I wonder what is the cooking equivalent of two left feet. I assume it is two left palms, but I refuse to disrespect myself with a name that does not exist yet. Possibly the best outcome of this self-awareness about my inability to cook anything properly leaves me with enough time to ogle at the dishes people serve on the internet with panache. Like, 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.
For variant 1, accurately measure half a pack of Dhokla and proportionately decrease the quantity of water and oil. Mix them all up and let it steam in the cooker. I hope you are aware of how a gust of steam escapes from the cooker when you take the lid off. So just wait a bit for things to condense. Surprise! Surprise! A tray of dhokla for you, 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.
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 decrease the quantity of water and oil required. Perhaps, your eyes are a better judge than a measuring cup? 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. Perhaps, I should have made some sambar as accompaniment. Next time!
I must say, graduating from custard to besan idli does lend a sense of confidence. And so, 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, 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.