Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steamed Chickpea Cake (Khaman Dhokla)

Between travel, taxes and full-time work, April has been a crazy month.  Of course, the April chapter of my dumpling cookbook has some of the most intriguing and complicated recipes too.  I decided to start with this one because it didn't seem as complicated.  The recipes from this month might just have to stretch into May, when I'll have more time for cooking adventures.

This yummy chickpea cake (think spicy - not sweet) has the consistency of cornbread with the satisfying heartiness of beans.  The batter is made of soaked & pureed chickpeas, water, yogurt, semolina, dried chiles, ginger, turmeric, salt and a touch of lemon.  It needs to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours to soften and ferment a little.  Lastly, I added a mix of oil and baking soda just before pouring it into the cake pan to steam.

After steaming for fifteen minutes, the cake is then topped with a spiced oil (mustard seeds and sesame seeds heated in oil until browned), chopped cilantro and flaked coconut.  The finished cake could be a nice anytime snack; we made it dinner.  The outer edges were breadlike but the interior was still undercooked, so I think I'd steam it longer next time.

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