Dhokla with apple and beetroot

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Dhokla is a steamed gram flour cake found commonly in the Indian state of Gujarat. In this recipe, Rohit Ghai serves the simple cake with slices of apple and baby beetroots, which are tempered in a spiced oil. Served with two different chutneys and plenty of garnishes, it's an explosion of colour that transforms the steamed cake into something magnificent.

First published in 2019






tempering mix

tomato chutney

mint chutney

ghati masala

to serve


  • Large steamer
  • Blender


Make the ghati masala by placing the oil in a small pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic cloves, cook for 1 minute then transfer to a food processor or blender. Toast the sesame seeds for 30 seconds in the same pan, then transfer to the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Blitz to a coarse powder, then taste for seasoning. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 15 days
The tomato chutney can be kept in the fridge for a few days and made in advance, too. Place the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chana dal and fry until golden brown, then set aside on a plate. In the same pan, add the chillies and fry until crisp and beginning to colour, then add the garlic cloves and lower the heat
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp of chana dal
  • 5 whole dried kashmiri chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
Cook for another 3–5 minutes until the garlic begins to colour, then add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the turmeric. Sauté until the tomatoes break down (about 5–10 minutes), then transfer the contents of the pan along with the reserved chana dal into a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste for seasoning – you may need to add a little water if it’s too thick. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve
Prepare the beetroot by heating the oil in a pan. Add all the seeds – once they begin to crackle and sputter, add the salt and sugar and remove from the heat. Carefully add the vinegar, briefly stir, then pour over the beetroot halves. Set aside to cool
Peel and core the Granny Smith apples. Cut into wedges, then submerge in the apple juice. Stir in the beetroot powder and set aside
To make the mint chutney, combine the mint, coriander, ginger and green chilli and blitz to a smooth paste (add a teaspoon of water if required). Beat the yoghurt with the lemon juice, cumin, chaat masala and a pinch of salt, then combine with the herb mixture. Stir until completely smooth, check the seasoning and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve
Set up a steamer over a pan of simmering water and use the oil to grease 2 small metal bowls (or thalis) around 5 inches in diameter. Mix together the gram flour, semolina, lemon juice, ginger paste, green chilli, yoghurt and salt. Add the water a little at the time until a smooth, loose batter forms (you may not need all the water). Make sure there are no lumps
Add the eno fruit salt and stir in one direction for 1 minute – you will notice the volume almost double. Immediately pour the batter into the greased bowls to an approximate depth of half an inch, then place the bowls in the steamer and steam, covered, for 10–12 minutes
Insert a knife or toothpick into the dhokla – if it comes out clean they are ready (if not, cook for a few more minutes and check again). Leave the bowls to cool for a few minutes, then upturn the dhokla onto a plate and cut into neat rectangles or squares. Place in a bowl
To finish off the dhokla, prepare the tempering mix. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the seeds begin to crackle, add the curry leaves and green chillies, sautéing for a few seconds
Carefully add the water and the sugar and bring the mixture to the boil. Cook for 1 minute, then pour the mixture over the dhoklas. Ensure each dhokla is well coated in the mixture
  • 80ml of water
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
To serve, divide the dhokla between 4 plates. Arrange the beetroot around them, along with the drained apple wedges. Add little spoonfuls of the mint and tomato chutneys, then finish with the pea shoots, radish slices, coriander leaves and grated coconut. Finally, dust the entire plate generously with the ghati masala

After making his name and winning Michelin stars at some of London's most high-profile Indian restaurants, Rohit Ghai's solo venture Kutir cements his reputation for cooking some of the best Indian food in the UK.

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