Savory chickpea steamed cake (Dhokla)

Savory chickpea steamed cake (Dhokla)

Savory chickpea steamed cake (Dhokla) 

Indian Subcontinent - Gujarat 

A unique savory & steamed cake (DHOKLA) and spice flavored crepes (CHILLA) are popular snack/breakfast dishes from the Western Indian State of Gujerat.  Both dishes use chickpea flour to create an amazing texture and flavor that is also gluten free and can easily be dairy free too! Both these dishes also make perfect vegetarian snack/appetizers for cocktails. The crepes can be cooked soft or crispy. Soft crepes make a great base for a quick wrap (with fillings of your choice), while crisp crepes make great dipping bits with your favorite dips. Chickpeas are a very versatile legume packed with fiber and good proteins. They can be used whole (Channa), split (dal), or as a flour (Besan). Boiled and drained chickpeas are a delicious addition to salads or vegetables, split chickpeas make a delicious base for a soup or even a vegetarian chilli, while the chickpea flour can be used as a thickening agent or batter for vegetable fritters, crepes or pancakes.

Chickpea Steamed Cake (Dhokla)


  • Chickpea Flour (Besan) 1 cup
  • Suji/Rava/Semolina 2 tbsp
  • Grated Carrots ¼ cup (optional)
  • Grated Cabbage ¼ cup (optional)
  • Grated Zucchini ¼ cup (Optional -squeeze all the water out from the Zucchini after grating)
  • Oil 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice 1 tbsp
  • Sugar ½ tbsp
  • Salt as required
  • Turmeric Powder ¼ tsp
  • Coriander Powder 1 tsp
  • Ground Pepper ½ tsp
  • Water 1 cup
  • Baking powder ½ tbsp
  • Baking soda ¼ tsp

For tempering:

  • Oil 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice 1 tbsp
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Salt as per taste
  • Green chilies 6-7 (optional) Ingredients
  • Fresh Curry Leaves 1 sprig (optional)
  • Cilantro 1 tbsp (garnish)
  • Fresh Grated Coconut 1 tbsp (garnish/optional)
  • Water ½ cup


  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • Deep pot with steamer basket and lid
  • 8” round metallic cake pan
  • Wire whisk
  • Small pan for preparing tempering
  • Pastry brush
  • Clean kitchen towels 
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Spatulas/spoons for cooking
  • Parchment paper


  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, except baking powder and baking soda. 
  2. Make a smooth semi thick batter by adding in lemon juice and water a little at a time.
  3. Add in the prepped vegetables (you can use one type at a time or a combination) and mix well incorporating the veggies into the batter.
  4. Set the batter aside for about 20 mins to rest.
  5. While the batter is resting, prepare steaming station.
  6. For steaming the cake, you will need a wide pot with a steamer basket that fits snug and has a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the cake pan fits into the steamer basket with room all around to facilitate steaming.
  7. Grease an 8” cake tin thoroughly with oil, line the bottom with parchment paper and oil the parchment paper.
  8. Fill the pot with about 3” of water, place the steamer basket on top, cover the steamer basket and bring the water to a simmer/slow boil.
  9. After 15 - 20 mins of resting the batter, add the baking soda and baking powder to the batter, give it a good stir to incorporate the baking soda and baking powder, do not mix/stir for too long or the air will escape.
  10. Pour this batter into the greased cake pan. Leave about ½ inch space from the top edge of the baking pan, enough place for the cake to rise. Place the filled tin into the steamer basket and cover with lid.
  11. Let the cake steam for 18-20 mins. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  12.  Once done take the cake out of the steamer and set it to cool. Use a blunt knife and run along the edges of the pan to loosen the sides.
  13. Tempering the cake - in a small saucepan heat the oil, once hot add in the mustard seeds, let them crackle.  Add the green chilies (optional) & curry leaves, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Add water and let the mixture come to a boil.
  14. Un mold the steamed cake from the tin, place it on a plate, pour the tempering liquid all over the cake. Garnish with fresh cilantro and grated coconut. Cut the cake into diamond or square shaped pieces and serve.

Note: Chickpea flour (Besan) is easily available at Indian stores or on Amazon. Curry Leaves are generally available in packets of 2-3 sprigs at any Indian store.