Archive for June 10, 2007

Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables ~ T is for Dhoklas OOPS Tomato

t is for tomato
t is for tomato…

It’s Saturday again. Not only is it time for dearest Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables, but it’s time for celebration!

Congratulations, Nupur, on your convocation! May you reap the fruits of your labor to the fullest and realise all your dreams :)

Now down to serious business – T is for tomato ;)

Every time someone blogs about dhokla, I wish I could traverse the ether.
I want to reach out across the miles, to the plate proffered on the screen.
I crave a piece of that light-as-a-feather, savory yet not-too-spicy bit of heaven.
So close, and yet so far.

“I should make some”, I think to myself.

Let me get some citric acid crystals from the health-food store.
Let me get some Eno.
Let me find a free afternoon to play. I don’t just want to cook dhokla, I want to *create* dhokla. Just like that — light and spicy. I aspire to that dhokla which I drool over in a dreamlike state, when I see those pics.

dhokla experiment
ingredients for dhokla ~ besan, dhokla flour, eno fruit salt, assorted vegetables including fresh tomato!

Dhokla. Although there are mixes available, somehow I can’t bring myself to resort to that convenience until I have at least *tried* to make the dish myself. Besides, it’s so easy right? Just mix up the besan or the sooji and some yogurt, or water, seasonings, little Eno… make the tadka… poof! You’re a dhokla-master, right!?!

As I tell the kids, sometimes fear of the unknown is the most paralyzing fear there is. Well I know what besan is and I know how to steam-cook food but somehow the light and fluffy dhokla of my dreams is out of reach due to my irrational fear.
What am I afraid of?

Dull, heavy, it’ll-never-rise sort of hockey-puck dhokla.

Practice makes perfect, and I have to try.
“Let me begin at the beginning” I think. I wish I knew how to steam it…

I found the dhokla-maker weeks ago, in an international (but mostly Asian, and mostly Indian at that) shop. I washed it well and scalded it. Who knows how long it was on the shelf before I got it for $9! Finally I got a free afternoon.

dhokla ready to cook
dhokla batter in the pan, ready to cook

I rounded up all my ingredients. I had in mind a dhokla sandwich, not with green chile chutney, but with roasted eggplant and tomato. When I found a vine-ripe tomato in the store today, I knew what I had to do.

dhokla in stand
the batter, in my $9 dhokla stand!

I will not list the ingredients for this universally loved dish. Instead I will say I was inspired by and may have adapted from many bloggers’ recipes I’ve come across. I thank you all!

~~~

Tomato and Brinjal Sandwich Dhokla

Thinly slice and pan-roast some sweet young brinjal. Salt it lightly and set it aside.
Chop half a very ripe tomato. Slice the other half thin. Set these aside.

For batter: besan, chiles and the chopped tomatoes with cilantro and few green chiles.

Tadka: mustard seed, chopped green chiles, and garlic if you like.

Make a tomato sandwich easily by placing thin slices of ripe tomato between two thin dhokla cakes. Add slices of pan-roasted brinjal too.
Top with tadka and don’t try to take pics before it’s eaten.
Even on the first try, it’s dhokla. Saving it is a lost cause :)

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dhoklas

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Dhokla Inspirations

Hema’s Khaman

Trupti’s Gujarati Series: Infused Khatta-Meetha Khaman Dhokla

Jugalbandi’s Khaman Dhokla

TV Star Nandita’s Instant Khaman Dhokla

And of course, our dear hostess!

Nupur’s Instant Dhokla

~~~

Special thanks to GC for listening to me go on and on (and on) about the finer points of dhokla without even knowing what it was :)

And I would like to express a great big thank you to Manjula of Manjula’s Kitchen, my very own fairy godmother (unbenounced to her) who magically appeared, just when my confidence was lacking.

I watched her how-to video on dhokla, and you can too. Find it at YouTube by searching on “manjula dhokla”. She has many other lovely recipes as well, and Manjula, I hope you are not offended by my mention here — I am most grateful! :)

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