Dhokla used to be my go to snack few years ago when I would steam an instant dhokla every other day. It was always for our evening tea or when my brother came who loves dhokla. And then our evening tea changed as we started having early dinners. So the evening tea was just tea and nothing else with it most of the times.
I had bought some 2 kilos of sama ke chawal (Barnyard millet) during navratri a couple of weeks ago and have been using the millet for my breakfast or dinner sometimes. And then I was reminded of the dhokla I used to make of this millet. I couldn't stop myself and steamed a plate of sama ka dhokla, later I realised the husband had forgotten about a white dhokla. But he loved it all over again. Yes, I am telling you grudgingly because I got way too less than I wanted to have for myself :-(
This recipe of sama ka dhokla was suggested casually by a senior of mine during my research days and I used to be my experimental best regarding cooking in those days. So I played with this idea of a recipe and made a significant change. Instead of using whole sama ke chawal as suggested by her, I made it into a batter and the dhokla turned out much better. I like the sama ki idli steamed with whole soaked millet.
for the dhokla..
sama ke chawal (Barnyard millet) 1 cup
sour buttermilk or sour yogurt diluted with equal amount of water 3 cups
salt to taste
for the tempering...
green chilies 3-4 slit length wise
dry red chilies 1-2 broken
rai seeds (small mustard seeds) 1 tsp
hing (asafoetida) a pinch
curry leaves 3-4 springs
peanut oil 2 tsp
sugar 1 tbsp
lime juice 1 tbsp or a little more
water 1.5 cup
Soak the millets in the buttermilk and salt overnight, but keep it refrigerated if you are using sour curd in summers, it could get too sour for your liking. But if you like khatta dhokla, you would like it really sour. Go with what you like. Also, this soaked mixture can be refrigerated for up to week if you are a bad planner. It happened with me so I thought I should add it to your convenience.
Make a batter of the soaked millet by blending it in mixie or food processor when you are about to steam the dhokla. Add 1/2 tsp pf soda bi carb to the batter, mix well and pour into a greased plate or steaming vessel. Steam till set and cooked. I used an opal ware plate and microwaved it for 5 minutes covered with a dome lid. Let it cool completely. Then cut in desired shapes.
For the tempering, heat oil in a pan, tip in the hing and rai seeds and let them crackle. Add the chilies and curry leaves and stir them to let them cook and release their aroma. Pour water and add the sugar, let it come to a soft boil.
Take off the heat, add the lime juice and pour over the steamed dhokla. Let the sweet and sour water soak in, it will all disappear within 5 minutes. The dhokla will swell up so make space for them by removing a few from the plate.
Serve at room temperature.
Soft and spongy, hot, sour and lightly sweet and completely bursting with flavors of the tempering. This makes a very pleasant snack or meal, or part of an elaborate meal. You just can't stop at a couple of these. This millet has a nice nuttiness to it when cooked and that comes out really nice with this dhokla tempering. Those fried and then boiled chilies become so yummy I gobble them all up.
We had it with our evening chai as I mentioned. But the chai was given a royal ignore as the dhokla took center stage I had to reheat the chai later to finish it. The dhokla is that good.
Vrat ka khana or fasting food can be fun if you use the ingredients to full potential. I keep cooking these ingredients whenever possible as all alternate grains do taste great and provide a good opportunity to bring variety to my meals every day.