Chana Dal Dhokla | Traditional Gujarati Vati Dal Dhokl

images 27 - Crazy Pyar

step by step pics. Dhokla is a steamed lentil cake made with ground, fermented batter made of bengal gram (chana dal), rice and curd (yogurt). It is also called vati dal dhokla or vati dal na dhokla

Living in a suburb in Mumbai, there was this guy in the vegetable market who would sell dhokla made with fermented batter. When my mom would go to buy vegetables in the market, at times she would also get dhokla for us. Now this vendor’s dhokla would sell like hot cakes as they were too good.

Even after so many years, I still do remember the taste and flavor of this fermented dhokla. We actually prefer foods made with fermented batter than the instant versions and the same goes for dhokla too.

Fermentation brings about complex changes in the food in terms of taste, flavor and nutrition and it only becomes better.

Now even though the batter is fermented, when steaming the batter, some fruit salt (eno) or baking soda needs to be added to give lightness, fluffiness and sponginess in the dhokla. If you want, you can even skip adding baking soda and fruit salt.

I have made this dhokla without the addition of fruit salt (eno) but they do not have the characteristic sponginess and fluffiness in them. They will be soft and taste good also, but the porous texture will not be there.

 some time and every time it yields me good results. Though I use only chana dal and rice, but you can even use just chana dal or a mixture of chana dal, moong dal and urad dal can also be used. Addition of rice makes the dhokla soft.

Serve this traditional Gujarati vati dal na dhokla with some coriander chutney.

How to make chana dal dhokla

For ease of understanding, I have divided this dhokla recipe post into 4 steps:

  • Step 1 – soaking dal and rice
  • Step 2 – making dhokla batter
  • Step 3 – steaming dhokla
  • Step 4 – making tempering for dhokla

Lets start with step 1 – soaking dal and rice:

1. In a bowl take ¼ heaped cup rice (50 grams) and 1 cup chana dal (200 grams). For english readers, chana dal is split and husked

bengal gram.

Chana Dal Dhokla (Vati Dal Dhokla)

Servings  Units


images 26 - Crazy Pyar
dokla resipy

For Batter

  • ▢1 cup chana dal (split and husked bengal gram) or 200 grams
  • ▢¼ heaped cup rice or 50 grams
  • ▢10 fenugreek seeds – optional
  • ▢2 to 2.25 cups water for soaking
  • ▢¾ to 1 cup water for grinding
  • ▢1 green chili
  • ▢1 inch ginger
  • ▢½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ▢¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ▢1 pinch asafoetida
  • ▢3 tablespoons Curd (yogurt)
  • ▢1 teaspoon salt or add as required
  • ▢2 teaspoons peanut oil – can also use sunflower oil or any other neutral tasting oil
  • ▢1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ▢1 teaspoon eno (fruit salt) or ⅓ teaspoon baking soda

Other Ingredient

  • ▢2.5 cups water for steaming

For Tempering

  • ▢1 tablespoon peanut oil – can also use sunflower oil or any other neutral tasting oil
  • ▢½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ▢1 to 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • ▢1 pinch asafoetida – optional
  • ▢7 to 8 curry leaves
  • ▢2 tablespoons water
  • ▢2 teaspoons sugar or add as per taste

For Garnishing

  • ▢2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
  • ▢2 tablespoons grated coconut – optional


Soaking Dal And Rice

  • In a bowl take 1 cup chana dal (200 grams) and ¼ heaped cup rice (50 grams).
  • Also add 10 fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds are optional and can be skipped.
  • Rinse everything a couple of times with water. Add 2 to 2.25 cups water. Cover and soak for 4 to 5 hours.

Making Batter

  • After 4 to 5 hours, drain all the water and add the soaked dal, rice, methi seeds in a grinder jar. Depending on the size of the grinder jar, you can grind in one or two batches.
  • Also add 1 green chili (chopped), 1 inch ginger (chopped) and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • Add water in parts and grind to a batter where you can feel the fine rava or sooji like consistency of rice in the batter. The batter should not be ground fine. Overall you can add ¾ to 1 cup water while grinding.
  • Take the batter in a bowl or pan. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 pinch asafoetida, 3 tablespoons curd and 1 teaspoon salt or add as required.
  • Mix very well. Cover and let the batter ferment for 8 to 9 hours. In a warm or hot climate, it will take 5 to 6 hours for the batter to ferment. In a cold or cool climate, it can take more time.
  • After fermentation, the batter will have tiny air bubbles in it and a faint sour aroma.
  • Before steaming dhokla, grease a pan with some oil on the base as well as the sides.
  • In a large pot or pressure cooker, take 2.5 cups water. Place a stand inside. Keep the pot or the cooker on a medium-low to medium flame and let the water come to a boil.
  • Now add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the fermented batter.
  • Add 2 teaspoons oil to the batter. mix very well.
  • Now sprinkle 1 teaspoon eno (fruit salt) or ⅓ teaspoon baking soda all over the batter evenly.
  • With brisk and quick movements of a spoon or spatula, mix the eno or baking soda very well in the batter. The mixing has to be done very well or else some parts of the dhokla won’t be spongy and porous. Mix very well and do it quickly.
  • Meanwhile the water has come to a boil. pour the batter in the greased pan.
  • Level the top with a spatula or spoon. sprinkle some red chilli powder on top. This step is optional.

Steaming Chana Dal Dhokla

  • Place the pan on the stand inside the large pot or cooker.
  • Cover with a lid and steam the batter on medium flame for 20 to 25 minutes or more. If using pressure cooker, then remove the vent weight (whistle) from the lid.
  • A skewer or toothpick inserted in the dhokla should come out clean.
  • Place the dhokla pan on a stand and let it become warm or cool at room temperature.
  • Then place a plate on top of the pan and turn upside down. Tap the pan and the dhokla will gently glide on to the plate. 
  • Place another plate on the dhokla and again turn upside down. The top side will face you know.
  • Cut the dhokla with a knife to get medium or large bite sized pieces.

Tempering For Chana Dal Dhokla

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small pan or tadka pan. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds. let the mustard seeds crackle.
  • When the mustard seeds finish crackling, add 1 to 2 teaspoons sesame seeds and give a stir. 
  • Then add 1 pinch asafoetida and 7 to 8 curry leaves.
  • Fry for a few seconds till the curry leaves become crisp.
  • Carefully add 2 tablespoons water as the mixture splutters. You can even switch off the flame when adding water. 
  • Then add 2 teaspoons sugar or add as per taste.
  • Stir and mix the sugar with the water.
  • Let the water come to a boil.
  • Then switch off the flame and add this entire tempering mixture all over the dhokla.
  • Lastly add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut all over the dhokla.
  • Take each piece carefully and serve chana dal dhokla with coriander chutney.

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