By the way, I loved everyone’s thoughts on how you pronounce (or not) besan. Richa suggested it was more like bay-sun, for anyone not wanting to sound like an Indian noob. I love how this flour which is more familiar in Indian cuisine has become more common.
Yes, I use a wealth of wacky ingredients but besan is peanuts compared to this next ingredient.
If I am lucky, I am able to find my wacky ingredients at one my favourite grocers. If you want to buy this ingredient at a grocery store, it needs to be an Indian grocer, methinks (I have spotted it in Little India: $2.50 for 100g). Or at a pharmacy.
But that’s because I was looking for Eno. Yes, Eno, the antacid. Eno kept popping up as I perused recipes for dhokla, also known as Steamed Chickpea Cakes, a type of Indian snack.
My only experience with dhokla has been at home (with this recipe), but there are many recipes. Some use a combination of beans and rice and others just use chickpea flour or besan (known as khaman dhokla). Most use eno as the rising ingredient although you could substitute baking powder (it may not be as fluffy, though).
Despite both Rob and my dhokla virginity, we decided to tackle the dhokla experiment. Rather, we tackled the microwave khaman dhokla experiment! Dassana shared a beautiful post with an uber simple recipe. You microwave the batter for 2.5-3 minutes and then add the tempered spices overtop.
Rob tackled this, as he is a fan of uber simple Indian recipes, and we were blown away. Flavourful from the mustard-curry leaf tarka but the actual dhokla, the steamed cakes, were spongy, airy and delicious. Rob microwaved ours for 2 minutes but the middle wasn’t fully set, so just zap it a bit longer if need be. The strength of your microwave will change the times, slightly, so experiment to see what works. If you over microwave it, it may be hard and dry, though. Alternatively, you could try the standard way with steaming, too.
How do you feel about using your microwave to bake? I also like this non-traditional chocolate protein cake that I bake in the microwave.
This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes.
Steamed Indian Chickpea Cakes (Microwave Khaman Dhokla)
Adapted from Veg Recipes of India
2 cups chickpea flour/besan
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 or 1.5 tsp grated ginger
1 green chile, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt (may use less next time)
1 -1.25 cups water
2 tsp Eno
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1 tsp agave or sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water (or less)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves (optional, we didn’t use)
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut (optional, we used it)
1. In a small bowl, mix together the besan, turmeric, asafoetida, ginger, chile, lemon juice, salt and water.
2. Grease a large lidded microwave-safe dish (we used a 9×9″ dish).
3. Add the eno to the batter and gently mix it in. The batter should rise. Quickly add it to the grease dish and microwave on high for 2 -3 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean. If not done, microwave for 30 seconds more. (Alternatively, allow to steam for 10-15 minutes in a double boiler)
4. Now prepare your tempering: In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and mustard seeds. Cover and allow the seeds to pop. Once they stop, add the cumin seeds and toast for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and sugar and saute for 1 minute more. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Pour overtop the steamed dhokla.
5. Garnish with cilantro and coconut. Serve with Indian chutneys.