There are, by my count, at least seven levels of fried chicken. The worst of them is good; the best, which I waited forty-four years to find, led to what can only be called an out-of-body experience. Let’s start at …
A fragrant soft steamed cake made from chickpea flour, dhokla are pleasantly yellow in hue, moist and appealing. With textural contrasts like coconut and the flavor interplay of mustard seeds, ginger and a shot of heat from green chili paste, they make a satisfying appetizer. Aside from an initial fermenting period, preparing dhokla should not be difficult or time-consuming. You may have to invest in a steamer or an Indian thali, or tray, and find the appropriate spices, but once you have your materials, you can make quick work of the batter to create delicious morsels in minutes.
- 4 cups sifted chickpea flour
- 2 cup yogurt, beaten
- 2 cups warm water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp green chili-ginger paste
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- serving platter
Place the chickpea flour, yogurt and water in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add salt and mix again.
Ferment the mixture by setting it out at room temperature for about four hours.
Add the turmeric and green chili-ginger paste to the fermented mixture and combine thoroughly.
Heat the steamer and prepare the thali, or rounded tray, by greasing it.
Mix 2 tsp oil with the lemon and baking soda in a small bowl. Stir into the fermented batter.
Pour the batter into the thali and place it inside the steamer.
Steam the dhoklas for about 10 minutes. Set them aside to cool. Cut into squares when ready and place them on a serving platter.
Take the remaining oil and drop the mustard seeds into it while heating it in a saucepan. Remove the seeds once they start to burst, and pour the infused oil over the dhoklas.
Garnish with the chopped cilantro and coconut flakes, and serve.
- Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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