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Dhokla is a famous Gujarati steamed savory cake made up of the base ingredient besan (chickpea flour). This is a vegetarian, healthy, protein & iron-rich Spinach Dhokla recipe. This dhokla recipe is a no onion no garlic preparation.
Dhokla is a staple snack of Gujarat. Gujarati cuisine is famous for its khatti meethi (sweet & sour) dishes like dhokla, paatra, kachori, khandvi, thepla, kadhi and the list is endless. Though originating from Gujarat, this snack is popular all across India. People of all age groups from kids to elders love munching upon these soft & spongy dhoklas along with coriander – tamarind chutney, khatti meethi imli chutney or with tomato ketchup.
Breakfast for me is an important meal for the day. I cannot skip my breakfast ever and alway try to make it every day. Homemade dhokla is my go-to breakfast item when in a super rush during hectic mornings!
Dhokla is a healthy Indian savory lentil cake mostly served during breakfast or as an evening snack. Packed with proteins, this spongy savory cake is diabetic-friendly too! This is such a versatile recipe that, every household has its own version of making this dhokla.
All across India, you will find farsaan shops (sweet shops) selling these nutritious soft spongy dhokla early in the morning and in late noon or evening.
Dhokla available in shops has lots of nice crunchy tadka (tempering) of mustard seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, green chillies, fresh scrapped coconut and coriander leaves (cilantro) drizzled on it. The mustard & sesame seeds give a nice nutty texture to this dhokla.
Dhoklas are easy and quick to make. They have a mildly sweet and mild tangy taste. These are steamed in a dhokla or idli steamer with minimal oil.
For weight watchers, diabetic individuals, and people with high cholesterol levels can opt-out tadka for guilt-free indulgence. Dhokla can be prepared at home in under 30 minutes. These are basically made up of besan (chickpea flour) but other variants use whole grain or semolina as well.
I normally prepare besan dhokla most of the time, and sometimes love to make Rava (semolina) dhokla, sprouts dhokla, and vegetable dhokla. Years back I prepared dhokla using broken wheat (lapsi aka daliya) and it tasted yum! That was one guilt-free dhokla that I enjoyed!
Adding sprouts and vegetables to dhokla not only makes them look good and enticing but also increases the nutritional value of this snack. Also, this is one of the best way to make your children eat greens without noticing them.
Today instead of preparing traditional Gujarati dhokla, I tweaked a little and added palak puree (spinach) in the dhokla batter. Palak (Spinach) provides a host of health benefits from being a nutrient powerhouse loaded with vitamins A, C & K, minerals like magnesium and manganese and extremely rich in iron.
The addition of spinach in this dhokla brings out the luscious beautiful deep green colour that looks beautiful and tempting. To make this dhokla fluffy, fruit salt or baking soda is used. The mild tangy flavour comes due to the addition of yogurt.
I make dhokla in the steamer, however, if you do not have a steamer use a pressure cooker instead without a whistle.
The recipe that I am sharing today does not require fermentation as in case with traditional dhokla. This is an instant palak dhokla (spinach dhokla) recipe that can be made in no time.
So let’s see how to make instant palak dhokla (spinach dhokla) with easy steps in your very own home kitchen.
- 1 cup Palak (Spinach)
- 1 1/2 cup Besan (Gram Flour)
- 2-3nos. Green Chillies
- 1/2 inch Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 teaspoon eno fruit salt or 1/2 to 3/4 baking soda
- 3 teaspoon yogurt (dahi)
- 1 tsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds (Rai)
- 1-5 Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
- 1/4th cup Coriander Leaves finely chopped
- 1/4th Cup Freshly Scrapped Coconut
- To make palak puree, in a blender add roughly cut palak (spinach), green chillies, and ginger. Add 2 teaspoons of water and grind to a puree. Blend to a smooth fine paste.
2. Transfer this palak puree into a mixing bowl.
3. Into the palak puree add besan (chickpea flour), turmeric powder, yogurt (for vegan – skip yogurt and use little water), oil and a half cup of water. Mix well to smooth batter, and make sure no lumps are formed.
4. The dhokla batter should be thick in consistency but still be flowing. Once the batter is mixed properly, add salt to taste and sugar and mix.
5. Meanwhile, prep the steamer or pressure cooker. Add 3 to 4 cups of water to the steamer / pressure cooker. Place a steel rack or a ring. Cover the steamer / presssure cooker and bring the water to boil.
6. The amount of water that needs to be added depends upon the size of steamer / pressure cooker. I have a larger steamer so I added 3 cups of water. Ensure their is enough water in the steamer as we need to cook the dhokla for about 20-25 minutes.
7. Grease the dhokla tray with oil. When the water in the steamer starts to boil, add fruit salt to the dhokla mixture and pour a tablespoon of water over it. This activates the fruit salt.
8. Quickly stir the dhokla batter. The fruit salt should be mixed evenly with the batter. While whisking you will notice that the dhokla batter begins to turn frothy and turns light.
9. The key here is to mix fruit salt properly with the batter otherwise the dhokla will get uneven texture and can turn out dense.
10. Immediately pour the batter in the greased tray and tap the try gently so that the surface will get even.
11. Place the dhokla tray in steamer. Cover the lid and let it cook on medium flame for about 20 minutes. Incase you are using pressure cooker, remove the whistle while steaming the dhokla, cover with lid and cook.
12. After 20 minutes check if the dhokla is cooked through. Insert a toothpick or knief in the middle, if it comes out clean then the dhokla is ready. If you see the batter getting stick to toothpick or knife then cover for another 5 minutes and cook.
13.Cooking time of dhokla can vary depending on the variety of besan (chickpea flour) used.
14. Once the dhokla is cooked, remove the dhokla tray and keep it aside to cool a bit. By the time dhokla cools down, prepare the tempering.
15. Once dhokla is luke warm, slide the knife along the edges.
16. Keep the plate over the tray and invert it. As we greased the tray earlier, dhokla will slide very easily from the tray. Cut the dhokla in squares or diamonds as you like.
- In a small kadhai / pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to crackle add cumin seeds, hing (asafoetida) and curry leaves.
2. Lower the flame and gradually add the half cup of water to the seasoning. Be careful while adding water as the oil start spluttering.
3. To keep dhokla soft and moist it is important to add water to the dhokla.
4. Pour this tempering over the dhokla and spread evenly.
5. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves & freshly scraped coconut.
6. Palak dhokla is ready, serve with chutney along with a hot cup of adrak tea (ginger tea)!
To make it vegan – skip yogurt and add a little about 2-3 teaspoons of water.