For this month’s ‘Indian Food Challenge‘, Valli gave us a fairly easy dish to make. It is a delicious yogurt based gravy that has besan cakes dunked in it. The minute I saw her announcement, I mentally made a note to make it, but slowly time flew right by and then this morning I saw Valli’s email that her ICC post is up. It was only then I realized that I almost forgot about the event.
Thankfully I had all the ingredients on hand and my husband is travelling, so I can have a field day with yogurt based dishes 🙂 (did you see my Shrikand recipe from two days ago).
Besan cakes used in this dish are very similar to an Andhra dish called Besan chikki. My MIL sautes the besan before adding the water and making the cakes and the gravy is tamarind based and not buttermilk based.
I made the dish with store bought reduced fat buttermilk that I had in the fridge and the whole dish curdled and looks awful. But the good thing about this dish, it is super simple to make with every day ingredients — so I didn’t think twice to dump the whole pot in the sink and start all over again.
The second time I used homemade yogurt (that I make with a combination of 1% & 2% milks) and added a teaspoon of besan (chickpea flour) for added assurance. Finally I had a yummy and comforting dish that I ate for my lunch with roti and some white rice. So moral of the story, make sure you use higher fat yogurt or buttermilk or stabilize the lower fat dairy with some kind of a starch (corn starch) or a flour (all-purpose flour, rice flour or chickpea flour).
Make the Dhoklis/ Besan Cakes: In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cakes and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Make sure there are no lumps.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and pour the batter and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the pan. It took about 12~25 minutes for me to cook ½cup of besan. Remove on to a greased plate and let cool. Cut into diamonds or squares and set aside.
Make the Gravy: Heat 2tsp oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chili and garlic. Cook till the seeds start to splutter.
Pour the water in and add the spices and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 3~4 minutes for the flavors to mingle.
Slowly add the buttermilk and dhoklis and cook for 5~7 minutes. Serve immediately. Alternately cook gravy and dhoklis separately and add the dhoklis to the gravy later.