Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dhokla - an Indian dish you should try while visiting Mumbai

We continue the journey through all those culinary delights and its various incarnations around the world. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra boasts a surprising variety of food. If you plan to visit Mumbai at any time in the future, then you should definitely try Dhokla.

Whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, there are a variety of different cuisines. On its way to becoming the commercial capital of India in a village known mainly for fishing, Mumbai has come a long way in terms of gastronomy. Moreover, people who migrated to Mumbai from different parts of India in the hope of realizing their dreams, have brought with them gastronomically delicious gems that have contributed to diversity.

You can find a sizeable population of Gujaratis residing in Mumbai and that is why their favorite snack Dhokla has gained popularity like no other. This vegetarian dish is very simple to do as it is made from fermented chickpeas, hot spices, and ginger in a closed container. In order to enhance its flavor chilies and mustard seeds are added. Then it is cut into small pieces. It is served accompanied by green chutney or peanut butter.

Dhokla comes from the region of Gujarat, though its popularity spread across India. While the basic recipe remains essentially the same, the taste can be different with cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, and a wide range of spices. This is a snack that is commonly found in sweet shops.

The basis for Dhokla consists of rice and peas, or chickpea flour called Besan. In some recipes, the batter is also prepared with yogurt. All these ingredients are first soaked for several hours, often overnight. The ingredients are soaked into a paste which is fermented for several hours.

After fermentation, spices such as ginger and chili and sodium bicarbonate are added to the mass. The mixture is steamed for a few minutes. Then cut into pieces and fried with mustard seeds. The frying process is completed when the seeds begin to crackle and pop. Then the plate is seasoned with chopped green chilies and grass with similar leeks called asafoetida.

In some recipes, a mixture of water, sugar, and oil is poured into the dish. Dhokla is often garnished with coconut and cilantro. Also often it served with chutney and fried peppers.

Dhokla recipes vary from family and region. Instead of chickpea, lentil could be another variety, as ur, also known black grams. The dish can be prepared with paneer cheese and is used as a sandwich filling. Khatta Dhokla is a version with sour curd. Rasiya Dhokla contains a dramatically different spice mixture, including tamarind, jaggery, and garam masala.

The dish is often confused with Khamman Dhokla, a similar snack with chickpea batter. The main difference between the two is that there is no rice in the basic recipe and is not fermented. Khaman Dhokla is also flavored with chili and mustard seeds and garnished with coconut and cilantro.

Gujarat consists of four main areas of North Gujarat, Kathiawar, Kachchh and southern Gujarat. Gujarati cuisine is predominantly vegetarian, with a variety of recipes through these regions. Common dishes tend to be made up of a mixture of spicy, sweet and salty flavors.

It is also common to find street stalls offering naan or roti (two types of flatbread) with curry or dhal (vegetable stew). A very popular traditional "snack" are the samosas, stuffed potato dumplings fried triangular, minced meat, spinach or cheese and served with sweet or spicy sauce. The Indian diaspora and the popularity of its cuisine have made it possible to taste almost all these delicacies in many other places in the world, from America to Australia, and of course in the UK.


Unknown said...

Interesting blog. Welcome to
:) Take care!

Akila said...

Came very good...

Event: Dish name starts with Q till Feb 28th

Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ said...

nice preparation...


Arpita @ The Gastronomic Bong said...

Dhokla looks so nice and fluffy!! :)

Kalyan Panja
Kalyan Panja is a photographer and a travel writer sharing stories and experiences through photographs and words