This khaman dhokla recipe makes a wonderfully soft and chewy, slightly sweet and salty cake, perfect to enjoy any time of the day. It’s easy to steam on the stovetop or even in the Instant Pot with my step-by-step instructions.
What is Khaman
Khaman, also called as khaman dhokla in other Indian states, is a popular snack from Gujarati cuisine.
It’s light, spongy, and includes a hint of great salty flavor from a simple combination of chickpea flour (besan), herbs and spices. Chickpea flour is black chickpeas with a ground skin.
Khaman is a healthy, sweet snack that just happens to be vegan. In addition, it can also be gluten-free, if you skip semolina and asafoetida in the dough.
Khaman is also known as yellow dhokla because it has a yellow color or besan dhokla. He is also known as the instant khaman.
I prepare dhokla khaman with the method of steaming in an instant pot or in a pan.
They are perfect for a large and satisfying breakfast or an afternoon or evening snack.
What’s the difference between dhokla and khaman dhokla?
Khaman is popularly referred to as a dhokla khaman, but in reality a dhokla is made differently from a khaman.
Dhokla is made from rice paste and ground and fermented lentils like chana dal or urad dal.
While the khaman is made instantly with chickpea flour. Khaman dough is not fermented unlike dhokla dough.
In the taste department, fermentation gives dhokla a very complex flavorful taste, but a khaman also tastes just as delicious.
The dhokla color can range from cream to light yellow or yellow, but a khaman has a bright yellow color always.
Eno (fruit salt)
We use fruit salt as a leavening agent, in this khaman recipe. Eno is a popular Indian brand of fruit salt which is used to relieve acidity and heartburn.
Fruit salt has citric acid, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and sodium carbonate in it.
Sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate are effervescent ingredients that bubble up and release carbon dioxide when added to water.
Baking soda or Eno
You can use baking soda also to make khaman. But baking soda gives off its soapy aroma if used in excess, so be careful not to add too much.
Eno gives you a perfect fluffy and soft khaman while the baking soda one is not so chewy or spongy.
Personally, I prefer to use eno in khaman because it gives the best results. I am not in favor of baking soda, because on the one hand we cannot stand the soapy aroma and on the other hand the texture is not as airy or spongy as the khaman made with eno.
Use eno which is fresh and within its shelf life. If your eno is not active or fresh, the texture of the khaman will be dense and flat. And please don’t use flavored eno – regular eno without any flavor works best.
The eno and baking soda react with the turmeric powder and give a red tint or red spots to the khaman dhokla. So add some turmeric powder or skip it completely.
Lemon juice or citric acid
I made khaman with both citric acid and lemon juice. Citric acid gives a superb mellow texture. Lemon juice also works great, but citric acid wins out here. That said, use whatever is readily available to you.
To replace citric acid with lemon juice, use this standard ratio of:
1 tablespoon of lemon juice = ¼ teaspoon of citric acid (in powder form)
For citric acid, use pure, food grade citric acid. I also suggest including some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Use a fresh lemon.
How to make Khaman Dhokla
1. Grease a steamer pan with 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil.
2. Take 1.5 cups of flour (120 grams of besan) in a mixing bowl or saucepan. Use chickpea flour which has a fine texture.
TIP: Chickpea flour can also be used to make khaman.
3. Add the following ingredients:
- 2 to 3 pinches of turmeric powder
- a small pinch of asafoetida (skip for a gluten-free version)
- ⅓ to ½ teaspoon pure citric acid or 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoon ginger paste (crush 1.5 inches of ginger and 1.5 teaspoons of green peppers in a pestle mortar)
- 1.5 teaspoon green chili paste
- 1 tablespoon of sugar or add to taste
- 1 teaspoon of salt or add to taste
TIP: Avoid adding too much turmeric powder, as the fruit salt or baking soda reacts with the turmeric powder and turns it red, resulting in dots, spots or reddish tones in the khaman.
4. Add 1 cup of water (or more or less as needed) and 1 tablespoon of oil to make a thick, fluid paste. The amount of water needed depends on the quality of the flour, so start with 1 cup and add more as needed. Stir well to combine.
5. Then add 1 tablespoon of rava (semolina). This is completely optional but adds a good texture to the khaman. Avoid rava or semolina for a gluten-free option.
6. Stir with a whisk to create a smooth, thick paste without lumps.
Consistency of the batter
7. The dough should be thick while flowing easily from the whisk. A quick tip is if the dough gets thin, then 1 to 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour.
Then bring 2 to 2.5 cups of water to a boil in a steamer or electric pressure cooker or pressure cooker. The amount of water to add depends on the pressure cooker or steamer size.
Sourdough khaman batter
8. Then add 2 teaspoons of Eno or fruit salt. 2 teaspoons of Eno makes the khaman mellow and soft. But there is a little alkaline taste to Eno.
If you are not a fan of this flavor, add just 1.5 teaspoons of Eno. If you are using baking soda as a leavening agent, add ½ teaspoon to ¾ teaspoon of it.
9. Stir the eno with the batter briskly and quickly.
10. The fruit salt should be mixed evenly with the dough. Or you will get uneven texture in the khaman.
11. The eno will make the dough foamy, so you have to work quickly to whip it well.
12. Pour the prepared dough into the greased pan.
13. Gently shake so that the dough is balanced in the mold.
1. Place the pot in a steamer, electric rice cooker or pressure cooker. When you place the khaman batter pan, the water should already be boiling or hot. When using a pressure cooker, remove the weight of the vent / whistle from the lid and firmly cover the pressure cooker with its lid.
2. Steam for 15-20 minutes in an electric rice cooker. If using a pot, pressure cooker, or Instant Pot, steam for 12 to 15 minutes over medium to medium-high heat. For 17 minutes, the khaman is cooked using an electric rice cooker.
You can start working on the spice and herbal solution to temper the khaman while cooking. Read on for instructions.
3. To check doneness, insert a toothpick. It should come out clean if the khaman is finished. If the toothpick contains paste, you need to steam it for about a few minutes.
4. Allow the khaman to warm up or cool down completely. Gently slide a butter knife along the edges to free the khaman from the pan. Place a plate or platter on top of the pot.
5. Then quickly turn the saucepan over.
6. If well greased, the khaman slides easily on the plate.
7. To slice the khaman into squares, use a sharp knife and set aside until ready to temper. Since I used a concave plate, the khaman settled in the center. This will not happen if you are using a flat plate.
1. Tempering is important to infuse the khaman with flavor and add moisture to the chickpea flour sponge. To soak, first heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over the heat. Use peanut oil or any neutral tasting oil.
2. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and let them crackle.
3. When the mustard seeds crackle, add 10 to 12 curry leaves and, if desired, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon of chopped green pepper.
4. Mix and then add 2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds.
5. For a few seconds, fry the sesame seeds. But do not brown them or they will turn bitter.
6. Then carefully add ⅓ cup of water. You can turn off the heating when adding water.
7. Then add 2 teaspoons of sugar.
8. Stir and let the mixture boil at room temperature. Make sure the sugar is dissolved.
9. Remove from the heat and immediately pour this tempering mixture evenly over the khaman dhokla so that it oozes through the sliced edges.
10. Garnish with 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and 2-3 tablespoons grated coconut, if desired.
11. Serve the khaman dhokla right away or keep it in an airtight container and serve later after an hour. If you enjoy khaman later after several hours, do not add coconut until you are ready to eat.
You can also refrigerate them, then when ready to serve, sprinkle some water on top and microwave for a few seconds until just hot.
What to eat with Khaman
Sweet, savory and chewy cakes pair perfectly with our usual assortment of Indian chutneys like papaya chutney, mint chutney or even cilantro chutney.
We also like to serve it with Tamarind Chutney. You can also serve it as a healthy snack with your evening tea.
If you have to serve khaman after a few hours or the next day, I don’t recommend adding cilantro or coconut. Just pour in the mash.
Refrigerate the khaman in a covered container. While serving, you can reheat with a little water in a microwave or oven.
If you are using the Instant Pot for reheating, steam for 1 to 2 minutes. While serving, add the coconut and cilantro leaves.