Friday, October 4, 2013

Dhokloids: An Indian Chai Evening

My Indian chai parties seem to be going down rather well, so I decided to host another one. I did a repeat of my upma and coconut chutney combination from an earlier chai evening, and my usual five-spice masala chai, but I wanted to try at least one new thing. I looked up the options, and settled on dhokla, the gram flour steamed cakes from West India (due to my somewhat unorthodox results, I and a friend agreed to call them "dhokloids" instead).

First, though, I needed the chutney to go with it. Can't use coconut chutney with dhokla; you need something that bites, so I went for mint & coriander chutney. That meant a lot of de-stalking - two cups of cilantro and one of mint.

The rest is composed of a small chopped onion, two green chilis, a half tsp each of sugar, red chili powder and roast cumin powder, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, a tsp each of chopped ginger and chopped garlic, and a pinch of salt. All of these are mixed with the leaves in a blender to produce a dark green chutney, which can be refrigerated to cool it down a bit before serving.

For the dhoklas, I mixed 350g gram flour with a cup of yoghurt, a pinch of salt, and a half cup of water, folding and stirring until I got a smooth batter, which I let sit covered for three hours.

I mixed in a tsp each of ginger and green chili pastes, along with a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and mixed thoroughly with the juice of a lemon and a tsp each of baking soda and vegetable oil. I then ladled the mixed batter into a steaming bowl and cooked the cakes in a steamer for about 15 minutes until they rose and steamed through.

Served with the chutney, the steamed dhoklas can be cut to whatever size you prefer, and garnished with chopped cilantro, sliced roasted green chilis, and an oil tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds.

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