Dhokla Chaat

By Published On: 22 Nov '20Last Updated: 14 Apr '24

Dhokla Chaat is a spongy Gujarati vegetarian treat/snack made by steaming a mix of chickpea flour and spices and garnished with sweet, spicy, tangy and hot chutneys.

WHAT IS CHAAT?

Chaat is an immensely popular traditional roadside savoury snack that is prepared and served by food carts in India and also some parts of Pakistan. It originated in the north of India but it is now famous in all of South Asia.

There are many types of chaats. Papri (crispy fried dough wafers) chaat, aloo (potato) chaat, samosa chaat are some well known chaats that are served with chaat ingredients such as boiled chickpeas or potatoes, assorted chutneys such as a green coriander and mint chutney, a sweet tamarind chutney, sweetended yogurt sauce and nylon sev (noodles made with chickpea flour) .

In this post I have written a different version of chaat called Dhokla Chaat. This chaat is made with Khaman dhoklas as a base instead of papri, aloo or samosa and is a delicious variation from the usual chaats that are either prepared at home or offered by the street vendors.

What is a Khaman dhokla?

Khaman dhokla is a variety of vegetarian sponge like lentil cake originated in the Indian State of Gujarat. It is prepared with chickpea (besan or chana) flour and spices. It is served for breakfast, as an appetiser or as a snack any time of the day with a green chutney. While the name sounds somewhat similar, khaman dhoklas are different from dhoklas. Khaman dhoklas are made by using chickpea flour that does not require fermentation and are delicately porous, soft and yellow in colour. On the contrary, dhoklas are made with fermented rice flour and not as soft as Khaman dhoklas. Dhoklas are white in colour and dense in texture. I love both these dhoklas and I cannot have enough of them.

I had never eaten dhoklas in Mangalore as they had not made their way into Mangalore or Udupi in the early 2000s. I am not even certain if you can buy them in Udupi now. They found their way into my mouth when I came to live with my sister in Bombay (now Mumbai) when my brother-in-law used to buy them as a snack on the weekends. Oh! how I waited for him to buy them as I did not know such a snack ever existed. Thanks to the Gujaratis’ who invented this snack, as it not only gave this South Indian a brand-new taste but also a taste I carry till today. As a matter of fact, my brother-in-law was born in Gujarat and knew all about Gujarati food and spoke the language beautifully. I give him all credit for introducing this new snack to me because no one in Mumbai had ever offered me this snack at any time I lived in Mumbai. As we cannot readily buy the prepared dhoklas in Sydney, I like to make them at home for my family.

While the list of ingredients for this snack might look a little intimidating at first, when you go through the process you will discover how simple this recipe is to prepare. This is a snack that is bought mostly at snack bars in Mumbai and is not always prepared at home, I hope to help change that notion. I am therefore writing the recipe clearly with a goal to give you the confidence to prepare this snack from scratch. Please note this recipe yields 24-28 pieces of dhoklas depending on how you cut them. You may wish to double the ingredients if you want to make them for a larger gathering.

On the other hand, if you wish to make a larger quantity for a gathering of 20-25 people, to make matters simpler, you can also buy Khaman dhokla mix that comes in a packet in most Indian supermarkets in Sydney and steam them at home and this snack can be assembled without any fuss. I use the GITS Khaman Dhokla and it yields 60 pieces of dhoklas. You can also buy the tamarind chutney and green chutney in bottles and assembling this soft, spongy and melt-in-the-mouth snack is a real breeze. If you are buying the tamarind chutney, I would recommend Mother’s Recipe Tamarind Chutney which is available in most Indian supermarkets.

I am entirely different, and as you can see, I love cooking everything from scratch. It has taken me a few weeks to put this recipe together before posting on my website. You will find many recipes online for dhoklas from which I have drawn my inspiration but I have put some of my own little personal touches to make these dhoklas into a pub style dhokla chaat, the chutneys and the assembly are also slightly different. In fact, I made it yesterday for a gathering of 20 in my friend’s house and the crowd just loved the chaat. While they were relishing the chaat, they commented that they had eaten dhoklas, they had eaten chaat but had never eaten dhokla chaat in one plate. Some came for seconds and one of them reached out for a doggy bag for the last bits in the platter. It was a happy ending for our first post-COVID house party and a happy ending for a test run of my Dhoka Chaat.

A word of caution, if you are preparing the Khaman dhoklas as per my recipe, do not leave your batter on the bench top once you have added ENO. Steam them as quickly as possible to obtain delicious spongy, pillow textured dhoklas.

What is ENO? Click here

I hope you enjoy making them around this Christmas and if you do, don’t forget to leave your comments below.

Dhokla (lentil cake) Chaat

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
Khaman Dhokla Chaat is a spongy Gujarati vegetarian snack that is made by steaming a mix of chickpea flour, spices and a drizzle of ENO then garnished with a combination of sweet, spicy, tangy and hot chutneys to create a delicate, unforgettable and satisfying taste in your mouth.  It is a delicious treat!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
For the Chutnies 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

For the Khaman Dhokla

  • cup gram flour sifted chickpea flour
  • tbsp. fine semolina
  • cup water
  • tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp. citric acid
  • ½ tsp. ginger paste
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder optional
  • tsp. ENO fruit salt
  • Oil to grease the steaming dishes and to drizzle
  • 1 packet Bhel Puri mix with seasoning
  • 1 cup natural full cream yogurt mixed with sugar to taste and a pinch of salt
  • Pinch of chilli powder for garnish
  • Pinch of black salt or regular salt to sprinkle when assembling optional
  • 2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves for garnish

For the Tomato and Date Chutney

  • 250 g green raw tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 5 dates roughly chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies or to taste
  • 1 tsp. ginger grated
  • 2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
  • 1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar or to taste

For the Sweet and Tangy Tamarind Chutney

  • 2 tbsp. tamarind paste not concentrate
  • ¼ tsp. citric acid optional
  • 6 tbsp. tepid water
  • 60 g powdered jaggery light or dark
  • tsp. Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp. dry ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground black salt or regular salt

Instructions
 

Method for the Khaman Dhokla

  • Whisk the first 8 ingredients together till the batter is free of lumps and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • While the batter is resting, prepare your steamer. Place your steamer (thondor) on medium heat filled with 3 litres of water on the stove top. Place the removable perforated lid inside the steamer and bring the water to a rolling boil. If you have any doubts about how to steam using a steamer/thondor then jump to steaming) . You know the water is boiling when you see steam escaping through the perforated lid.
  • Grease the base and sides of your steaming dishes with oil. I used two 26cm x 8cm rectangular aluminium loaf tins that I use for making corn bread as it gives me perfect size dhoklas for assembling without too much hand work. You may use any round or square cake tins that fit snug in your steamer.
  • Add ENO and give the batter a quick mix. The batter will rise and become quite frothy. Pour batter into your prepared dish and steam for 15-20 minutes. Remove from steamer and set aside for 20 minutes to cool. Invert on to a cooling rack and cool face up till ready to cut. You may need to run a spatula along the sides of your dish to ensure that the dhokla (lentil cake) does not split while inverting.
  • The dhokla (lentil cake) can be made 4 days ahead of time. Reheat the cake until just warm before cutting into squares or rectangles.
  • Arrange the cut dhoklas on a platter.

Method for Date and Tomato chutney

  • While the dhoklas are steaming, soak dates for 10 minutes.
  • Blend all the ingredients to a fine paste with very little water. As the tomatoes are high in water, you may not need to add water. Season to taste if required as per your taste.
  • Remove and refrigerate for use when assembling the dhoklas.
  • This chutney can be made 2 days ahead of time so you may like to prepare this chutney and dhoklas on the same day.

Method for Sweet and Tangy Tamarind Chutney

  • Combine all the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Heat on medium until it comes to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Remove and refrigerate until ready to assemble the dhoklas. This chutney thickens while sitting on the bench.
  • This chutney can be made up to 4 days in advance.

Assembling the dhokla chaat

  • Place the Khaman dhoklas on a medium to large platter
  • Drizzle 1 tbsp. oil over the dhoklas or give a quick spray with your oil can. This stops the dhoklas from drying out
  • Sprinkle generously with Bhel Puri mix
  • Sprinkle seasoning to taste. This seasoning is provided in a small pack inside the Bhel Puri packet
  • Spoon the prepared yogurt all around. You can spoon as much or as little as you prefer
  • Sprinkle chilli powder all around
  • Spoon over tomato and date chutney as much or as little as you prefer
  • Spoon over tamarind chutney as much or as little as you prefer
  • Sprinkle with nylon sev (optional) to finish off the assembling
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately
  • The dhokla chaat is not suitable to be heated once assembled. It also tends to go soggy if left on the bench for more than 10 minutes.

Notes

If you are unsure if the dhokla is cooked, please do the skewer test. If the skewer when inserted into the centre of your dish comes out clean, then your dhokla is ready to remove from the steamer. If you are in a rush to assemble, then you may wish to decrease the resting time, by placing your baking dish in a cool water bath.
These days most Indian supermarkets stock readymade dhokla and Khaman Dhokla mix therefore it is not necessary to make the dhoklas from scratch. If you buy the Khaman dhokla mix, prepare the dhoklas according to packet instructions. Cool them for 20 to 30 minutes before assembling as they cut better when at room temperature.  I use the Gits Dhokla mix if I want to speed up the process of preparing this snack. 
Bhel Puri mix is available from most Indian supermarkets. It also includes a packet of seasoning (powder) and chutneys which are used to sprinkle over as garnish when assembling.  You can use these chutneys instead of preparing the chutneys from scratch if that's what you prefer. I use Haldiram’s 300g Bhel Puri Pack. I used a tablespoon of the seasoning to sprinkle over my dhoklas when assembling as it gives a good flavour to the dhoklas.  You may not need to use the entire pack of Bhel Puri mix for this recipe however if you are making 60-70 dhoklas for a gathering of 20-25 people, then you will be able to use the entire packet in one go.
In my Sweet and Tangy Tamarind Chutney I have used ¼ tsp. citric acid because I like the tarty taste in my chutney. Feel free to use 1-2 tbsp. of lemon juice instead.
You may also use any green chutney as garnish and the same applies to the date and tamarind chutney.
You may grill the dhoklas before you assemble them on your char grill for 2-3 minutes on each side if you like grilled dhoklas. I grilled them for my photo, but it is not necessary. If you decide to grill them then, heat a grill pan on medium, drizzle some oil and place the cut dhoklas carefully on the pan. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until you can see the grill marks on the pieces.
Keyword Chaat, Dhokla, Dhokla Chaat

Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating