Moong Dal Dhokla | Split Yellow Gram Dal Savory Cake
A very nice traditional Gujarati savory breakfast or a great tea time snack, Moong Dal Dhokla (Yellow Split Gram Dal Savory Cake). Dhokla is a very popular Indian snack originated from the State of Gujarat and the good old fashion way of making it is by fermenting Chana dal and rice mixture. This Moong Dal Dhokla is a non-traditional, no fermentation, soft spongy, savory steamed cake, infused with sugar lemon water,garnished with tempered mustard seeds, sesame seeds, green chili and freshly chopped coriander (cilantro).
Dhokla’s are also made in many different variations like Khatta Dhokla, Instant Besan Dhokla, Sandwich Tiranga Dhokla. They’re also made with different dals, sooji or semolina and instant dhoklas are made with besan or chick pea flour. Savory cake seasoned and steamed into a spongy cake, then drizzled with a spicy tempering mixture, of mustard seeds, sesame seeds. Also, Gujarati food is famous for a touch of sweetness in every dish. For this recipe on Moong Dal Dhokla, I’ve infused it with a sugar lemon solution that gives it a mild sweetness in dhokla by sprinkling the steamed savory dhokla cake with some lemon-sugar water.
Dhokla’s hold a very fond memory in my heart. I grew up watching my mum and grandma making dhoklas everyday. No! we didn’t eat dhokla everyday :), we had a family business; Indian grocery store and Gujarati food restaurant and the most popular items that were sold in our stores were Khaman Dhokla, Batata Vada (Indian Spicy Potato Balls) and Vatana (Green Peas) Kachori. All of these items were made daily fresh by mum and grandma….people use to come from far away to buy and also pre-order for large parties. Those were the wonder days! 🙂
The best part of this recipe is that no fermentation is required, only soaking dal for 6-8 hours. Instant Dhokla is just like quick bread recipes, it needs a chemical leavening agent to make it instant. The most frequent agent used in dhokla is Eno’s Fruit Salt, a combination of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When Eno is added to the dhokla mixture, the two chemicals react creating foamy bubbles trapped in the batter to result in a lovely spongy cake.
Dhokla’s are sold in many Indian Restaurants or grocery stores. Sold either pre-packed containers or huge trays displayed on counter tops of soft yellow spongy delicate square dhoklas garnished with a nice spicy tarka (tempering) and loads of freshly chopped coriander (cilantro).
1 cup - Yellow Split Moong Dal (soaked overnight or 5-6 hours and drained)
1 tbsp. - roughly chopped Green Chilies
1 tbsp. - roughly chopped Ginger
1/2 tsp. - Turmeric Powder (haldi)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp.- Oil
1/2 tsp. - Eno Fruit Salt
Salt to taste
3 tbsp.- water
1 tbsp.- sugar
few drops of lemon juice
2 tbsp.- Oil
1/2 tsp.- Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp.- Sesame Seeds
couple of green chillies
Freshly finely chopped Coriander leaves
Heat water for 1 minute, add in sugar and lemon juice; mix well and keep aside.
Combine the soaked Moong dal, green chillies, ginger and 5-6 tbsp of water in a mixer and blend to a smooth paste.
Transfer into a bowl, add in remaining ingredients except the Eno Fruit Salt and mix well.
Pre-heat steamer, grease a a 8" diameter thali or cake pan. Just before steaming, add in Eno Fruit Salt and 1 tsp of water to batter. Once bubbles start to form, mix batter gently till completely combined.
Pour batter into greased thali or cake pan, place in steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Poke knife or toothpick into center and if comes out clean, then dhokla is ready.
Cut into square pieces; pour/infuse sugar/lemon solution all over dhokla, Keep aside to cool down.
Heat oil in a small sauce pan.
Add in mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add in sesame seeds and brown them. Add in green chilies and remove from stove top and cover for 60 seconds.
Uncover and carefully add in freshly chopped coriander leaves and stir. Pour tempering all over dhokla.