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 :)




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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