Thursday 22 March 2012


Rakhi's mom made Dhokla like no one else did. It was Ma's birthday and I was desperate to make something special. Something that did not happen in our house. So Rakhi got me the recipe from her mom and I felt suitably empowered.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ma was to have complete rest that day. From breakfast to dinner, she shouldn't step into the kitchen. While Tuli and I were the chefs, Bhaiyu ran errands for us. He would cycle to buy eggs if we messed up with the first cake; keep a watch to see if Ma was coming as we decorated the house and generally be helpful for that one day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Dhokla was to be the shaam ka nashta. While Ma took her siesta(we would force her to), we would make the dhokla. Wouldn't take us more than an hour, all going well. Wouldn't she be thrilled! Dhokla was something that we normally bought, never made. This was a first.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Come evening, the Dhokla tray was presented to her with due fanfare. Ma had to cut it like a cake. She did. Trying to ignore the hard mass. She took a piece and bit into it. Her face changed. The Chief with the able sipahis stood watching. She urged them to try. They did. With trepidation. I can forgive myself the lack of fluff but that screaming sourness of the citric acid pierced my very core. It could make a tiger run for life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The tray was whisked away to the kitchen, the pieces removed, mashed with boiled potatoes, made into tikkis and served. All in an impressive thirty minutes. Ma wondered when her daughter had learnt such speed. I was still in school. She fondly picked a tikki, as did we all, and as each one bit into her/his own, it was unanimous that it was impossible to eat such sour food, love notwithstanding. For years dhokla remained my Achilles' heel. Till somebody discovered ENO. God bless him!
                                                                                                      The one you see here is fluffy and so succulent, it melts in the mouth. Try it at home. And let the tiger rest :)
1. 1 cup besan(chickpea flour)
2. 1/2 cup sour curd
3. 1 tsp grated ginger
4. 1 pinch turmeric powder
5. 1 packet ENO
6. 2 tbsp oil
7. 1 1/2 tsp sugar
8. 1/4 tsp salt
9. 1/4 cup water (for batter)
1. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2. 2-3 green chilles- slit
3. 1/2 tbsp chopped coriander
4. 1/2 tbsp kadi patta
5. 1 tbsp grated coconut(optional)
6. 1/4 cup sugar
7. 1 cup water
8. 1 tsp oil
1. In a bowl, add the besan & curd and mix to a smooth paste.
2. Add water, mix well and leave aside for at least an hour/ slight fermentation.
3. Add turmeric, oil & salt to the fermented batter and mix well.
4. Gradually, mix the grated ginger & sugar and fold in the batter.
5. Add Eno and see the batter immediately rise.
6. Grease a pan, pour the batter, cover its mouth and steam dhokla for 15-20 minutes on high flame.

Do not use the weight if you are using a pressure cooker.

7.  Warm 1tsp oil. Allow kadi patta and chillies to crackle. Add the water and sugar. As the water simmers, add the chopped coriander and bring to boil.                                                                                                                              Pour this thin syrup on the dhokla pieces, garnish with grated coconut and enjoy the delicious taste of Gujarat.

Moral of the story: Never discourage a child from trying something new. Sooner or later, s/he will master the craft. Only, it may take fifteen years...

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