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Forum Thread - Dhokla failure

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Vtoniolo, on 11/7/2013 06:39pm


I just tried the dhokla recipe from this website and ended up with a dense, gummy, and sour brick. I followed the directions exactly. The batter never got very bubbly and didn't really rise - I let it sit at room temperature for almost 2 days. The only thing I did differently was that I didn't have a dhokla steamer, so I used a small, nonstick cake pan inside of a larger steamer.

Anyone know what might have gone wrong?


Mamta, on 11/7/2013 09:22pm

Sorry to hear that! Which Dhokla recipe did you use?

Vtoniolo, on 11/7/2013 10:58pm

I used this one: Dhokla - 1, Chana Dal & Rice Savoury Steamed Cakes

Mamta, on 12/7/2013 07:39am

I have written to the author of that recipe, to double check it for me. She is my big sister and makes lovely Dhoklas.

Vtoniolo, on 17/7/2013 07:36pm

I'm eager to try it again. Any updates? Thank you!

Mamta, on 17/7/2013 09:37pm

The only think that I can see for it being solid, is that it did not rise and the batter was not bubbly enough. Probably the yoghurt was sterilised, and not active, I wonder.

I have sent the recipe to a few more people who I know make Dhoklas regularly to several different recipes, hopefully one of them will reply. I may get a chance to try it out in a few weeks time, but it is too hectic here right now.

Mamta, on 18/7/2013 06:57am

Vtoniolo, one response is this;

(i)"I suspect that problem could be in over fermentation. The batter may have risen and fallen in "1-2 days" time."

This actually makes sense to me. I hadn't thought of it, because this is seldom a problem in cold Britain!!! The batter should be bubbly, but the stage after bubbly is it going flat. It has been very hot lately, so perhaps it rose and then fell down in 1-2 day's time, loosing all the air trapped in bubbles. Does this ring a bell?

Once I have heard from the author, I will make suggestion on the recipe, to keep an eye on it. In hot weather it may rise too fast, in much less time. If this happens, I put my Dhokla, Idli, Dosa batter, all of which are fermented batters, in a fridge until I am ready to cook.

Hope this helps

Vtoniolo, on 18/7/2013 11:48pm

That was definitely not the problem because the batter was on my kitchen counter and I watched it every few hours over the span of two days. My dosa better usually rises within one day, but the dhokla never rose at all. My yogurt was also live, because it's a very fresh, whole yogurt produced locally. The only thing I can think of is that either the batter was too liquid to rise (how much water do you use to get the rice/chana mixture to blend?) or that the batter got warmed up in the blender and the temperature killed the live cultures. I did have to grind it for quite a while.

Mamta, on 19/7/2013 09:16am

I have heard from the author of this recipe, my elder sister. There may be a few minor errors. I am making it today, with some modifications, and will get back to you, perhaps tomorrow.

Rajneesh, on 20/7/2013 05:23pm

Post me the dhokla leftovers Mamta LOL!!!

Mamta, on 20/7/2013 07:43pm

Rajneesh, you are most welcome. Dhokla is not one of my most favourite dishes, I will eat it but won't go out of my way to make it. That is why it has taken me so long to re-test the recipe. It is one of the ones I had written a long time ago, on what my sister had told me. Obviously, I had not written it clearly enough. I have made it, came out quite well, but will take me a day or two to write it. I have people coming for dinner tomorrow and I am running a cookery class tomorrow. I haven't got time/energy to do anything else at the moment. Age is catching up!¬

Mamta, on 22/7/2013 04:56pm

Hello Vtoniolo

I have finally retested and re-written the Dhokla 1 recipe. My sister explained that I had forgotten to write down the consistency of batter. It usually does not require any water, yoghurt is enough. So your batter probably was too watery to rise. Also, it is safer to add sodabicarb before steaming it. If the batter has risen very well, you can get away without it, but not otherwise.

I have taken a few pictures, but can not post them until my webmaster has time to delete the old one.

Hope it works out well for you this time, it worked for me.

Soumya, on 28/8/2015 06:10am

I tried the recipe and the batter didn't rise well. I think I added too much water. Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk and I already know my mistake. I just wanted to know what I can do with the batter now. It's a large quantity and I can't bring myself to throw it away. I tried to add water and make pancakes out of it but that's not working either. Any suggestions what to do with the batter now?

Mamta, on 28/8/2015 07:43am

The best thing I can think of is make 'chilla' pancakes with the batter. They are a northern version of Dosa pancake of southern India;

They are lovely, especially when served fresh and hot, straight from the griddle. They can be made in advance, even frozen, but reheat to freshen them up. It is best to freeze them with a little piece of wax paper or foil in between, which stops them from sticking.

Incidentally, Chilla pancakes can be made with many things, including semolina.

Helen Bach, on 28/8/2015 12:02pm

just looked over your dhokla recipes, and I have the following comments. There is mention of Andrews (Liver salts). This has a laxative as an ingredient (Magnesium sulphate) and would be inappropriate in dhokla, I would have thought.

In India, fenugreek seeds are used as a source of natural yeasts, which are, of course, the natural fermenting agent. Sodium bicarbonate, in reaction with an acid (lemon/lime juice) will provide the carbon dioxide necessary for rise, but this reaction is instantaneous, so the (fresh) bicarb must be added at the last possible moment. This is not a fermentation.

Dried yeast could be used, and an original recipe used. If using natural yeast, only boiled water should be used, as chlorinated water may kill the yeast.

Hope that helps.

Mamta, on 28/8/2015 10:46pm

Hello Helen

I have seen many Gujarati people using ENO/Andrews salts in Dhokla, here in UK, as well as in India. When I enquired about why, it seems that it works better than baking powder and doesn’t seem to have laxative side effect in the amount that is used.

Dhokla is not one of my favourite foods. All 5 Dhokla recipes on my website are from either one of my sisters or sister in-law, who all make it regularly and brilliantly. They all use ENO, except in one recipe, recipe 4, where baking powder and citric acid have been used.

I use fenugreek seeds in Dosa batter most of the time and they do help. I have not seen anyone use dry yeast, though I have added it to Dosa batter some of the times, to hasten the fermentation up.

Helen Bach, on 29/8/2015 04:06pm

ENO, AFAIK, is just fruit acid (citric acid) and bicarbonate, so will work. Andrews really does contain a laxative, so I wouldn't put it in any food I prepare. Baking powder would also contain acid and bicarbonate. But these reactions are very quick, and need to be added just before pouring the mix into suitable containers.

Mamta, on 29/8/2015 04:21pm

Having discussed the matter with the writers of the recipes, I have removed Andrews fruit salt from recipes, but left ENO in. Many, many thanks Helen.


Smita, on 20/6/2016 09:14am

I forgot to add eno to my mixture, I streamed it for 1h when I realized my error. how can I use this dokra, taste is there, just no texture, what can I do with this dokra - I would hate to through this away.

any ideas?


Mamta, on 20/6/2016 11:46am

Cut them up in paneer cube size and add them to a curry sauce. It will be like Besan Gatte Curry;

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