Besan dhokla – Made with healthy gram flour, this classic is a favorite for its spongy texture and fresh flavors. To jazz up the deliciousness, finish off with a touch of tempered spices or tadka. Easy to prepare yet never fails to impress!
When it comes to breakfast, most of the time I lean towards savory. I must admit, I love plenty of fresh veggies and fruits in everyday food, but my second favorite way to enjoy a healthy meal is with the addition of legumes and pulses.
So, say hello to a super healthy classic recipe idea – dhokla. A super simple yet delicious breakfast + lunch + snack dish from the Indian state of Gujarat. This dish is all about chickpea flour also known as gram flour or besan taken to a whole new level.
Basically, besan dhokla is steamed spongy and savory cake apt for weekend brunch or even as a snack. And honestly, I’m totally into it. I love the perfectly spongy texture of dhokla. Moreover, I’m literally obsessed with that beautiful natural yellow color.
Ok, let’s talk about this dhokla recipe. The traditional method of making this dish involves a long fermentation process. However, you can cut down on the fermentation time easily. (Find more information in the notes section below). Having said that, I prefer the traditional method, and here’s my foolproof recipe to make the perfect spongy besan dhokla.
Start with sifting gram flour into a bowl. Mix it with yogurt and water to make batter with pouring consistency. The consistency of the batter needs to be similar to cake batter. Again, make sure there are no lumps. Let this batter ferment for about 3-4 hours. In fact, fermentation is the key to making perfect dhoklas.
Once the batter is fermented, you’ll need to add the other ingredients which will literally amplify the flavor of this dish. So, here are the ingredients that you’ll need to add to the batter just before it goes into the steamer – ground turmeric, asafetida, lemon juice mixture (a combination of lemon juice, bicarb soda and oil), ginger green chili paste and sugar.
Pour this batter into a greased heatproof container, and steam for 10-15 minutes. The perfect besan dhokla will be soft and spongy like sponge cake. In other words, dhokla is the savory version of your favorite sweet cake.
In order to make this dhokla even more flavorsome, we’ll also make a simple tadka (tempered spices) to pour on the sponge squares. For the tadka, simply splutter few mustard seeds and fry curry leaves in hot oil.
Make the prettiest dhoklas ever with a generous sprinkle of coriander (cilantro) leaves and grated coconut.
- 2 cups gram flour (besan or chickpea flour)
- 1 cup yogurt, lightly whisked
- ½ cup warm water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tsp oil
- 1” fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 1-2 green chilies, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp ground turmeric (turmeric powder)
- A pinch asafetida
- A pinch white sugar
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- Coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish
- Grated coconut, to garnish
- Sift besan or gram flour into a large bowl. Add yogurt. Add water to make lump free batter. Season with salt. Cover and ferment for 3-4 hours.
- Meanwhile, combine together lemon juice, bicarb soda and oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place ginger and green chilies in a food processor. Process to a smooth paste. Set aside.
- To the fermented batter, add ground turmeric, asafetida, and ginger paste. Stir to combine. Add lemon mixture and sugar. Stir to combine.
- Pour batter into a greased container. Steam for 10-15 minutes. Leave it to cool slightly. Cut into squares.
- To make the tempered spices, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and sauté for few seconds. Pour it over dhokla.
- Garnish with coriander (cilantro) leaves and grated coconut.
- Serve it on its own or with your favorite chutney
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