Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baroda Dal Dhokli

Considering that I was fairly familiar with Gujarati food throughout my life, I found out about Dal Dhokli very very late, and when I did, my first reaction was 'whoa, this is like fresh pasta, on steroids!'. As soon as I tasted it, it was such a revelation that something so simple could taste so good, that I had to immediately ask the person who made it, for the recipe, and ever since I have made it several times myself. Dal Dhokli consists of two main parts, the dhoklis which are pieces of thinly rolled out dough, and the thin dal in which they are boiled until cooked. The overall result is thicker than soup, and substantial enough to be eaten as a main dish. This is a very comforting sort of meal, and even good to eat when one is under the weather (like I am right now, unfortunately). A crudites style salad rounds off the meal very nicely. For those not familiar with the dish, I should add that these 'dhoklis' bear no relation to the more popular and accessible 'dhoklas'.

Even though I like my usual recipe a lot, I wanted to try out something different for a change, and I found one that looked good in 'Rotis and Naans of India' by Purobi Babbar which happens to be quite a favorite cookbook of mine. This book is low on contextual information but it is a solid compilation of recipes that always work really well, or at least have worked really well for me so far. Even though the book has recipes for things besides rotis and naans that look very promising, that is the only section I have used.

In this particular case, I don't know why the title in the book says 'Baroda' Dal Dhokli and what it is (if there is anything) that distinguishes it from the Dal Dhokli made in other parts of Gujarat. Perhaps someone like Priyanka might know. Even though I made several changes to the original, I was rather pleased with the result. Pleased enough to want to use this recipe until I decide to fall back on the old favorite. I did not add any garlic in the tadka as specified, used brown sugar instead of white, and instead of amchoor, the choice of acid was (you guessed it) Meyer lemon juice, squeezed over the dal at the very end. Another thing I did this time (and was left wondering why I didn't think of it before) was to make a double batch of the dhoklis and freeze them, so that next time around I only need to make some dal and pop in the dhoklis.

Gujarati Dal Dhokli
Photo taken in a small window of opportunity right before dinner, with the squeezed lemon landing fortuitously in the background.

Here is my recipe, adapted. The book says it serves 6, but based on experience, I'd say not more than 4.

For the dhoklis

1 cup wheat flour (chappati flour, atta)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon oil
water for mixing.

Sift the flour and add the spices and salt to it. Rub the oil into the flour, and slowly add water to make a stiff and smooth dough. Divide the dough into 4 or 5 pieces, and roll out each piece into a rectangle about as thick as a chappati. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into pieces about 2" X 2" in size.

Dhoklis: Rolled and Cut
Making the dhoklis

For the dal

1 cup (or 160 grams) toor dal
1/2 of a medium yellow onion
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (I used rajwadi)
1 teaspoon amchoor (or lemon juice)

1 Tablespoon oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
5-6 cloves
2-3 dried red chilies (boriya or small round chilies)
10-12 curry leaves
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
2-3 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro
ghee, optional

Chop the onion fine. Cook the dal with turmeric and onion using 5 cups of water, in a pressure cooker or directly on stove top. When it is fully cooked, whisk together until smooth, and add salt and sugar. Bring the dal to a boil, add the rajwadi garam masala. If using amchoor, add it as well. Add the dhokli pieces to the dal, and cook for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan for the tempering (vaghaar) to be poured on top. Add the mustard seeds and when they start to pop, add cumin seeds, cloves, chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida, and pour the mixture on the dal. Add the chopped cilantro leaves, and if using lemon juice, squeeze it on top. Add a little ghee, if you like. Tastes best if served immediately.

The old favorite

I am also adding here the usual dal dhokli recipe I have used until now.

For 2-3

For the Dhoklis

3/4 cup chappati flour (atta)
1/4 cup besan
1 tsp ajwain
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Mix the atta, besan, ajwain, chili powder, and salt, and add enough water to it to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough, cut it into pieces, separate the individual pieces and leave them on a large tray to dry out for 1-2 hours.

For the dal

3/4 cup toor dal
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 green chilies
1 inch piece of ginger
about 10 sprigs of cilantro, chopped

1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
5-10 curry leaves
pinch of fenugreek (methi) seeds
pinch of urad dal
pinch of asafoetida (hing)

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
salt to taste

Cook dal with turmeric in a pressure cooker. Whisk it to make sure it is smooth. Make a paste of the chilies, ginger, cilantro.

In a large and deep pan, heat the oil, and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, asafoetida, and finally add the cooked dal. Add the ground paste, and plenty of water. Add the cumin and coriander powders and salt. Bring it to a boil. Add the dhokli pieces to the dal and cook it for a few minutes on medium heat until the dal starts to thicken and the dhoklis have softened and cooked.

Freezing Dhoklis
Dhoklis: Frozen
If you wish to freeze dhoklis, lay out the individual dhoklis without crowding on a tray and keep it in the freezer for a few hours, and then transfer to a freezer bag or container and put it back in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, they can be put directly into boiling dal without thawing.

Sending this entry to RCI: Gujarat.


ServesYouRight said...

FABULOUS!!! Dal dhokli is no mean undertaking - well done!!!

who is drooling over her keyboard :-)

sra said...

Purobi's book is a great favourite of mine too - I've tried quite a few dishes from there - there's a veg haleem recipe in there that works well, and is on my blog. I don't remember seeing this recipe tho'- time to revisit. I like your second photo a lot. Get well soon!

Asha said...

I have Purobi's book too, it was so tough to find that book here!:)
Dal Dhokla, I have never tried before. Looks fabulous girl!:))

Alpa said...

i love dal dhokli, make it whenever i have leftover mashed dal on hand! yours looks wonderfully tasty!

Richa said...

me too like my ajwain in the dhokli :) i should try ading the onion sometime for a variation!
btw, i add kaju or shengdana too, do try if u like :)
hope u feel better soon, sweetie!

musical said...

The picture taken in the small window of opportunity is GORGEOUS! There's a big fight ging on with the screen right now :).

Love the idea of freezing dhoklis, dear! And i second Richa, ajwain rocks the dhoklis!

vimmi said...

Just saw the stuffed version and now this. the pics are so good.

evolvingtastes said...

Smita, thanks a lot. It isn't really thaaaat much work, considering some other complicated Indian dishes.

sra, high five! I learnt to make laccha parathas from her book and that alone makes the book worth it. Thanks for that tip about the veg haleem - I just checked it out. Mmm, gheeful.

asha, the book is hard to find even in India.

Alpa, thanks, and welcome to my blog!

richa, you are so right about the ajwain. I was thinking of using the ajwain dhokli with Purobi's dal next time.

musical, thanks much. :-) The freezing works very well, and thawing too - I tried it.

Vimmi, thanks - that stuffed one is quite something!

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

I read and loved it..will surely try to make it on of the evenings, for sure ! Thanks for posting dear !

vimmi said...

Hi ,

I am going to Goa for 5 days on my visit to India. Can you give me the names of the bookstores. You can leave a commen or email me at

Thanks a lot.

evolvingtastes said...

Anamika, glad you liked it. Let me know how it turns out.

Vimmi, wow that was quick! I will email you for sure.

Suganya said...

You have wisely used that window of opportunity. The pic is warm and inviting. If dhoklis can be freezed, then this is a breeze.

Mansi Desai said...

that's one gujju dish I so enjoy! the freezing tip is something even I can use:) nicely done EV:)

Anita said...

After reading all the raves, I have to give this dish a second chance...soon.

evolvingtastes said...

Suganya, Mansi, thanks!

Anita, I hope you give it another chance, but keep in mind that this is not a very spicy dish and relies on spices only for flavor rather than heat.

monalisa said...

Tried it and loved it! Thanks so much!
Unfortunately, it looks like your fabulous picture has been lifted by these folks :-(

evolvingtastes said...

Monalisa, you are most welcome. I am thrilled to hear that you tried it out and liked it too.

Thanks a lot also for tipping me about the indobase site that is using the picture. I have contacted them via their complaint form. Let's see if they have the courtesy to either return my mail or acknowledge the picture.

evolvingtastes said...

Hi Monalisa! There is no address on your profile to contact you, so I am responding here to let you know that the site has taken the picture off, which is great. Once again, thanks a lot for letting me know about it, I really appreciate it.

प्रिया said...

That's a nice recipe! I am surprised you hadn't heard of this thing before, because there is a very popular but humble Maharashtrian dish called 'varaNphaLa', similar to this. You basically roll a 'poLee', cut it into square pieces and boil them in a 'chincha-guLaachee aamTee'. It was my favourite comfort food back home :)

It's nice to see the Gujarati version. I must try my varaNphaLa with spiced-up Dhokalis next time! :-)

evolvingtastes said...

प्रिया, it is true, but I hadn't heard of 'varaNphaLa' until just a few years ago, and that too I found out somewhere on the web. It was definitely not something made at our place ever. Sounds delicious with the chincha-guLAchI AmTI!!

Anonymous said...

Ooooooopas !!!
All this while I was thinking Daal Dhokli are types of dhoklas made with diffrent kinds of daals. Was shocked to see and read what the actual dish is all aby .

perspective said...

Looking for inspiration to make Dal Dhokli... I found this blog of yours... quite delighted :) to read your recipes and second to see that the Dal Dhokli is called Baroda Dal Dhokli. I am from baroda and I am pretty sure i have never eaten this popular gujarati dish with onions... but am gonna give it a try! :)

evolvingtastes said...

perpective, thanks for letting me know, and welcome here! You have a lovely blog too - why did you stop blogging?

Smiling said...

thanks for the freezing tip. I will def consider it. I am cooking dal dhokli today. Will post it on my blog soon.

I loved ur blog and would be great to have u over on mine :)

Smiling said...

evolvingtastes said...

Smiling, thanks! I'd like to hop on over but I cannot access your blog.

Crumpled Chillies said...

oh man.. u took me back in time when every sunday mom made daal dhokli for me! :)
Now I am thinking of doing a post on Dhokli Nu Shaak...

evolvingtastes said...

Crumpled chilies, please do post about your 'dhokli nu shaak', and let me know when you do. You could post a comment here to notify. It sounds very interesting, and something I would like to try. Thanks for stopping by! said...

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