavour, as is a paste of ginger and green chillies.

This is an instant recipe that does not require any prior preparation. The batter does not require fermentation, so Eno fruit salt is used to make the dhokla rise.

No oil is added to the batter, which is steamed in a steamer or pressure cooker. A simple tempering of mustard, asafoetida and sesame seeds is added to the dhokla, along with a garnish of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

How to make Instant Rava Besan Dhokla

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 2-4):

1. 1/2 cup gram flour (besan)

2. 1/2 cup fine semolina (Bombay rava/sooji)

3. Salt to taste

4. 3-4 tablespoons of sugar or as per taste

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 1-1/2 green chilli

7. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

8. 2-3 fat pinches of citric acid

9. 1 sachet of Eno fruit salt (plain), about 1 teaspoon

10. 1/2 tablespoon oil + more for greasing the steaming vessel

11. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

13. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

14. 2 pinches of asafoetida

15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Below top right and bottom right: Step 4, Bottom centre and left: Steps 5 and 6

1. Take the gram flour and fine sooji in a large mixing bowl. Add in salt to taste and the citric acid.

2. Add in about 1 cup of water.

3. Add in the sugar.

4. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly. Grind these together with a little water. Add this ginger-chilli paste to the mixing bowl.

5. Add in the lemon juice.

6. Mix everything into a smooth lump-free batter. Keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Top left and centre: Steps 7 and 8, Top right: Step 9, Centre row, left and middle: Step 10, Centre right: Step 11, Bottom left and right: Step 12

7. After 15 minutes, we will prepare the Rava Besan Dhokla. Take about 1-1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand inside the cooker. Put the cooker on high flame. Allow the water to start boiling.

8. Grease a wide vessel with a little oil. Place it on top of the stand in the cooker, so the vessel also gets heated up.

9. Check on the batter. If it has become too thick, add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to bring it to the right consistency.

10. When the water in the pressure cooker comes to a boil, add the Eno fruit salt to the mixing bowl. Mix well.

11. Immediately pour the batter into the heated greased vessel. Close the pressure cooker lid.

12. Steam on high flame for about 15 minutes, without the whistle on. Wait for 7-10 minutes before opening the cooker, after which a skewer inserted into the middle of the steamed batter should come out mostly clean. If not, it needs to be steamed some more.

13. Now, prepare the tempering for the dhokla. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and sesame seeds. Let them stay in for a few seconds, without burning. Now, pour this tempering over the steamed batter and spread evenly. Garnish with the finely chopped coriander.

14. The Instant Rava Besan Dhokla is ready to serve. Cut into pieces using a sharp knife or spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature, on its own or with green chutney and sweet chutney.

Vegan recipe, but not gluten-free

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, one that is suited to people following a plant-based diet. Many rava dhokla recipes include curd, but this is a vegan version that does not.

It is, however, not gluten-free because of the use of rava and asafoetida. Rava is made from wheat, and most commercially available Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the batter. The right consistency of the batter is thickish but not too much, definitely not watery. It should be runny and pourable.

2. Taste the batter before steaming and adjust the salt, sugar and lemon juice according to your taste preferences. Ideally, the batter should taste sweet and sour, with the right amount of salt.

3. Adjust the amount of green chillies you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

4. The combination of citric acid, lemon juice and Eno fruit salt works best in this type of instant dhokla. It helps in making the dhokla spongy-soft and delicious. Read my notes on the use of citric acid in the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this post.

5. I think baking/cooking soda would work in place of Eno, but I have never tried that out.

6. Use a fresh sachet of Eno fruit salt well within the expiry date, for best results. Make sure you use the plain one and not the flavoured version.

7. Sugar works best in this type of dhokla. I think it can be replaced with jaggery, but I have never tried that out.

8. We do not use turmeric powder in dhokla as it reacts with the Eno and creates reddish patches.

9. Do not over-cook the dhokla. Steaming for a long period might make it hard.

10. Curry leaves and/or chopped green chillies can be added to the tempering too. We normally don’t use them.

11. You can use some fresh grated coconut to garnish the Instant Rava Besan Dhokla too, along with coriander. Here, I haven’t.

12. Add the Eno to the batter at the very end, just before you begin to steam it. Do not let the batter sit around too much after the Eno is added. Do make sure that the Eno is mixed well into the batter.

13. Make sure no water enters the vessel in which you are steaming the dhokla. It is crucial to place a stand inside the cooker, for this very reason.

14. The greased vessel you use for steaming should also get heated, for best results. Do stick to the proceedure as stated above.

15. I have used a pressure cooker for steaming here. You could also use a steamer instead.

16. Use only fine sooji (also called ‘Bombay rava’) in this recipe. The coarse variety of sooji (Bansi rava) doesn’t work very well.

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

Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu| How to make Poritha Kozhambu

Poricha Kozhambu aka Poritha Kozhambu is a type of South Indian gravy that is had with rice. It is made using vegetables and lentils, cooked along with a freshly ground spice paste. The dish gets its name from the roasting of ingredients in a little oil (‘porikardhu‘ in Tamil), which are then ground together to make the spice paste.

This is a very nutritious dish, made with minimal oil and no artificial/processed ingredients. It is an absolutely delicious thing too, and makes for a lovely change from the usual rasam and sambar made in Tamilian households. It is a simple thing to put together as well.

Today, let me take you through our family recipe for Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu, i.e. poricha kozhambu made using drumsticks.

Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu makes for a blissful and wholesome meal with some hot rice

Tamilnadu cuisine has several delectable kozhambu varieties to offer. This Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu from my friend Kalyani’s blog is such a beauty – lentil fritters cooked in a tangy tamarind gravy. I’m so sorely tempted to make it too. Been ages since we had some!

Ingredients used – a closer look

There are a few different versions of Poricha Kozhambu made in Tamilnadu. The way this dish is made in my mother’s side of the family and my husband’s side is also different. The recipe I am sharing with you today is from mom’s side.

Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu includes drumsticks, of course – the kind that grow on trees and not the crispy, spiced ones that are sold in diners! Drumsticks aka moringa are well-known for the several health benefits they possess, including their being rich in antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory properties. Check out this article by Healthline to know more.

Another major ingredient of this kozhambu is moong dal, which is high in fiber, antioxidants, and protein. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties. In case you would like to read up more about this, I am linking to this article on Healthline on the health benefits of moong (mung) beans, from which moong dal is made.

Apart from the usual suspects like salt and turmeric powder, this Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu also contains a freshly ground spice paste. Urad dal, dry red chillies, and coconut are roasted in very little oil and ground together, to make this paste.

The kozhambu is given a simple tempering – mustard seeds sputtered in some sesame oil, along with asafoetida, curry leaves, and a couple of dry red chillies.

How is Poricha Kozhambu different from sambar?

While both Poricha Kozhambu and sambar refer to a gravy (a sort of stew) made using lentils and vegetables, the two are quite different. The ingredients used in both dishes are different, and so is the resultant flavour profile.

For starters, there is no tamarind used in Poricha Kozhambu (at least in this version), while it is an important constituent of sambar. The spice paste used in Poricha Kozhambu includes only three basic ingredients, whereas they are much more elaborate in case of Arachuvitta Sambar. This Poricha Kozhambu recipe uses moong dal, as opposed to the toor dal that is most commonly used in the making of sambar.

How to make Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

To roast and grind:

1. 2 tablespoons urad dal

2. 4 Bydagi dry red chillies

3. 2 Salem Gundu dry red chillies

4. 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces

5. A few drops of sesame oil

Other ingredients:

1. 1 cup moong dal

2. 3 long drumsticks

3. Salt to taste

4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

For tempering:

1. 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

3. 2 pinches of asafoetida

4. 2 dry red chillies

5. 2 sprigs of curry leaves

Method:

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

1. Wash the moong dal in running water, thoroughly. Drain out all the water from it.

2. Transfer the washed and drained moong dal to a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover the dal completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Meanwhile, we will prepare the spice paste that this dish requires. Heat a few drops of oil in a pan, then add in the urad dal, Bydagi and Salem Gundu dry red chillies. Turn the flame down to medium. Roast on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the lentils turn brown. At this stage, add in the coconut pieces and roast for a couple of seconds. Then, transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn while roasting.

4. Remove the tops and ends from the drumsticks and chop them into 3-inch pieces. Keep aside.

Top left: Step 5, Top right and below: Step 6, Bottom right and left: Step 7

5. Take the drumstick pieces in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in a little salt and turmeric powder, as well as 1 cup of water. Place on high flame.

6. When the water starts boiling, cover the pan with a lid. Reduce flame to medium. Let the drumsticks cook on medium flame for 6-7 minutes or till they are done. Check one drumstick piece for done-ness – you should be able to open it up easily and remove the flesh with your hands.

7. When the pressure from the cooker goes down completely, remove the cooked moong dal from it. Mash it thoroughly.

Top left and centre: Step 8, Top right and below: Step 9, Bottom right: Step 10, Bottom centre: Step 11, Bottom left: Step 12

8. Once the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a small mixer jar. Grind everything together to a smooth paste with a little water.

9. When the drumsticks are done cooking, add the cooked and mashed moong dal to the pan. Also add the spice paste we ground earlier. Mix well.

10. Taste and adjust the salt. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder.

11. Add in about 1 cup water or as needed to adjust the consistency of the mixture. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the mixture thickens and all the ingredients are well incorporated together. Switch off gas.

12. Now we will temper the dish. Heat oil for tempering in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida, dry red chillies, and curry leaves. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds, ensuring that they do not burn. Add this tempering to the other pan. Mix well. Your Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu is ready. Keep covered for 7-10 minutes for the flavours of the tempering to seep into the dish, then it is ready to serve. Serve hot, with rice.

Is this a vegan and gluten-free recipe?

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

To make it gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercially available Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent, and are thus best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe as well.

Tips & Tricks

1. There are a few different versions of Poricha Kozhambu. Some make it with toor dal, some with tamarind or tomatoes added to it. In some families, the ingredients used in making the spice paste are slightly different. Like I was saying earlier, this is the way Poricha Kozhambu is made in my mom’s side of the family. If you don’t like the idea of a kozhambu without sourness, I suppose you could add in some chopped tomatoes (after the drumsticks are cooked) and/or some tamarind extract (add this after the drumsticks are cooked, let it cook till the raw smell goes away) or lemon juice (add this at the very end, after the gas is switched off).

2. The moong dal should be well-cooked and soft. Ensure that it is completely cooked before adding it to the pan. For us, 4 whistles in the pressure cooker on high flame works perfectly fine, while this may vary from one household to the other.

3. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Poricha Kozhambu you require. It thickens up somewhat with time, so it is best to keep it runny.

4. I have used a mix of the spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the not-so-hot Bydagi dry red chillies in the spice paste. You can adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

5. I have used sesame oil (‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil) here as it goes best in South Indian preparations like this one. However, you may use any variety of oil you prefer.

6. I have made this Poricha Kozhambu using drumsticks, but you may use any other vegetable instead. It is often made using a mix of vegetables (like carrot, potato, drumsticks, chayote aka chow chow or brinjal, and French beans/hyacinth beans). This dish can also be made using greens like moringa leaves (‘murunga keerai’ in Tamil), or fresh or sun-dried Turkey berries (‘sundakkai‘ in Tamil).

7. You may garnish the Murungakkai Poricha Kozhambu with some finely chopped coriander if you like, but it is not strictly used in the traditional version.

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