1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 1/2 tablespoons semolina
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch hing (asafetida)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon finely chopped green chiles
1 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
12 fresh curry leaves
5 green chiles, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Make the dhokla batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and semolina. Whisk in the sugar, ginger, hing, salt, 2½ tablespoons of oil, citric acid, and chiles. The batter should resemble a slightly fluffy sponge cake batter. If it’s too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it has an airy texture. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set aside at room temperature for 8 hours to ferment. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 11×7-inch cake pan with oil.
  2. Fill a roasting pan that is big enough for the cake pan to fit into with 1 inch of boiling water. Pour the dhokla batter into the greased pan and use a spatula to spread into an even layer. Cover with foil, carefully place in the water bath, and transfer to the oven. Oven-steam the dhokla until it has risen, the texture is light and airy, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the garnish: In a sauté pan, heat the mustard oil over medium heat until it glistens, about 3 minutes. Add the brown and black mustard seeds, and once they begin to pop, after about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to low, add the curry leaves and chiles, and sauté until the chiles are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, turmeric, lemon juice, sugar, and 3 tablespoons water. Remove the pan from the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, then season to taste with salt. Use a knife to separate the dhokla from the edges of the pan. Carefully invert it onto a clean, flat work surface. Cut into 1×2-inch squares and then pour the garnish on top. Sprinkle with cilantro and coconut and serve warm or cold.