Khaman / Masala Khaman

Khaman / Masala Khaman

Khaman is one of the most popular farsan (snack/appetizer) in Gujarat. No exaggeration, but there would be hardly any gujaratis who would not like to eat khaman. Fresh, warm khaman topped with freshly grated coconut and cilantro and paired with some green chutney is like the ultimate farsan combination (appetizer) served to guests or at weddings, social gatherings or simply on a sunday breakfast. And just like every gujarati, Khaman is my personal favorite farsan to eat.

Now let me first clear that these are vati dal khaman, different from Nylon khaman that can be easily made using instant GITS mixes or other similar brands. While Nylon khaman are pillowy soft textured and sweet in taste, vati dal khaman are also soft but have a firm structure and taste more savory. I think the coarse and firm mesh like structure of vati dal khaman really makes all the difference. And it is this perfect coarse and firm structure that is most difficult to attain (but not impossible!). But I got you covered as I am sharing here my trick to get that perfect vati dal khaman texture.

Vati dal khaman has the firm meshy texture from two things- good fermentation of the batter and adding leavening agent before steaming/baking it. Now the fermentation of batter is the same as for dhokla or handvo or even idli/ dosa batter. Warmer the temperature of the house, faster the batter gets fermented. The second important thing is to add the exact amount and combination of leavening agent right before cooking it which helps the fermented batter to rise properly and get that firm meshy structure in the khaman.

Commonly, eno (a type of fruit salt) is used in gujarati households as a leavening agent for khaman, dhokla, etc. But if you don’t have eno then I have a hack for you. You can use a combination of baking soda, citric acid and oil (exact measurements in the recipe) to replace eno in this recipe. I share fool’s proof measurements of both these leavening agents for the khaman recipe that will get you perfect khaman texture everytime you make them.

Normally regular khaman are always served with a few masala khaman in Gujarat. Now masala khaman looks hot red but they actually taste spicy and sweet both at the same time. These are very easy to make. The only difference is in how you temper regular khaman to make masala ones. I also share recipe for masala khaman here.

Honestly, I learned to make khaman after coming to the USA. I never felt the need to learn it in India since they were so readily available. But I decided to decode the khaman recipe when I came here and started craving for the real gujarati khaman taste. And I didnt perfect it in my first attempt. It took me a couple failed attempts, reading of quite a few khaman recipes, understanding the chemistry behind leavening agents. And so I decided to share this fool’s proof recipe of gujarati vati dal khaman with you all.

I hope this recipe will help someone out there who loves and craves for khaman just as I did before I learned to make it. If you try this recipe then let us know how it goes. Also share with us if you have any different tricks on making khaman since this recipe is not the only way to make it.

Serves 4 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Fermenting/Resting Time : 10-12 hours | Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients for Khaman:

  • 1 cup chana dal (split chickpea or split bengal gram lentil)
  • ¼ cup rice
  • Water, for soaking
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 chilli
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp eno(fruit salt) or 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tbsp oil + 1/2 citric acid

Ingredients for tempering Khaman:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 green chillies – slit in the middle
  • few curry leaves
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar

Ingredients for tempering Masala Khaman:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 green chillies – slit in the middle
  • few curry leaves
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder

Ingredients for garnishing Khaman/Masala Khaman:

  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • Fresh cilantro – finely chopped

Steps for making khaman batter and fermenting:

  1. In a large bowl, soak chana dal and rice in water for 4-5 hours.
  2. After 4-5 hours, drain off the water. Transfer chana dal and rice mixture to a blender. Add ginger, green chillies to this mixture. Blend everything together to get a coarse paste.
  3. Transfer this coarsely blended mixture to a large bowl. To this, add yogurt, turmeric, salt and water. Mix everything properly until you get a smooth consistency batter.
  4. Cover this batter bowl and let it ferment for about 10-12 hours or until the batter is well fermented.
  5. Fermentation duration depends on the temperature where the batter is placed. It takes longer to ferment under cold temperatures, but shorter in warm conditions. So I suggest placing the batter in a warm, dry area of your house for faster fermentation. I usually place it in the oven with the oven lights on to get warm temperature (Oven is switched off!). But you can place it under direct sunlight if you are lucky to get it.

Steps for making khaman:

  1. Once batter is well fermented, add ½ tsp eno (fruit salt) or a combination of ½ tsp baking soda + ½ tbsp oil + ½ citric acid. Mix the batter gently.
  2. Now transfer the batter to a greased pan.
  3. You can either steam the batter in a steamer or bake it in the oven.
  4. For the steaming method, first boil water in a steamer. Now put the batter pan in the steamer and let it steam for 25-30 minutes on medium flame or until khaman is completely cooked.
  5. For baking method, first preheat the oven at 350°F. Now bake the khaman for 25-30 minutes or until khaman is completely cooked.
  6. Cool the khaman completely and cut them into pieces.

Steps for tempering khaman:

  1. In a saucepan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds to oil. Once they start to crackle add asafoetida (hing), green chillies and curry leaves.
  2. Now carefully add water then sugar and salt. Mix everything properly and bring it to a boil.
  3. Now add khaman to the tempering liquid. Toss the khaman gently to make sure they don’t break much.
  4. Garnish the tempered khaman with grated coconut and cilantro. Serve them with green chutney and enjoy!

Steps for tempering masala khaman:

  1. In a saucepan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds to oil. Once they start to crackle, add asafoetida (hing), green chillies and curry leaves.
  2. Now add water, sugar, salt, kashmiri red chilli powder. Mix everything properly and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add khaman to the tempering liquid. Again toss khaman gently to make sure they don’t break much.
  4. Masala khaman is ready. Garnish with grated coconut and cilantro. Serve it with green chutney and enjoy!

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