February 6, 2020

Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)

Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)

Khaman (instant chickpea flour dhokla) is a soft and fluffy steamed chickpea flour cake from Gujarat, western India. This airy, sweet and sour cake is prepared with spices, freshly-grated coconut and coriander leaves.

Essential Gujarati Snacking

The world of Gujarati farsan, or savoury snacks is as complex as it is vast. 100 varieties of gathia made from fried chickpea flour (besan) are identified by shape, texture and seasoning. Delicious!

Khaman recipe dhokla

Gujarati snacks also include Khandvi (rolled yoghurt batter), Handvo (baked lentil and vegetable cake), and Patra (tightly-rolled colocasia leaves layered with sweet and sour tamarind batter). There’s Khichi, Panki and a veritable cornucopia of Bhajiya to explore.

One thing many of these dishes have in common is a heavy reliance on besan, or chickpea flour. It’s a wonder ingredient that adds earthy flavour, crispy texture and essential binding. Indeed, besan is an essential ingredient in Indian snack making.

Types of Dhokla

Dhokla made from a number of different flours; Khaman is as thick as a bath sponge, while another Rava (semolina) preparation is thin and the texture of set polenta. Having said this, some dhokla are made with soaked and ground whole lentils, before being fermented overnight, others are instantly “fermented” with citric acid, baking soda or fruit salts (commonly marketed as Eno).

You’ll find a jar of Eno in most Indian kitchens for this very purpose!

How to make Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)

When making Khaman batter, it is essential to entire process encourages aeration. A long whipping time builds structure and proteins whilst it incorporates air into the mixture. Finally, the batter is beaten vigorously with the catalyst (baking soda) which reacts with the citric acid to produce a bubbly, lava-like reaction.

Steam the batter and these bubbles create a light and spongy cake. The Khaman is ready to be doused in the spiced tempering, or tadka. The final dish is mouth watering! One piece is never enough.

Khaman embodies everything Gujaratis love about snacks. It’s spicy, sweet and sour. In Gujarati this is referred to as being “khattu, mitthu”.

Ingredients you need for making Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)

Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)

Soft and fluffy steamed chickpea flour cake from Gujarat, western India. This airy, sweet and sour cake is prepared with spices, freshly-grated coconut and coriander leaves.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: cake, chickpea flour, dhokla, farsan, gujarati
Servings: 12
Author: Sanjana

Equipment

  • Steamer or a large wok or kadai fitted with a trivet
  • 7-inch x 9-inch rectangular cake tin, or 10-inch round cake tin

Ingredients

For the khaman batter

  • 300 g chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 tsp coarse semolina
  • 1-2 small green chillies (very finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp citric acid (available at Indian grocery stores)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 325 ml water (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (such as sunflower, vegetable or rapeseed)
  • 2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

For the tempering (tadka)

  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (such as sunflower, vegetable or rapeseed)
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 8-10 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 small green chillies (slit lengthways)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (use GF for those with a wheat/gluten intolerence)
  • 2 tbsp freshly-grated coconut or desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp freshly-chopped coriander
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

To make the Khaman batter:

  • In a large bowl, sift the chickpea flour, breaking down any large lumps left in the sieve.
  • Add the semolina, turmeric, citric acid, salt, sugar, ginger and chillies, Stir to combine.
  • Slowly add the water, a little at a time and beat with a hand-held whisk or pair of electric beaters, about 4-5 minutes. The batter should be smooth. Rest the batter at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
  • Set up the steamer. Fill the base with about 1.5-2 inches of water and bring to the boil. Grease the tin well with 1 tbsp oil.
  • Now it's time to work quickly. Add the oil and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to the batter and beat vigorously, in one direction ONLY until pale and frothy, about 40-50 seconds. The batter should flow like molten lava or liquid honeycomb. Pour this into the greased pan and immediately put this in the steamer. Close with a tight-fitting lid and cook on high heat for 25 minutes exactly.
  • Once 25 minutes have elapsed, switch the heat off. Remove the lid and check the Khaman is cooked. Insert a skewer or shark knife into the middle and if it comes out clean, with just a few moist crumbs attached, it is ready. Remove from the steamer and set aside while you prepare the tadka.

For the tadka:

  • Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds. They should start popping almost immediately. Once they have finished popping, add the curry leaves, chillies, sesame seeds and asafoetida. Switch the heat off after 10-20 seconds and allow to cool slightly.
  • While the tadka is cooling, mix together the water, sugar, salt and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir until the mixture is no longer grainy. Add this to the cooled tadka and mix well.

To assemble:

  • Run a knife around the edges of the warm Khaman pan to loosen and flip onto a plate or board. Slice into 2-inch squares. Place the cut squares back in the pan and pour the tadka over the Khaman. Sprinkle with grated coconut and coriander leaves. Allow to rest for 30-40 minutes before serving. Serve with coriander chutney and/or chai.

Video

Notes

  • Store the Khaman refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • You can also freeze the Khaman freezer-safe containers for up to 6 months.
  • To use Eno (fruit salts) in this recipe, reduce the amount of citric acid used in the batter by 1 tsp and omit the baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). Whisk 2 1/2 tsp Eno into the batter (in place of baking soda) right before steaming.
 

Enjoy this Khaman with your favourite chutney. I love them with coriander chutney but Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney mixed with a little oil is also delicious.

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Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)

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2 responses to “Khaman (Instant Chickpea Flour Dhokla)”

  1. Shermin Shah says:

    Sanjana, can one use the instant pot for steaming process?

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