Spicy millet dhokla


Dhokla is an Indian bread, related to idli on that continent, or tamales in the Americas. My 9 Grains take on the classic uses millet flour sweetened with honey and spiced with Thai chilies, black pepper and lemon zest. It produces a tender, slightly sweet but spicy cake-bread in about 30 minutes. Dhokla is an excellent complement to chile con carne or BBQ, and a nutritious snack by itself.


Note: The ingredient quantities listed will produce the correct amount of batter for a 6 inch circular by 2 inch tall cake pan. To make a 4 inch X 2 inch version, cut the recipe quantities in half. To make a 9 inch X 2 inch version, double them.

Yield:  one 6-inch diameter bread

Time to make: 30 minutes, including 10 minutes active and 20 minutes steaming.

Tools needed: Vegetable steamer with center post removed. Metal, 6-inch circular cake pan.Saucepan large enough to hold both steamer and cake pan.  Large bowl. Medium bowl. Kitchen shears. Pepper grinder or mortar and pestle. Measuring cups and spoons and/or kitchen scale.  Whisk. 


2/3 cup (95 grams) millet flour
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) Psyllium husk powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
1/2 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1 small (2 inch) fresh Thai chili, chopped fine (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons (10 Ml) corn oil, plus more to grease cake pan
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 ml) virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup (72 ml) whole milk plain yoghurt
3 Tablespoons cool (70 F) water

Pro tip: Use kitchen shears to snip small pieces from the Thai chili while holding it over the bowl. This prevents shreds and seeds from flying all over your kitchen counter, which is what chopping with even the sharpest knife will do. 


1)    Remove the center post from a vegetable steamer (they usually just screw in) and set aside. Place steamer in the large saucepan and put enough water in the pan to reach just below steamer. Grease the inside of a 6 inch X 2 inch circular cake pan with a generous layer of corn oil.

2)  Place the millet flour, psyllium powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder, chili, lemon zest and black pepper into a large bowl. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Measure yoghurt, oils, water and honey into a medium bowl. (Hint: Measure the oil first, then pour the honey into the oily spoon. Honey will not stick to the spoon.)  Whisk to blend. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk vigorously to blend. Allow to stand 2 minutes, then re-whisk, adding water if necessary to produce a batter that is similar to thick pancake batter.

3) Pour batter into prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Center the cake pan in the vegetable steamer and turn heat to high. When water boils, cover saucepan and reduce heat to medium-high. Steam for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

4)   Remove saucepan from heat. Using oven mitts, carefully remove cake pan from steamer and place on a cooling rack. After five minutes, run a knife around the inside of the rim to loosen bread. When cake pan is cool enough to safely touch, invert onto the cooling rack and wiggle to free the bread. Re-invert bread onto a plate and use a knife - any knife - to cut pieces, making whatever shapes float your boat,


Dhokla is best served fresh and warm but may be wrapped in plastic, refrigerated or frozen.

Dhokla photos