Proso Millet Dhokla

Mothers are notorious for passing on recipes to their children in what often feels like an alien language, with ingredient measures that read “add a little bit of this and then a little bit of that.” Shreya remembers her mother being no different when asked for her recipe to recreate a family favourite: an incredibly spongy and delicious dhokla. The dhokla is a Gujarati staple, usually made by steaming a fermented batter of gram flour, semolina, and spices. In the past, however, dhoklas were often made with a variety of lentils, grains — including millets — and even vegetables like spinach and green peas. Over time, hand-me-down recipes were modified, making way for each household to create a personalised version of this essential dish.
Proso Millet 1/2 Cup
Rice 1/2 Cup
Bengal gram or chana dal (skinned and split) 1/4 Cup
Black gram or urad dal (skinned and split) 1/2 Cup
Green gram or mung dal (skinned and split) 1/4 Cup
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 Tablespoon
Ginger, Garlic, and Green Chilli Paste 2 Tablespoon
Turmeric Powder 1/2 Teaspoon
Asafoetida 1/4 Teaspoon
Cooking Oil 1/2 Tablespoon
Fruit Salt (like Eno) 1/2 Tablespoon
Salt To Taste
Cooking Oil 2 Tablespoons
Mustard Seeds 1 Tablespoon
Curry Leaves 7 to 8 Leaves
Green Chilli (split lengthwise) 1 chilli
Asafoetida A pinch
Coriander Leaves A handful
Sugar 5 to 7 Tablespoons
Water 1/4 Cup
Grated Coconut 2 Tablespoons

A cake or cooker tin, a steaming container (larger than the cake tin) with a lid, a steel stand to place the cake tin in the container (to prevent water from seeping in), a mixing bowl, a spatula, a knife, a mortar or any utensil filled with water, a kadhai or pan. 


Place the proso millet, rice, Bengal gram, black gram, green gram, and fenugreek seeds in a mixing bowl.



Wash the mixture thoroughly two to three times, then soak for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.


Sieve out the water used for soaking, then grind the mixture into a thick batter.



Place the batter in an air-tight container and let it ferment in a warm place. The fermentation process could take anywhere between 6 to 8 hours or require setting it aside overnight.


Once the batter is fermented, add in the ginger, garlic, and green chilli paste, turmeric, and oil, and mix everything well.


Add fruit salt to the batter, then mix it in very gently. The addition of the fruit salt results in dhoklas with a more airy texture.


Add water to the steaming container, place it on the burner, and turn the flame to medium high. Let the water come to a boil.


Meanwhile, grease the cake tin with oil, then pour the batter into the greased tin.


Place the steel stand carefully into the steaming container, then lower the cake tin onto the stand.



Cover the container with a lid, then place a heavy weight like a mortar, or a utensil filled with water on top of the lid. This will prevent air from escaping the container during the steaming process. Then, steam the dhokla batter for 15 to 20 minutes.



Reduce the flame and remove the mortar and lid off the container. Gently insert the sharp edge of a knife or a toothpick into the cake tin to check if the batter is still sticky. If the knife or toothpick comes out clean, the dhoklas are ready. If not, replace the lid and steam for a few more minutes, then check again.


Once done, turn off the stove and let the dhokla rest while you prepare the tempering.


Place a kadhai on the stove and turn the flame on to medium high.


Add oil to the kadhai and let it heat up.


Add the mustard seeds, green chilli, and curry leaves to the hot oil and let them begin to sputter.


Add water to the kadhai, and let the mixture come to a boil. Pour in the sugar, and stir until the sugar melts.



Once the sugar mixture cools, pour it onto the steamed dhokla. Then, cut the dhokla into medium squares with a knife.



Sprinkle coriander leaves and grated coconut over the dhokla pieces.


Enjoy the dhoklas with coriander chutney, idli podi, or ketchup. During the summer, try them with aamras, a famous Gujarati pairing.


  1. It is important to let the batter ferment in a warm location. If needed, you can also place it inside an oven or microwave to help fermentation.
  2. Make sure the water in the steaming container/idli steamer is boiling before you place the cake tin in it. 
  3. Ensure that the steaming takes place in an air-tight environment. If you cannot use a cooker or idli steamer, place a heavy weight on your steaming container to ensure even steaming. 


  1. Grind spinach, cumin seeds, green chilli, and ginger in a mixer, adding water if needed to make it into a smooth puree. Add this to the batter before steaming to create a spinach dhokla.
  2. If you do not have enough time for the fermentation process, follow this method to make the batter:
    • Combine a cup of proso millet flour, a cup of gram flour, a cup of yoghurt and a little salt in a large mixing bowl.
    • Add water, a little at a time, to make a thick batter (approximately 1 1/2 cups).
    • Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes, then gently stir in a tablespoon of fruit salt.
    • Pour the dhokla batter into the greased cake tin, then follow the rest of the recipe, step 9 onwards.
  3. For a savory version, skip the addition of water and sugar while tempering.

Shreya Baid Bothra was a Cooking Lab volunteer during Phase 1 of The Millet Revival Project, contributing several delicious recipes to our recipe bank.


Images by Ankita Jain.

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