Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Dhokla Demystified

Last night for some reason I got the urge to clean out my spice cupboard, which is very tiny and about two shelves in my kitchen cabinet. I took everything out and found a packet of instant Dhokla mix, well it was expired, but I thought I would still try it out!

The instructions seemed simple enough. I had to mix it with water and oil and it was ready to bake. The mixture started to form bubbles which I guess is the reaction of the baking soda. Dhokla's need to be steamed and I do not have a steamer so I steam baked mine. I used my baking tray, which is about 1/2 an inch deep and filled it with water and then placed my square Pyrex dish on it carefully. Remember to grease the dish you are using or else the Dhokla's I imagine will stick to the dish. I left it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes I think.

I am so paranoid and curious at the same time, I kept peaking in to see what was going on. When I thought they looked ready, I stuck a chopstick in and it came out clean. I put the oven off, took the Pyrex dish out and left the baking tray with the water in the oven to cool, making a mental note to take it out later. I then made the topping, but before I could get there, I had to have a taste, that is why a small piece in the bottom left corner is missing! It was surprisingly good, and would taste even better with the topping.

Dhokla's are the perfect snack, but they became dinner for me! Dhokla's are a delicacy that orginated in the State of Gujurat in India, and they are gaining popularity in the rest of the country. My best memory of Dhokla is from small shop in Flushing, Queens. The shop sells all kinds of Indian snacks and sweets. Their Dhokla's were especially good. Dhokla's are made out of chickpea flour, semolina, spices and the mixture has to be fermented, to get that spongy light fluffy texture. One of these days I will try making them from scratch! But atleast I got to make my own customized topping. With the topping it tasted tangy and fluffy and just good!

Ingredients for topping:
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 dried chili
juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon chili powder
handful of parsley.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add mustard seeds and dried chili cut in half. When the mustard seeds start to pop, take the pan of the fire and stir. Pour evenly on Dhokla tray. Sprinkle chili powder on Dhokla tray. Squeeze juice of lime over Dhokla tray. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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