Gujarat is a beautiful swath of land not unlike an alligator’s head that sweeps into the Arabian Sea and kisses Pakistan’s southeast border.
I wanted a really special, very authentic dhokla recipe to share with you rather than many quick versions around the web made with chickpea flour. I turned to my friend, Roshani, whose family moved here from Gujarat when Roshani was just a little girl. Her mom, who lives in Houston, immediately sent me two recipes for dhokla– one for the more ubiquitous yellow version, made with chana dal or bengal gram dal, and the other a white version made with udad dal or black gram dal.I made the white version and, to make it healthier, I replaced half the rice in the recipe with brown rice. The dhokla was delicious, and neither Desi nor I could have enough of it.
Keep in mind that this recipe makes a ton of dhokla, so halve it if you are just making it for one or two people. I steamed the dhokla in a round baking dish that fitted into my pressure cooker base, but if you have an idli mold you can use that too, although you will of course end up with idli-shaped dhokla rather than little square pieces.
Thanks Roshani and mom, for a great recipe.
Brown Rice Dhokla
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup white rice
- 3/4 cup udad dal
- 1/4 cup chana dal
- 4-5 green chillies, minced
- 1 12- oz package of silken soft tofu
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Eno Fruit Salt (you can find this at any Indian grocery store-- it's primarily meant to fight indigestion)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp oil to sputter the mustard seeds
- 2-3 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- A pinch of cayenne pepper to sprinkle on the dhokla (optional)
Soak the rice and the dals together for about 8 hours or overnight.
Drain, then blend with some water to make a rather smooth paste. You will need a fairly powerful blender for this, like a Vitamix or one of those hardy Indian blenders. I just put it into my dosa grinder which does a great job.
Add the tofu and lemon juice and salt and blend a little more until everything's nicely mixed.
Set aside for 2-6 hours to ferment. I would recommend two hours if you don't want your dhokla sour-- Desi and I prefer it that way.
Grease a baking dish or any dish with sides at least 2-3 inches high. Heat about 1 inch water in a pan that the dish will fit into and let it come to a boil.
Pour the batter about 1 inch deep in the greased dish. Now add the Eno Fruit Salt and stir gently, in a single direction, until just mixed. You will start to see the dough bubble and fluff up right before your eyes.
Carefully place the pan inside the boiling water, reduce to a simmer, and sprinkle some cayenne on top. Cover the pan with a snug lid, and let the dhokla steam at least 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove, allow it to cool a little, and then cut into squares.
Heat the oil and sputter the mustard seeds. Pour over the dhokla pieces. Sprinkle the coriander and coconut on top.
Serve warm with some coconut chutney or on its own.