Moong Dal Dhokla ~ Savory Steamed Cake

When finalizing the list for moong dal recipes for this month’s Cooking Carnival, Cooking with Protein Rich Ingredients, I remembered the moong dal dhokla I tried when we did the Indian Cooking Odyssey couple of years ago. I ended up posting Khaman Dhokla and I completely forgot about this moong dal dhokla.

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When I considered doing dhokla for Gujarat, couple of years ago, I asked U’s aunt S, for the recipe. She gave me the recipe but when I made it, I either missed one ingredient or missed one step, I don’t remember now. Though the dhokla was edible, I did not feel like posting it. I was going to re-cook the dhokla and post it for CCC but that never happened. I am glad I picked moong dal as one of the protein rich ingredients for this month-long marathon and could revisit moong dhokla.

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If you are new to Indian cooking or Gujarati cuisine, dhokla is a steamed savory cake made with fermented batter which is made of dals with or without rice. Vaishali has a bunch of dhokla recipes with various ingredients. Dhoklas are served as a breakfast, snack or as a light meal. These moong dal dhoklas were my lunch couple of days ago and I ate it all by myself!

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Moong dhokla recipes l checked online do not call for fermenting the batter. Aunt S’s recipe does and another difference from rest of the recipes is this calls for only moong dal. Most of the recipes had some besan/gram flour as well. Since her recipe is different from what is available online, I went with her recipe. She did mention that sometimes she adds about 1 tbsp of urad dal but I went without it.

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She gave the ingredients and instructions to prepare dhokla and I eyeballed the measurements. I adjusted green chilies to taste and also added some sesame seeds though it was not part of the recipe. I made a small batch with ½ cup of moong dal and used a 2 ½ qt saucepan as steamer. I placed the batter in a 6 ½” cake pan that fit perfectly in my saucepan but 7 or 7 ½” pan will work as well, for this quantity. I fermented the batter overnight, more than 12 hours yet, I felt the batter did not ferment much. Nonetheless, the taste was good and dhoklas came out good.

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Preparation: 10 – 15 minutes
Fermenting: Overnight
Steaming: 10 -12 minutes
Serves: 2 – 3 depending on how it is served
Yields: 24 – 30 pieces

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Moong Dal
  • ¼ cup Yogurt (add less or more depending on consistency)
  • 2 Green Chilies, ground to paste (¾ – 1 tsp.)
  • 1 Garlic Clove, ground to paste
  • ¼” Ginger, ground to paste (ginger garlic paste is ½ – ¾ tsp.)
  • ⅛ Cumin
  • ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste. I used ¾ tsp and felt I should have used less.)
  • 1 tsp Fruit Salt
  • Lime Juice to taste (I did not use but felt I should have added a bit. Instead I sprinkled some on dhokla)
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • Pinch of Turmeric
  • Cilantro or Kothimir, chopped for garnish

Tempering

  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp Oil
  • ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp Sesame Seeds (my addition)
  • 4-6 Curry Leaves, chopped (My curry leaves were big and tore them into 2-3 pieces)
  • 2-3 Green Chilies, chopped
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Dash of Turmeric
  • Dash to a pinch of Hing (I used a dash. A pinch is ⅛ tsp and I used ½ of that)
  • 2 tbsp. Water (my addition)

Preparation:

  • Preparing Batter – Wash and soak moong dal for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  • Wash the dal again and put in a strainer to drain excess water.
  • Make a paste of green chilies, ginger and garlic.
  • Take the pastes to a food processor bowl, add cumin, salt and soaked moong dal. Add little yogurt at a time and grind the dal to a smooth paste and of pourable consistency. Do not add water and use yogurt if the batter is very thick. Batter should be of idli batter consistency.
  • Add oil and lime juice, if using.
  • Ferment the batter overnight.
  • Steaming – Apply oil to 6 ½” pan or dhokla plate.
  • Put a sauce pan to boil 1 ½ cups of water.
  • Place a steaming plate in it.
  • When water is boiling, add fruit salt to batter and mix immediately. Batter will fluff up. Do not over mix and pour it into greased pan.
  • Place the pan on steaming plate, cover the saucepan and steam on medium high flame for 10 – 12 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. I set the timer but forgot to start it. I think I steamed it for 10 minutes. If the toothpick or knife does not come out clean, steam it for few more minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, let the dhokla sit for 2 minutes and then remove from the steamer/ saucepan.
  • Let the dhokla cool for 5 minutes.
  • Tempering – Do the tempting by heating oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add curry leaves, mustard seeds, green chilies and let the chilies fry a bit.
  • Add hing. salt, turmeric and stir.
  • Add water and bring to a boil.
  • Pour this tempering on dhokla. You can pour the tempering before or after cutting the dhokla into cubes.
  • Serving – Let the tempering seep into dhokla for few minutes, sprinkle chopped cilantro and serve.
  • To serve, pull apart each cube from the pan/plate. Serve with green chutney.

Note:

  • Lime Juice – I didn’t add lime juice to batter and when eating dhokla, I missed the khutta (sour) taste in dhokla. I sprinkled some over the dhokla when eating. If you prefer lightly sour dhokla, add some lime juice to batter before fermenting. Just a few drops or you can squeeze later, as I did. I would prefer the former, though.
  • Green Chilies – I like chilies roasted in oil. I chopped the green chilies for the tempering and roasted them well. I can eat roasted chilies but not raw green chilies. The green chilies you see in the pictures are raw. When I sent my aunt a picture of dhokla before I plated it, she could barely see green chilies as I roasted them well in the tempering. She suggest I put long green chilies on dhokla as garnish as it looks good and people can pick it out, if they don’t want it.

This day in 2014: Haiti – Griot & Lima Beans Salad for Food of the World
This day in 2015: Goli Baje ~ Managlore Bajji & Coconut Chutney from Karnataka and Coconut Chutney
Events: This also goes to this week’s Cooking from Cookbook Challenge.
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