Khaman dhokla

Khaman dhokla

Steamed lentil cakes

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This is a very popular snack item but is also eaten as part of a full Gujarati meal. The steamed chickpea cake pieces are drizzled with a sizzling mustard seed and curry leaf oil for added flavour. You can also add a tablespoon of buttermilk to the mix for extra fermentation. Some people use chickpea flour but this is the traditional method. It may take a few attempts to master these, but patience will help you gain the experience to become an expert in cooking Indian food.


Quantity Ingredient
250g yellow split peas or split chickpeas
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger
2-3 green chillies
50ml sunflower or rapeseed oil
salt, to taste
pinch ground asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 sprig fresh curry leaves, shredded
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
150-300g desiccated coconut
or 150-300g fresh coconut, grated

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
tamarind and date chutney
* hari chutney [rid:9945]


  1. Put the split yellow peas or chickpeas in bowl. Add water to come about 2.5 cm above the pulses. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to soak overnight. Do not refrigerate.
  2. Purée in blender or food processor, but not too fine. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Beat well with a circular motion to incorporate air, either with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Leave to ferment for 5–6 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, grind the ginger and green chillies together to a smooth paste in a mortar with a pestle (or a small bowl with the end of a rolling pin). Alternatively use a hand blender.
  5. When the pea purée has fermented (it will rise a bit and smell fermented too), add half the oil, a little salt, the asafoetida, ground green chillies and ginger and beat well. Blend the bicarbonate of soda with the water and beat in.
  6. Grease a 5 cm deep baking dish or sandwich tin that will fit in a steamer with a little oil. Pour the mixture in it to about 2.5 cm thickness.
  7. Steam for 10–15 minutes or until risen and spongy and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool slightly, but run a knife along the edges to release the steam. Cut into squares but do not remove from the dish.
  9. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan until a haze forms and add the mustard seeds. As the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, toss and pour over the cakes, spreading it evenly over the top.
  10. Serve garnished with as much coconut as you like and chopped coriander leaves. If using desiccated coconut, you may first like to soak it in 150 ml water for an hour to rehydrate and become soft. Some also add a sprinkling of light sugar on the top. Serve with a tamarind and date chutney or some hari chutney.
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