Khaman Dhokla

Khaman Dhokla

Famous Gujarati Savoury Chickpea Cake

I first tried this savory snack in Southall, west London, an area famous for it’s sumptouous Indian textiles (my excuse) and the best curries outside of India, possibly in the world (my real reason)

Dhokla is a savoury snack made from fermented chick pea or yellow-split pea batter steamed into a cake, then garnished with an aromatic oil of mustard seed, curry leaf, dried red chilli and hing

My dhokla was light and airy with lots of body, a marvellous lactic tang, and a rounded sweetness. And it was wonderfully moist, a sharp-sweet fruity sauce of dates and tamarind rounding it off to perfection.

No wonder, then, that when I subsequently visited India I looked for this – far and wide, as it happens: dhokla is not ubiquitous in northern India. And when I did find it – in Delhi – I was rather disappoined! It was almost too light and spongy, and also dry, with little or no sourness. It did come with a great coconut and green chilli chutney, though, hot enough to make my throat burn, my nose run and my eyes cry. Marvellous

I learnt two hings from this:

  1. Indian cuisine is highly regional and to enjoy the best food it’s best to stick to the local fair
  2. Dhokla can be made the instant way with chickpea flour and citric acid without having to wait for an overnight fermentation. The result, though tasty and, with a little effort, moist enough, to my mind simply illustrates the vital importance of making dhokla the proper way

Method Summary

You’ll find the step-by-step recipe below. Here’s a summary of the main points of the dish. The spices mentioned are the most commonly used, but you’ll find plenty of variation with just a bit of research, and you’re always free to try your own

  1. chickpeas are soaked overnight then ground to a smooth batter with a drizzle of oil and only just enough water to allow the process of liquidizing
  2. spices can be added: try a pinch of fenugreek (dried leaf or seed), another pinch of hing and a quarter teaspoon of turmeric. A scan teaspoon of sugar, honey or maple syrup encourages fermentation and adds a hint of sweetness
  3. the batter is allowed to ferment for 12-36 hours, depending on the ambient temperature
  4. adding a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda at the last minute definitely helps the batter to rise and be fluffy
  5. the batter is steamed for 15-25 minutes in a cake tin of your choice, covered with a tea towel to stop water dripping onto your cake
  6. once done splash on some water with your fingers while still hot – this prevents the dhokla from feeling claggy and sticking to the throat
  7. cut the dhokla into squares with a sharp, wetted knive
  8. a tarka (aromatic oil) is prepared by popping black mustard seeds in hot oil, along with half a teaspoon of whole cumin, a pinch of hing, a handful or curry leaves, fresh or dry, and a couple of dry red chillies or some red chilli powder to your taste
  9. the hot tarka is poured over the still hot dhokla
  10. enjoy dhokla warm or cold as a snack or starter with some coconut, date-tamarind or other sweet-cour chutneys: try pommegranite-molasses with agave nectar and grapefruit. Be inventive. Have fun!

Khaman dhokla

A steamed savoury fermented-chickpea cake from Gujarat, India
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
presoak and fermentation2 d
Total Time2 d 40 mins
Course: any, Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Gujarati, Indian
Keyword: cake, chickpeas, fermented, pro-biotic, pudding, pulses, snack, steamed, vegan
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • a round or square cake tin
  • a steamer with a well fitting lid

Ingredients

Dhokla Batter

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 1 pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 level tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (optional)

Tarka (aromatic oil)

  • 3-4 tbsp neutral oil with a high smoking point
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 pinch hing
  • 1 handful curry leaves (10 - 15)
  • 2 whole red chillies, roughly torn
  • ground chilli powder to taste (optional)

Instructions

Batter

  • put all the batter ingredients in a liquidizer with just enough water to make a thick batter, the thicker the better
  • transfer to a covered non-metal bowl and leave in a warm place for 12-36 hours, depending on the time of year, to ferment
  • The fermented mixture should be quite fluffy and pleasantly sharp to taste

Steaming

  • Prepare a steamer or put a trivet or saucer in a pan with water and bring to the boil
  • Oil a square or round cake tin
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda to the batter and stir lightly so you don;t lose the air (CO2)
  • Put the batter in the cake tin, place in the steamer and cover with a well fitting lid
  • Covering the pan with a teatowel will prevent water from dripping on your dhokla, but this is optional
  • steam on a low flame for about 20 minutes
  • Remove from the steamer and immediately splash on some water. This stops the dhokla from sticking in the throat

Make The Tarka

  • Heat the oil in a small pan
  • Add the chillies and allow to just darken. Follow with the mustard seeds until they begin to pop, then add the cumin and curry leaves, letting them sizzle for a few seconds. Finally add the hing and extra chilli powder to taste. Remove from the flame immediately
  • allow to cool and enjoy with a sweet chutney such as tamarind and date sauce, or coconut-green chilli and corander chutney
Rest And Digest With Yoga Nidra

Rest And Digest With Yoga Nidra

Nidra

A Sanskrit term literally meaning “yoga sleep”, the sleep of the yogi is both a practice and a state of consciousness. Nidra is a bordeline state between waking and sleep where you can deeply relax while remaining fully conscious.

The practice is thought to be as ancient as yoga itself with references to nidra found in the earliest yoga scriptures. The modern practice of yoga nidra, however, was revived by Swami Satyananda, founder of the Bihar School, with some practices possibly influenced by ideas from Western psychology and psycho-somatics

There are as many nidras as there are reasons for practising. And different schools of nidra exhibit varying approaches and applications. To experience the psycho-somatic healing discussed in the previous post here is the simplest of nidra practices to help you just rest and digest

Audio: De-stress with yoga nidra

Pomegranite Molasses At Home

Pomegranite Molasses At Home

What to do when you can’t get pomegranite molasses but have unfettered access to fresh pomegranites? Do the unthinkable and make your own. Absurdly easy to make, for flavour your molasses will outcompete any store-bought version by 1000 miles – and that’s a conservative measure

 Pomegranite molasses is a middle eastern staple used in a multitude of dishes from salads to sauces, stews and desserts. I love it in my homemade baked beans

While many recipes call for sugar I’ve never found it necessary to sweeten my molasses. On the contrary, the sweet syrup often needs balancing with lemon or lime juice. I realize I’m talking about Spanish pomegranites, so if your fruit is on the sharp side, go ahead and use your judgement to adjust the sweetness

 

METHOD

 Pomegranite molasses needs just freshly squeezed pomegranite juice and maybe a little lemon juice. Heat to boiling point and cook at medium heat until it reaches a rolling boil and the color has deepened. This can take anywhere from 30-50 minutes, depending on how deep or shallow your pan is and how thick and dark you like it. Finally adjust the taste with a little lemon or lime juice or agave syrup and when cool enough store in a jar in the refrigerator.

The recipe is for a small jar of molasses using 8 pomegranites. Double or triple it to your needs.

Check the video tutorial at the end of the recipe

Fresh Pomegranite Molasses

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Cuisine: Mediterranean, middle east, Worldwide
Keyword: fruit, no added sugar, vegan

Equipment

  • orange squeezer

Ingredients

  • 8 large pomegranites or multiples thereof
  • lemon or lime juice to taste

Instructions

  • juice the pomegranites as you would an orange. The citrus squeezing attachment of a food processor is ideal
  • Keep the seeds back and squeeze out the remaining juice using a piece of muslin or similar thin cloth. You don;t have to do this, but you;ll find there's a lot of juice still left in the seeds
  • place the pomegranite juice in a pan. A wide, shallow pan will speed up the process, but you can use any pan
  • bring the juice to a boil and let it cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally for a good 30-40 minutes. After this time look out for a rolling boil, meaning the juice has turned syrupy. If the result is too thin you can cook it some more, but if you;ve overcaramelized or even slightly burnt the molasses there's no going back
  • adjust the sweetness with a light syrup such as agave syrup, and the sharpness with lemon or lime juice to your taste. I never use a sweetener. On the contrary, I find the local pomegranites, even the pale looking ones really sweet and adust only the acidity
  • when warm store in a small jar with a good seal and keep in the refrigerator to use in your favourite recipe

Oat Flour Pancakes – Vegan Gluten Free Recipes

Oat Flour Pancakes – Vegan Gluten Free Recipes

Oat Flour Pancakes

As a type 2 diabetic I like to avoid the insulin spike you get from some starchy foods, essentially flooding your bloodstream with glucose to be flushed out (in poorly controlled diabetes) or stored as fat for a rainy day

AKA oat hotcakes, these pancakes are fluffy, light, really quick to make and satisfying. They can be sweet or savoury, or a mixture of the two, depending on what topping or accompaniment you’re planning to use

They’re great at any time of day. I like them for breakfast because they’re so hassle-free to make. I mean, who wants to start the day cooking even before breakfast?!

 

Glycaemic Index Of Oats

The rate at which starch and other carbohydrates enter your blood stream as glucose is known as the glycaemic index, scaled from 0 – 100 and conveniently divided into three categories.

Foods with a lower glycaemic index are healthier as they release glucose into your blood stream more gradually to keep you feeling full for longer

GLYCAEMIC INDEX VALUE
High 70 or above
Medium 56 – 69
Low 55 or less

The glycaemic index of unprocessed oats averages 58 putting it at the lower end of the medium category. Compare this with instant porridge oats which have a whopping 83 glycaemic rating!

Closely related to the glycaemic index is the glycaemic load. This is the total amount of carbohydrate you absorb and is related to the quantity of food you eat. I’ll talk about glycaemic load in later posts

Meanshile check out the glycaemic index and glycaemic load of 100 common foodstuffs according to Harvard Health

Soluble Fibre

Oats are rich in soluble fibre

Soluble fibre binds with water to form a gel which slows down digestion helping to

  • regulate your weight by keeping you full for longer
  • regulate blood sugar (see glycaemic index)
  • reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol to help prevent heart disease

Other Nutritional Details

Oats are rich in protein, low in sugar and fat and have a high fibre content, much of which is soluble (see above)

Half a cup of dry oats provides

  • Manganese: 191% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
  • Copper: 24% of the RDI
  • Iron: 20% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 20% of the RDI
  • Folate: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI

At a modest 300 calories

Oat Flour: Buy It Or Make Your own?

This partly depends on where you live. After a lifetime of living in London UK I’ve relocated to a small and very charming Spanish City of 9.5k inhabitants. Not quite a village, but where is Wholefoods or Planet Organic?

Fortunately oats are readily available and of all the non-wheat flours oats are by far the easiest to mill. Did I not say? We’re in Trujillo. Check us out. We’re on Google maps – just about

Oat Flour Recipe

Take some oats, put them in a coffee grinder, pulse for a few seconds et voila!

More To Oats Than Porridge

Tasty as it is there’s so much more to oats than porridge. Here’s the first of hopefully many non-porridge oat recipes. Great for breakfast, lunch, tea and supper: oat flour pancakes. Here’s the recipe

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Hotcakes

Gluten free oatmeal hotcakes great at any time of the day
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: any
Cuisine: Worldwide
Keyword: gluten-free, grains, oats, pancakes, vegan option

Equipment

  • any heavy based pan or skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour oat flour can be made really easily by milling oats in a coffe or spice grinder for a few seconds
  • 1 small pot yoghurt or keffir dairy or vegan, eg soy or coconut
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar of stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • milk or water dairy or vegan

Instructions

  • mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl
  • incorporate in the oat flour and other dry ingredients to obtain a creamy consistency
  • rest for five minutes. Oats soak a lot of fluid and the mixture becomes much stiffer. Adjust the consistency to a thick pouring cream by adding more liquid or flour
  • add spoonfuls of the batter to a medium hot skillet greased with a little oil or butter
  • after a 2-3 minutes when the top is partially cooked flip them over and cook for a further minute or so
  • serve them warm or at room temperature with your favourite sweet or savoury sides and toppings

Notes

I love these for Sunday brunch with a couple of poached eggs, griddled oyster mushrooms and my homemade "baked" pinto beans with Korean gochujang

Psycho-Somatic Medicine

Psycho-Somatic Medicine

Mind-Body Medicine

The term psychosomatic, though having a precise scientific meaning, is often associated with negative beliefs such as: disease resulting from neurotic behaviour, or maybe an imagined ailment which exists only in your mind. This could not be further from the truth

The term embraces psycho (mind) and soma (body) and refers to the observation that there is an intimate relationship between mind-body where the condition of one is reflected in the other

(more…)