Sooji Dhokla

February 7, 2010

One of my good friends is from a Gujarati family, and though she has spent her life in Kuwait, Bombay and the US, she is very well versed with Gujarati culture, language and cuisine. She always used to tell me about the amazing Gujarati food that her Mom used to make in Kuwait while she was growing up. Then, last summer, when her mother was visiting Chicago, I took this opportunity to learn some recipes from her that I have always loved in Gujarati food.

Pallavi Aunty was very kind and so lovingly taught me how to make Patra and Sooji Dhokla. Patra recipe is for another day, but today I am going to tell you how to make the best sooji dhokla in the world.

Sooji Dhokla with Dhaniya Chutney

Sooji Dhokla with Dhaniya Chutney

Making dhokla, is somewhat like baking, in the sense that you are not able to taste and check and tweak it along the away. So once the batter is steaming, the fate of the dhokla has already been decided. Hence it is important that the proportions be exactly maintained or the final product might not turn out to be exactly as you had hoped.


1 cup Sooji
2 cups Dahi/Curd/Yoghurt (this should be somewhat sour)
2 tbsps Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Besan/Chickpea flour
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/4 (juice of) Lemon
(The sugar and the lemon help in fluffing the dhokla)
1 heaped tsp Eno (I found it at the Indian store)

After this point, the ingredients are to taste and are not precise measurements. Feel free to increase or decrease quantities.

2 tsps Fresh grated Ginger
2 tsps Minced green chillies (I remove the seeds)

For tadka/tempering:

1 tsp Rayi/Mustard seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
1 tsp Til/Sesame seeds
7 – 10 Curry leaves (washed and dried)

For garnishing:

2 tbsps Dhaniya/Cilantro (washed, dried and chopped)


Soak sooji and dahi for 2 – 3 hours. I sometimes soak it overnight in the refrigerator, but 1 hour is the absolute minimum.

Mix oil, salt, besan, sugar, lemon juice, grated ginger and minced green chillies into the sooji batter and mix well.

Boil water in a broad vessel.

Grease a steel thali (or a cake pan) that will fit inside the vessel and set it on a stand in the vessel. This is our apparatus for steaming the dhokla.

At this point, you need to work rather swiftly. Put the eno powder in the batter and mix with hand. It will start bubbling and we want to capture this effervescence. Pour the batter into the thali and cover the vessel. I like to wrap the cover with cloth so that the steam will not fall back into the dhokla as water droplets. I also keep a weight on top of some kind to create a better steamer. That is optional though and if your cover is heavy enough, you may not even need it.

Steam it on high for 15 minutes. Do not check in the middle as that will make the steam escape.

When the dhokla is about to be done, you can prepare your tempering. Heat some oil and put the rayi, jeera, til and curry leaves in it till they pop and start to smell fragrant.

Once the dhokla is done, spread the tempering on the thali and put some fresh chopped cilantro leaves on top.

Serve with green chutney made with dhaniya, ginger and green chillies.


13 Responses to “Sooji Dhokla”

  1. Anjana said

    Miam Miam! had tried a version of this without the soaking part and I know what was missing:)
    I like the “fate” comparison with Baking. What is Patra? Never heard before!

    • The Intrepid Cook said

      Patra is a Gujarati snack. Arbi (colocasia) leaves are liberally smeared with spiced besan batter, wrapped and steamed. Then they are cut in slices and tempered.

  2. Anjana said

    I made these last night.. Dil kush ho gya:)

  3. Sonal said

    Can i use coarse semolina instead of sooji? awaiting patra recipe.

  4. Neha said

    yay! love your blog idea 😉 sent the pics to my mom, she’ll be super happy with the publicity fame =)

  5. Bhumika said

    Loved this recipe……I will try this one out this weekend. And I am eagerly waiting for you to post the Tiramisu recipe…..:)

    • The Intrepid Cook said

      B, thank you! I am going to wait to hear how your sooji dhokla turns out. Tiramisu recipe, I would love to post, but I am not too happy with the pics that I have.. it doesn’t look as tasty in the pictures :P.. but perhaps that is okay, as I will have testimonials such as yours to vouch for it and say that it is really good 🙂

  6. Priyanka said

    Nice Recipe :)Love the idea of a cloth so that the water doesnot fall back.

    Adding a bit of “hing” either in the batter or the tadka will definitely enhance the taste.

    • The Intrepid Cook said

      My MIL is a big fan of hing. When she was here, we made it with hing in the tadka. It did turn out quite good. 🙂

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