When you think of Chickpeas, a lot of people think of savory recipes. Have you tried making sweets with a chickpea base? If you haven’t, you really ought to. This Chana Doce is a Goan sweet served at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. It is made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom. There are heaps of Indian sweets that use some form of chickpeas as a base, like these Besan Laddoos or even these sweet flatbreads called Puran Poli. These two are just the tip of the ice berg and I hope to try and bring you some more Chickpea deliciousness in the future.
Today, I’m sharing with you a Goan sweet recipe. This Chana Doce is a Goan delicacy and makes an appearance at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. The recipe calls for chana dal, which is hulled and split chickpeas. Everytime we visit Goa, we always bring some back home with us. A good Goan bakery is paradise if you have a sweet tooth. Our typical haul would include this Chana Doce and a Coconut variant, the ever popular Bebinca, Dodol, Baath, Bolinhas and Pinag. I think that about covers it. Our favorite place to buy these treats is a quaint little bakery in Mapusa called Simona’s. They also have outlets in Porvorim and Sinquerim. What’s your go-to place to buy your favourite Goan treats?
It’s hard for us to get back to Goa as often as we did when we were in Mumbai, so I’ve decided to try and make these delicacies at home. And after some experimenting, I’ve finally got a recipe for Chana Doce that I’m happy with. This is a softer version of the sweet and just melts in your mouth. The commercially available one is a little harder and has a slightly longer shelf life, but its slightly more difficult to make. We actually quite like this softer version and hope you do too.
Today’s post is about one such recipe. Its a cake recipe, but not your regular, run of the mill cake. This is a savory one. And it is made with chickpea flour. It is called Khaman Dhokla and happens to be one of my favorite street foods. Even though I enjoy this recipe, I didn’t know how to make this one. I had to do some reading before I could find a recipe I was happy with. And when I saw this instant recipe, I knew I had found the one. Traditionally, this cake is steamed, but this is a microwave recipe.
This beautiful snack comes together in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. It is absolutely delicious. The cake itself is light and super fluffy. The flavors are well balanced and in all, very moreish. If you’ve had dhokla before, you probably love it as much as I do. If you haven’t, you really should give it a try. It is a unique treat and you won’t be disappointed. This treat is served with some Green Mint Chutney and some Tamarind & Date Chutney. You can buy little bottles of the chutneys at any Indian store or click on the links to find the recipes, if you’d like to make some at home. They are very easy to make and taste so much better. Either way, these chutneys are an important part of the dish and not just an accompaniment. Serving it without the chutneys doesn’t do the the dhokla justice.
Instant (Microwave) Khaman Dhokla
Recipe from: Ruchi’s Kitchen
1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1 1/2 tbsp semolina
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tbsp sugar
Salt, to taste
1 tsp. crushed ginger and green chillies
1 1/2 tsp Eno (fruit salts – available at any Indian store)
1/2 tsp Citric acid
2 1/2 tbsp Oil
3/4 – 1 cup water (depending on how much is needed to achieve pouring consistency)
For tempering –
1 tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp water
2-3 green / red chillies, sliced
1 tbsp oil
In a large mixing bowl, mix the besan, semolina, asafortida, sugar and salt.
In a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger and green chilly to a fine paste. (You can leave the chillies out or deseed the chilly if you don’t want too much heat from the chilly.)
Add the chilly and ginger paste to the mixing bowl. Add the oil and citric acid.
Add the water and mix everything till well blended.
Whisk the batter well to incorporate air into it. It will make a light and fluffy dhokla.
Add the eno (fruit salts) and whisk the batter till it is well incorporated. The batter will get light and frothy. The batter should be of thick dropping / pouring consistency.
Pour the batter in a greased microwave bowl. (I used an 8″ bowl)
Cook for 5-6 minutes. It may take longer depending on the microwave.
Take it out and insert a toothpick to check if it is done, just like you would a regular cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is cooked and if it doesn’t microwave for another 30 seconds.
Allow it to cool.
Traditionally, it is cut into squares. But I tried cutting it into wedges this time and it looks much prettier this way.
Now prepare the tempering.
For the tempering –
In a pan, heat the oil.
Lower the flame and add the mustard seeds and green / red chillies and let it sputter.
Add the curry leaves and let it fry up on low heat till crisp.
When they are crisp, add the sugar and water. Mix well.
Pour the hot tempering over the dhokla.
Serve with the Green Mint Chutney and Tamarind & Date Chutney.
Black Chana Fugad / Black Chana Sukkhe
Soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight (or about 8 hours). Make sure the water is about 2 inches over the chickpeas and use a large bowl because the chickpeas will expand in size.
Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas fresh water and drain again.
Place the chickpeas in the pressure cooker with the water level about 1 inch over the chickpeas. Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 whole dried red chillies (preferable Kashmiri chillies) and pressure cook till tender.
**Every pressure cooker is different so I can’t give you an accurate amount of time it will need to cook. I use a WMF pressure cooker and when the pressure builds to the gentle cooking pressure point, I turn it down to a simmer and leave it to cook for about 4 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, just cook the chickpeas in ample amount of salted water till tender. Use your manufacturers instructions to gauge how long to pressure cook the chickpeas.
Release the pressure and after the pressure has completely died down, carefully open the cooker.
Drain the chickpeas and reserve about a cup of the stock.
To make the fugad –
Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.
Now add the curry leaves and crushed garlic cloves. (You just want the cloves bruised and popped open, you do not want to mince it or make a paste.)
Now add the onion and saute till soft and translucent.
Add the chilly, coriander, cumin, black pepper and turmeric powders and stir well.
Now add the chopped tomato and stir well. Cook this till the tomato has softened a little.
Add the drained chickpeas and stir well.
Add the tamarind paste gradually and to taste. (You may or may not need all of it, depending on the tartness of the tomato you have used.)
Add a couple of tablespoons of the stock and let it all cook down for a minute or so.
Check for salt and add more, if needed.
Add the grated coconut and stir well. If you want more gravy you could add a little more stock.
We usually have this dish on the dry side, so we let the stock cook down completely.
Once the coconut has cooked for a couple of minutes, take off the heat and serve hot.
This dish goes beautifully with chapatis or rotis.