Monday 11 March 2013

Buckwheat and Semolina (sooji/rava) dhokla

Dhokla is a typical breakfast and/or snack from the North west of India, in particular, Gujarat. It is commonly made with fermented rice and chickpeas flours or with semolina (without fermenting). It is somewhat similar to the South Indian Idlis. The fluffy and soft texture and tangy taste of the dhokla is like a piece of heaven! More over, it is very healthy, does not use too much oil since it is mainly steam cooked and is very filling so makes a great breakfast dish or perfect as a after school snack. This is indeed a very popular dish in the North of India as well as at our home. It was even a great success as party food during Anjalie's birthday :)

I used to make dhokla's with sooji often since it is quick and easier to prepare compared to the chickpea dhokla which requires fermentation. Now I have discovered something much more healthier and that is buckwheat. Buckwheat has a nutty and strong flavor compared to semolina and has low Glycemic Index (GI). In fact, it is one of the grains with the lowest GI. See for a list of grains and their GI. It is perfect for those suffering from diabetes and those who are on low-carb diets. Buckwheat is as wholesome as the grains get, see Given all the benefits of buckwheat (called Kuttu/kutto in India and Kasa in Russian and parts of Easter Europe) I now use buckwheat and semolina (sooji) in equal amounts to make my dhokla. If you are more worried about your health, you can replace all of the sooji with buckwheat. The resulting dhokla will be slightly more dense than the once using sooji. But will taste great nonetheless. Using a mixture of sooji and buckwheat also gives double colored (yellow and brown) dhoklas making it visually appealing  for children :)

Dhoklas are steamed in plates placed inside a container such as pressure cooker. But you can use stainless steel plates and/or cake pan and steam the dhoklas in a stock pot. In fact, you can even steam them in coffee mugs! Just increase the time for steaming to 30-40 mins.

You will need:
50 grams of buckwheat groats (wholegrain kasa/kutto)
50 grams of medium Semolina (sooji)/ whole wheat rava 
100 grams of plain yogurt (I use Greek Style) 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (granulated)
2 chillies chopped finely (for adults)
1 tsp grated ginger/ginger paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
150 ml water + 50 ml water for later
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cooking oil (for greasing)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander for garnish

for tempering (optional)
1 tsp cooking oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

Coarsely grind the buckwheat groats using a mill/blender to the same texture as semolina.

Add both buckwheat and semolina into a large mixing bowl.

Next add salt, sugar and chillies.

Add the yogurt, ginger and turmeric.

oops! forgot the turmeric. Monday mornings are like that for me :)

Add 150 ml water and make it into a batter without lumps. Set aside for at least 30 mins. Some of the water would have been absorbed after the 30 mins.

Mean while, grease dhokla bowls/plates well with the cooking oil.

Add the lemon juice to the batter and mix well. Add the baking soda to the rest of the water and mix well.

Add the soda-water (you may need more or less) to the mixture to form a batter of pouring consistency. Adding baking soda-water will cause the batter to fizz and create bubbles. This is what gives the dhoklas the fluffy soft texture. Some recipes use fruit salt. However, I prefer to use natural ingredients and I usually get great results with no after taste with just lemon juice and baking soda.

Pour the batter into the dhokla plates/bowls until half full leaving space for the dhoklas to raise when steaming.

In a stockpot/pressure cooker, fill a little bit of water (1/2 cup) for steaming. Place an empty plate first (underneath all the dhokla plates) to make sure that the dhokla plates do not directly touch the water. Place the dhokla plates filled with batter inside the stockpot/ pressure cooker.

Steam cook (without the weight for the pressure cooker) for 15 minutes in medium heat. Turn of the stove and let it stand for a few minutes until the steam subsides. Open the pot/cooker carefully to avoid getting burnt. Please be careful since steam burns are particularly painful!

Remove the dhokla plates and let them cool outside for 5 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander. If tempering, heat oil in a kadai/pan and splutter all the seeds and pour the oil evenly over the dhokla. Be careful not to let the seeds splutter on your hands. Try wearing oven mittens. Particularly, sesame seeds tend to splutter out too much.

I leave out sesame seeds since Anjalie is allergic to it and mustard seeds since kids usually do not care for the bitter taste of mustard. Feel free to totally leave out the tempering.

Cut the dhokla into small pieces and serve warm with green chutney  or ketchup or tomato sauce of your choice. Breakfast is served!

Buckwheat groats can be easily found in the UK in Polish/eastern European shops or in health food stores or even in Amazon.
When I am looking for a snack on particularly hungry days I make these entirely with buckwheat and it tastes great although has a little bit more denser texture. So go for it as a healthy substitute.
Small children as small as 6 months old can have enjoy the dhokla, however, leave out the chillies and the tempering if giving to very young children.
Some children are allergic to sesame seeds so please be aware. Sesame seeds adds a nutty flavor, but, can be left out altogether.

Sending this out to Healthy Me Healthy Us event hosted by Priya. For more such healthy recipes check out her event page.


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