Khaman Dhokla – chickpea flour steamed savory snack cakes. glutenfree vegan

Its not like I am on a gf diet.. A lot of indian meals and snacks just happen to be naturally glutenfree. If you are on a gf diet, you would love all the meals from south India and most snacks from Northwest states like Gujarat.
There are different types of Dhoklas, the instant Khaman with chickpea flour like this one, the fermented one made with whole lentils like chana daal(bengal gram), urad daal(black gram and rice, which are soaked, ground and fermented overnight. The one on this post is the instant version.
Serve these for breakfast or snack.. another nutritious Gameday Snack! You can even make a dhokla sandwich. Put some favorite chutneys and roasted veggies between 2.
Video for Instant dhokla(non vegan version).- uses Eno fruit salt and citric acid like most dhokla recipes.

Chickpea flour along with some other lentil and bean flours is used to make a variety of Gujarati snacks, baked, fried, fermented, steamed. Fafda, Kachori, Kahndvi, Muthiya, Khakra, Khaman dhokla, Handvo and lots more(you dont need to pronounce these to enjoy them:D). You can find some recipes here and on Sanjeev Kapoor’s site here, mostly vegetarian and but easily veganized.
More Snack/breakfast options on my Facebook Snack album here.

Ingredients: makes a 6 by 3 inch pan
1/4 cup chickpea flour(besan)
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar, ground
1/4 scant teaspoon baking powder
pinch of asofetida(hing)
generous pinch of turmeric(optional, just for a brighter yellow color)
1 teaspoon grated ginger or 1/2 tsp paste
1/2 teaspoon grated green chili
3 Tablespoons non dairy yogurt (I used SoDelicious plain coconut milk yogurt)
2+ Tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
a generous pinch of baking soda

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
pinch of asofetida(hing)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tbps water
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon shredded coconut(optional)
Sesame seeds(optional)

Whisk all the dry ingredients of the dhokla well.
Add in the grated or paste ginger and chili and mix.
In another bowl, Whisk the yogurt, water and vinegar to remove lumps and combine well.
Add the yogurt mix into the dry ingredients and mix/whisk to form a lump free flowy, not too watery, batter.
Add the pinch of baking soda into the dhokla batter when ready to steam, mix well.
Immediately pour the batter into the parchment lined baking pan and steam it in any way you find comfortable.

Start up the steamer.
I usually use my 6 inch round steel pan and steam in a pressure cooker without whistle. But not everyone has a pressure cooker, I used a deep pan(steamer set up) with a well fitting lid, the lid has a hole. I used a non stick 6 by 3 inch baking pan lined with parchment for the dhokla cake.
This baking pan can be put in any steamer and steamed for 22-24 minutes.

I filled up the deep pan with water that reached to about 2/3 the height of the baking pan.
Once the water starts boiling, add the pinch of baking soda into the dhokla batter and mix well.
Immediately pour the batter into the parchment lined dhokla pan.
Place dhokla pan in boiling water, cover and steam on high flame for 18-20 minutes.
Check on the 18 minute mark, a tooth pick from the center should come out almost clean. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and switch off.
After a minute, Take the dhokla pan out of the steamer pan and let rest for 5 minutes.
Remove parchment from pan and rest for another 5 minutes before peeling off the parchment. You can also use a greased pan, and using a knife loosen the edges.
Cut the dhokla into squares or rectangles.

Heat oil in a small pan on medium heat.
When hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to sputter.
Add in the asofetida(hing) and curry leaves and reduce heat to low. You can add the chopped cilantro now and cook it for a few seconds, or use it uncooked as garnish.
Add half a teaspoon of chopped green chili(optional)
In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, water and sugar and add this carefully to the pan.
Mix well and turn heat off. Pour this over evenly the cut dhokla.
Garnish with coconut, sesame seeds, cilantro. Serve, with sweet tamarind date chutney or green cilantro mint chutney.

I used less garnish for the pictures so that you can see the texture and such of the dhokla. Use as much or as little tadka and garnish as you like. We like a good amount of mustard seeds and cilantro and chili, and not as much coconut.
If you use a pressure cooker, it will be ready in 15-16 minutes. If you double the recipe, increase the cooking time by a few minutes. Also use 2 pans if making a bigger batch. Smaller and less deep pans will get cooked faster and evenly.

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  1. says

    This looks lovely! This is what I ate for the first time a couple of weeks ago at the vegetarian Indian restaurant. I wonder if it would work with a nut flour? I might experiment!

    • says

      thanks Vicky.. I havent tried a nut flour.. the other versions usually have semolina or other lentil flours. It might work.. i think coconut or almond flour mixed in with the chickpea flour would work to keep it similar taste wise

  2. says

    My husband and I love Indian food. It is our go to place when we eat-out as almost the entire menu is gluten-free. This recipe looks super tasty. You’ve inspired me to bake with chickpea flour more often!

  3. says

    Thank you for stopping by and sharing on Allergy Free Wednesdays! Check back next week for recipe highlights (including the top 3 reader choice submissions and hostess favorites).

    –AFW Hostesses

    • says

      it will turn out very dry in the oven. The steaming keeps it soft and moist. you can steam it on the stove top in any pan with a lid. I use my regular non stick deep pan and put bread pan in the center and add water till it comes to 2/3 the height of the bread pan.

  4. Anonymous says

    can i just use the steamer on a rice cooker? I’m really confused with the instructions it sounds super complicated

    • says

      Yes, you can. The cooking time might vary slightly. Try steaming for 25 minutes. The cake should feel dry to touch in the middle when done.

    • says

      you can try with thick non dairy milk. Add a few teaspoons more flour so that the batter is not too thin. Let nme know how it turns out!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer, Pure asafetida is glutenfree. It is a spice powder. It is also called hing. You can find it in indian stores or on amazon or health stores. Look for pure asafetida. it is usually sold mixed with starches and usually wheat starch. you can also skip it. Its a somewhat garlicky taste, so you can sub it with garlic or onion powder.

    • says

      Asafetida(hing) the spice is gluten-free. the hard crystals are cut/ground with a starch or flour which is generally wheat. So ground asafetida can have gluten. It can also be ground with rice flour. So check the label or get the whole asafetida and get it ground at a spice store with a flour or starch of choice.

  5. Andrea says

    Hello Richa,

    I made this for one of my Vegan friends, however, it retained the strong chickpea smell and taste when it was done. Took about 45mins to steam till done. Not sure where I went wrong. Can you please advise?. The normal dokla’s do not seem to have the typical chickpea smell.


    • says

      Hi Andrea, what flour did you use? Besan(gram flour) or chickpea flour? What kind of non dairy yogurt? and did you steam the dhokla? 45 minutes is way too long, which I imagine would dry it out and hence cause the flavor to be stronger.

      There are various kinds of dhokla that are yellow or white or made with all besan/chickpea flour or a mix of flours. The yellow khaman dhokla usually uses besan, and is steamed for just 10 to 15 minutes. It has the flavor profile of besan which gets less strong as it sits soaked in the tempering.


  1. […] Steaming plates and steamers are not as common in the US. So I started baking the dhoklas to see how they work out. This recipe can be baked, steamed or microwaved. To bake, use stoneware or glass pan so the bottoms of the snack cakes dont burn, and always cover the snack cake during and after baking so they don’t dry out. This is an updated version of the recipe posted some years back. See the older post for steaming step pictures.  […]

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