Posted in Humor, recipe

How to make the perfect Dhokla

I wonder what is the cooking equivalent of the phrase ‘Two Left Feet’. I assume it is ‘Two Left Palms’, but I refuse to disrespect myself with a name that may not be in existence yet. So I give myself the benefit of doubt.

I lack the ability to cook well. Possibly the best outcome of this self-awareness is that it leaves me with enough time to ogle at dishes that people serve on the internet with panache. God! Have you seen how something as basic as Jeera rice is garnished by some folks? The pain and effort that it would have taken is the sum total of everything I undergo to boil a pot of rice properly, and that is most definitely an understatement.

So as a mark of encouragement for poor cooks like me, I present to you, the perfect way(s) to make Dhokla. All you need is a pack of Dhokla mix, some oil, water and a pressure cooker to start with. You thought I would start at besan flour, didn’t you? 😉

One way to utilise this packet effectively is to divide it into two. That way, you can efficiently try two variants in a single packet.

Variant 1

Read the instructions, carefully measure half a packet of Dhokla and proportionately decrease the recommended quantity of water and oil.

Mix it all up, pour it in the Dhokla plate and let it steam in the cooker. It would be good to know that a gust of steam escapes from the cooker when you take the lid off. So just wait a bit for things to cool down.

Surprise! Surprise! A tray of dhokla which can be eaten with a spoon, like your favourite custard!

Season it (I prefer to outsource this step) with the hope of making it more spongy. Your mom will tell you how you have added way too much water and how condensation has helped you with this unique achievement. Pat yourself, push the dhokla down your throat and proceed undaunted.

Variant 2

Take a break for a day or two and then pull out the remaining half of the packet.

Having learnt your lesson, you will now be wiser to further decrease the quantity of water and oil.

Steadily mix and repeat the pressure cooker performance, remembering to remove the cooker’s lid as soon as you turn the stove off.

Season it and treat yourself to some yellow coloured high protein idli. It is highly likely that these idli dhoklas can double up as mini-hammers.

I must say, graduating from custard to besan idli does lend a sense of confidence.

Variant 3

A few days later, you can snip open another packet and pour half of it in a bowl.

At this level of expertise, you can now juggle individual ingredients. So keeping the quantity of water same as before, reduce the oil alone.

Mix well and load the cooker. Maybe wait for a couple of minutes more than earlier, to get that spongy effect?

Around 17 minutes later, turn the stove off.

The intensely inviting smell of gram flour, burning in heat, allures onlookers to the kitchen.

Quickly open the cooker, take out the dhokla and wash it under the sink. Scrub well and clean your soul. Do not look at your mother during this process.

Now that half a packet still remains, arrange for a demo by your mother. Handover the packet and watch silently, as she seems to be doing the same things but the cooker turns out a magically spongy dhokla at the end.

Outsource subsequent dhokla-making activities for the perfectly spongy dhokla experience.


Posted in Opinion

Scathing reviews, lost charm and magic

Are we being responsible in our quest to review the work of somebody on social media?

Have you noticed how common this behaviour has become – Categorically declaring that a composer’s music is no longer as charming as it used to be ? How often do we catch ourselves saying a movie lacks the magic that is so becoming of a director?

Unfortunately, it is such bad news that spreads like wildfire. This mostly ill-informed opinion gets cheered on social media. It has nothing to do with the artist at all, but the friends of the person writing the post. You like a post because your friend has written it, but someone else sees it as an endorsement.

Is ‘writing a bad review’ a fashion statement ? ” Hey, my taste is exclusive and this is below my standards!”  Or is it an attention seeking move ?  “The more I rip apart somebody’s work, the more intellectual I will sound”

So what do you do when you find a sub par review ?

  • Agree with the opinion because the writer is your friend?
  • Feign indifference?
  • Do our own analysis ? And post it? Counter your friend?
  • Analyse the analysis and waste double the time?

I wonder if the person writing the review ever thinks he or she could be the problem.

Maybe you are taking something apart in a quest to analyse it and then describe it in complicated sentences that are framed to appeal to your inflated ego and make up for all the marks you lost in English tests at school? (Phew! That was long!).

Maybe the review you are writing is not a review at all, but an opportunity to smack the crap out of your coworker who landed you in a bad situation at work that day.

Maybe you are writing something about a topic you are not familiar with.

May be we should stop analyzing and criticizing things for the sake of doing so. What is art, if not appreciated for in its entirety?

I suppose the data-driven world is creating analysis paralysis everywhere and it is quite depressing to read these epitomes of over analysis with free access to the internet.

I wish we stop hairsplitting and instead admire the beauty of someone’s creation. Of course, an occasional, hilarious review on a bad piece of work is definitely necessary – but are we being fair in our approach and choices?