Khaman dhokla recipe: the softest dhokla with the best flavour

Khaman dhokla is a steamed savoury cake made of gram flour/ chickpea flour and is flavoured with spicy and lemony oil. It is a traditional Gujarati dish that is now popular among Pakistani and Indian cuisines.

Khaman Dhokla

Khaman dhokla recipe

The first time I had dhokla (or dhokra) many years ago I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, dhokra is one of the few Indian/ Pakistani foods that I was not keen on. And I consider myself an adventurous foodie who can eat most food. Yet, I couldn’t like dhokla.

As time went by, about a year ago, a friend’s mom gave my husband a homemade dhokla. My friend is a Gujarati. And her mom is very good at cooking Gujarati food. So I thought I would give the dhokla another try so I pinched my husband’s portion of dhokra. 

khaman dhokla with overlay text

To my surprise, I found myself enjoying it so much that I helped myself with a proper portion. 

Since then, I have converted. I fell in love with dhokla. 

The thing is, I find my friend’s mom’s dhokla is totally different from what I tried before. Honestly, the one that I tried before was bought from a well-known vegetarian restaurant in the Manchester area. And apparently, all my extended family speaks highly of the dhokra from this restaurant.

However, ever since I tasted my friend’s mom’s dhokra, I don’t think there is any dhokra better than hers. It was her dhokra that converted me into a dhokra lover. 

She also kindly taught me how to make it. It took me so many practices to get my dhokla right. There were times that I tried making it for days in a row when I got fed up.

Now, I can safely say I know how to do it right. So I’m sharing with you the recipe (with my adopted aunt’s blessing of course) and the lessons that I learned to make it right. 

2 plates of khaman dhokla

The difference between Khaman and Dhokla

It was when I learned how to make dhokla I know why I was not keen on the first dhokla that I tried.

Because the one that I had before was dhokla which was made of gram flour mixed with other grains such as semolina or rice. So the texture is slightly hard.

Whilst the dhokla that my friend’s mom gave us was actually Khaman Dhokla which is made of gram flour only. Therefore the texture is softer. 

Another reason is that my adopted aunt’s recipe has a balanced flavoring proportion that makes the dhokla so flavorsome.

Key ingredients for Dhokla

ingredients for dhokra

To make the steamed cake of dhokla, you will need gram flour/ chickpea flour, citric acid, bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda, turmeric, asafoetida, sugar, salt, and water.

When it comes to gram flour, make sure you use a freshly open pack of besan flour. Because fresh and new gram flour is the key to making good khaman dhokla. Old gram flour can become bitter. Thus it will give a bitter taste to your steamed cake. 

The two ingredients of citric acid and bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda are the key to getting fluffy dhokla. 

I understand that some recipes use something called Eno – which is an antacid brand with the main ingredients of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid. 

However, this dhokla recipe simply uses regular bicarbonate of soda and citric acid, without Eno.

A little note for using asafoetida. This spice has a strong fragrance. I suggest you go easy on it. I personally put just less than a pinch for this recipe.

Ingredients for tarka/ tadka

ingredients for tarka

As for the drizzle or tadka/ tarka, you need lemon, sugar, chili, black mustard seeds, curry leaves, coriander leaves, oil, and water. 

How To Make Steamed Cake Of Chickpea Flour

First, you place the dry ingredients i.e. gram flour, turmeric, salt, sugar, asafoetida, and citric acid into a large bowl. You can sieve the flour if you want to.

Then, add in the water little by little as you mix and stir everything until you have a smooth batter. Leave it to rest for about 20 minutes while you get on making the tadka and get your pan ready to preheat in the steamer.

Once the batter is rested and ready to cook, add the bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda into the batter and quickly mix the batter. Your batter will expand and become very fluffy.

Quickly and carefully pour the batter into the hot pre-steamed pan. Steam the batter at medium-high heat for about 25 minutes. 

dry ingredients for dhokra
1. dry ingredients
mixing the dry ingredients with water for making dokhra
2. mixing water with dry ingredients
dhokra mixture
3. dhokra batter ready to rest
dhokra mixture and a mixing spoon
4. adding bicarbonate of soda to dhokra mixture
dhokra mixture after baking soda added
5. fluffy batter after baking soda added
a tin of dhokra batter in a steamer
6. dhokra batter ready for steaming

Get The Tadka/ Tarka Ready

You can get your tarka ready while the dhokra batter is resting. 

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add in the sugar, chili slices, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, and curry leaves. Fry until all the spices release aroma.

Then carefully pour in the water and lemon juice. Let it cook for another minute or two before you switch the heat off. 

frying herbs and spices for tarka
1. fry the herbs and spices
spices and lemon juice for dhokra tarka
2. adding lemon juice
tarka for dhokla
3. adding water to tarka
sizzling tarka for dhokra
4. tarka is ready

Top tips to make Besan Dhokla

As I mentioned above, I tried the recipes numerous times because I couldn’t make my dhokla rise and fluffy. From those trials, I’ve come to realize my mistakes. 

You can take away my tips to get your dhokla fluffy:

  • When you mix the dry ingredients with water, try to use a big spoon. And stir it as you press the mixing spoon against the mixing bowl. Feel the granules of sugar and citric acid. So your goal is to get a really smooth batter without any flour lumps or sugar/citric acid granules. Because this will make your dhokla rise and fluffy. It takes me about 10 minutes to get the right kind of batter.
  • Mix the baking soda in the same manner. Press it against the bowl so that you’ll make sure it all dissolves and it doesn’t create lumps. If you don’t mix the soda well and it leaves lumps in the batter, not only will your dhokla not rise properly, but it’ll also have red spots. Because the baking soda is not distributed evenly and incorporates fully with the citric acid. 
  • Line the steamer lid with a tea towel. This way, it can absorb all the water from the steam and avoid the water drip onto your dhokla. You would also want to put something heavy on top of the lid. Just to make sure there’ll be less space/ chance for the steam to come out. So that the dhokla can get better steam pressure
  • Pierce the ready steamed dhokla with a skewer or a fork. And make sure your tarka/ tadka is warm or hot when you pour it over your dhokla. Spoon it little by little and wait in between for the tarka/ tadka to be absorbed by the dhokla.

How to enjoy Dhokla

Dhokra/ dhokla is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast and it makes a perfect choice to have for Sehri/ Suhoor during Ramadan. But of course, you can have your dhokra/ dhokla anytime you like really.

In my household, we now eat our dhokra for our afternoon cup of tea time, along with other snacks. Sometimes my husband and I would have it as a snack at the night long after our dinner. We feel this ok because Khaman Dhokla is very light. 

I understand that dhokra is also eaten together with some chutney sauce made of spicy tamarind. But we just eat it as is. 

You can keep dhokla in the fridge/ refrigerator for about 3-4 days. Though in my house it never lasts more than two days as we all finish them all by then.

You can enjoy your dhokla cold or hot/ warm. I personally prefer it warm, because I find it more comfortingly delicious. So when our dhokra has gone cooled, I would just warm it up in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds depending on the size.

Related posts

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now excited to try this Khaman Dhokla recipe. I’ve tried my best to explain everything that I learned to get the recipe right. So please feel free to let me know if you have any questions regarding the recipe. Or, if you tried the recipe, you can always leave in the comments below how you like the recipe so that others will benefit too.

And please follow me on FacebookInstagram, and/or Pinterest to sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out my other recipes that you may equally like. And it will be awesome if you could also show some love by sharing the post with those you love.

Thank you and all the best.

khaman dhokla garnished with green chillies
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4.67 from 3 votes

Khaman Dhokla

Khaman dhokla is a steamed savoury cake made of gram flour/ chickpea flour and is flavoured with spicy and lemony oil. It is a traditional Gujarati dish that is now popular among Pakistani and Indian cuisines.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Breakfast & Brunch
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 5

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls.
  • Mixing spoon.
  • 7 inch round cake tin.
  • Steamer.

Ingredients

For khaman dhokla:

  • ¾ cup gram flour/ besan flour/ chickpea flour.
  • ¾ teaspoon citric acid.
  • 2 teaspoons sugar.
  • ½ salt.
  • ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda.
  • A pinch of turmeric powder.
  • A pinch of Asafoetida/ Hing.
  • ¾ cup of water

For tarka/ tadka:

  • 12 curry leaves.
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds.
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame seeds.
  • 2 green chillies diagonally sliced.
  • 2 teaspoons sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons oil.
  • ½ lemon juice.
  • ¼ cup of water.
  • A pinch of Asafoetida optional
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped.

Instructions

For Khaman Dhokla:

  • In a mixing bowl, put the gram flour, sugar, citric acid, salt, turmeric powder and Asafoetida. Give a stir until everything is mixed well.
  • Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture, and add in ½ cup of water. Then mix the water and the dry ingredients as you press the spoon against the bowl to help dissolve the sugar and citric acid. 
  • When everything is dissolved, mix in the last ¼ cup of water and stir it well until you get a smooth and thick batter. Set aside and leave it to rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Heat your steamer, grease the tin with a little bit of oil and put the tin in the steamer to heat up.
  • When your steamer is hot and ready, and your batter has rested for about 20 minutes, stir in the bicarbonate of soda in the dhokla mixture. Mix the batter carefully and quickly. Make sure all the baking soda has dissolved.
  • Put the batter in a hot tin and steam it for about 25-30 minutes at medium heat. 

For tarka/ tadka:

  • Heat the oil with sugar, chilli slices, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, and curry leaves.
  • When the spices and herbs give aroma, add in the lemon juice and water. Leave to cook for a minute or two.

To assemble:

  • Using a skewer, pierce the steamed khaman dhokla several times.
  • Spoon the tarka over the dhokla one at a time until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Garnish the dhokla with coriander leaves.

Notes

  • Asafoetida that is also called Hing has quite a strong fragrance. I’m personally not very keen and have to be very careful in adding it to the mixture. A tiny of it is more than enough. 
  • When you mix the batter, press the spoon against the bowl so that you can feel the sugar and citric acid granules. The aim is to make all these granules fully dissolved.
  • Put something heavy on top of the steamer lid, to make sure there is no steam coming out of the steamer. I use a stone mortar. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 402mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.

Bio:

Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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2 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Everything is perfect, and the dish looks yummy, but if you say it as a Gujarati dish then it is called Khaman and not Dhokla. Khaman and Dhokla are both different recipes in Gujarat/India. Khaman is made of chickpea flour and Dhokla is made from rice flour.

    1. Admittedly I’m not a Gujarati and I’m not a food historian. But my friend’s mom who was born and grew up in Gujarat taught me this recipe. It is upon her blessing and encouragement that I posted this recipe. According to her, Dhokla refers to a steamed savoury cake drizzled with tadka and served with chutney. And there are varieties of Dhokla based on its key ingredients. You can find one made of rice flour, semolina flour, urid dal flour, etc. Khaman refers to the one made with chickpea flour.

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