Failproof Instant Nylon Khaman Dhokla

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Spongy, savory, and with a hint of sweetness, Gujarati nylon khaman dhokla is a light and healthy anytime snack. Get this failproof recipe to make this soft and fluffy khaman in the Instant Pot.

An overhead shot of Nylon Khaman Dhokla served with tea and green chutney
Instant Pot Nylon Khaman Dhokla

What is khaman?

I grew up in a predominantly Gujarati-speaking neighborhood which meant I had easy access to spongy khaman, rava dhokla, Gujarati dal, kadhi, via my friend’s lunch boxes or the neighborhood store.

Amongst all the Gujarati food, khaman was my absolute favorite. If you never had this dish imagine a bright yellow savory cake that is soft and fluffy. When you take a bite of this steamed cake along with green chutney, it just melts away in your mouth.

Traditionally, this dish is made by soaking chana dal in water for a few hours before grinding it to a fine paste. This paste is mixed with yogurt and left overnight to ferment. It is then cooked by steaming and finished by adding a tempering of oil, spices, sugar, and water.

In recent times though most folks follow a shortcut – instead of soaking and grinding chana dal, they use besan or Bengal gram flour. Hence the name of the dish – Instant Khaman.

Don’t mistake this for rava dhokla, they are two very different dishes and you are about to find out how..

What is the difference between khaman and dhokla? 

Both dhokla and khaman (also called nylon dhokla) are two different dishes originating from Gujarat. Most people (including me) use the names interchangeably but khaman and dhokla are not one and the same as I learned from my Gujarati friends. They taught me that these two are very different dishes with different ingredients.

Here are the differences:

  • Ingredients: Dhokla batter is made from a mixture of rice and lentils, whereas khaman is made from a batter of gram flour (besan in Hindi).
  • Color: There is a difference in the color of the two dishes too. While khaman is brighter and deeper yellow, dhokla is whitish in color.
  • Texture: Khaman is soft, spongy and has a melt in the mouth texture, which is why it is known as nylon khaman. Dhokla can be spongy as well but is a tad bit denser than khaman.

Of the two, khaman is more commonly sold in the market and is most often referred to as Dhokla, which, of course, is the wrong name for the dish.

Reasons to love this recipe

  • A healthy snack that comes together in 30 minutes.
  • Perfect for parties – it is a great make ahead snack.
  • With it’s sweet and savory taste and cake-like texture, most adults and kids love it!

How to make khaman dhokla in Instant Pot

An overhead shot of khaman dhokla garnished with cilantro and grated coconut
Instant Pot Nylon Khaman

Those who have tried making nylon khaman will clearly understand what I mean when I say this – making khaman can be tricky. There are several things that can go wrong such as

  1. The khaman does not rise and ends up being dense.
  2. The khaman does not cook through.
  3. The dish has a bitter after taste.

Don’t worry – this recipe has been tested multiple times and I’ll share my tips with you so that you never have a failed dish.

Expert tips

  1. Do not use chickpea flour for this recipe. Gram flour and chickpea flour are not the same. Gram flour is made from split black chickpeas (chana dal) whereas chickpea flour is made from garbanzo beans (or safed chana). To understand the different pulses better, check out this article – Pulses 101. In all fairness, I haven’t tried making this dish with chickpea flour since the original authentic recipe calls for gram flour.
  2. Add Eno fruit salt just before steaming – Always make sure to immediately steam after adding Eno or else your batter will not rise.
  3. Use a newly opened batch of Eno (fruit salt) – The main ingredient that makes the Khaman soft and spongy is fruit salt. Don’t use it if it is too old. Ideally, when you add fruit salt, the batter should become light and airy. This indicates that the fruit salt has done its magic. If that doesn’t happen, use a new batch of fruit salt.
  4. Check for doneness – Insert a toothpick right in the center of the khaman. If it doesn’t come out clean, steam the khaman for an additional 3-4 minutes till it is thoroughly cooked.
  5. If your khaman has a weird after taste, blame it on the gram flour. It is possibly expired. Use a fresh batch of gram flour next time.
  6. Covered vs uncovered –  When I tried to cover the batter with foil while cooking, it rose up and stuck to the foil. So, I recommend making the khaman uncovered or if you want to cook covered use a deeper bowl.
  7. The steam valve kept at venting vs sealing – The steam valve needs to be at venting to replicate the steaming function involved in traditionally making khamans. If you set the valve to sealing, the khaman ends up a tad bit denser.
  8. Add 1/2 cup of water in the tempering – The amount of water may sound excessive but trust me, you need that much water to give the nylon khaman a soft, spongy and melt-in-the-mouth texture. And don’t worry, the khaman will soak up all the water in a few minutes. Just make sure to evenly distribute that tempering and don’t miss the sides!

Step by step instructions

A collage of 9 images showing how to make Nylon Khaman Dhokla in Instant Pot
Instant Pot Nylon Khaman Recipe – step by step

Preparing the batter

  1. Grease a 7-inch springform pan or a steel bowl either using oil or cooking spray.
  2. Add gram flour, semolina, sugar, turmeric powder, citric acid crystals, green chili, ginger, oil, salt and water in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine them into a lump-free batter.

Steaming

  1. Add 2.5 cups of water in the Instant Pot and click on the Saute function and set it to the ‘More’ mode. Once the water comes to a boil, hit warm/cancel.
  2. Add the Eno fruit salt to the batter and mix it in till it gets incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix.
  3. Transfer the batter into the springform pan.
  4. Place the trivet in the steel inner pot along with the springform pan. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and set the valve to the venting position.
  5. Select the ‘Steam’ function and adjust the pressure to high. Set an external timer to 20 minutes. [Note: When the steam valve is in the venting position, the Instant Pot timer will not work]
  6. Once the external timer indicates the time is up, hit the cancel button in the Instant Pot.
  7. Wait for 5 minutes and then open the lid.
  8. Insert a toothpick right in the center of the khaman. If it doesn’t come out clean, steam the khaman for an additional 3-4 minutes till it is thoroughly cooked.
  9. Remove the pan carefully using tongs. If using a springform pan, unhinge the clasp and remove the sides.
  10. If you are not using a springform pan, run over the edges of the pan with a sharp knife and invert the khaman over a plate. Lift the pan off the khaman.
  11. If you prefer the smoother surface to be on top, invert the khaman one more time by keeping a plate on top of the khaman. Carefully hold both plates together and flip the bottom plate to the top.
  12. Remove the plate and cut the khaman into square or diamond shapes.

Tempering process

  1. Add oil to a small pan and set it on medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds and when they start to crackle, add asafoetida, green chilies, sesame seeds, and curry leaves.
  3. When the sesame starts to brown in about 10-15 seconds, take the pan off the heat.
  4. Add water and sugar into the pan and mix well.
  5. Pour this tempering mixture evenly over the khaman using a spoon.
  6. Give the khaman about 5 minutes to soak up all the water and soften up.
  7. Garnish with grated coconut and finely chopped cilantro.
  8. Serve with green chutney.

Prep and storage instructions

This besan dhokla makes for a great party snack. It can be made a few days in advance and it’ll still taste great.

Prep ahead – I have also frozen leftover khaman in the past without any significant impact on the taste. To freeze, place it in an airtight freezer-safe container. You can reheat it in the microwave without thawing.

Reheating instructions – Warm the leftover dhokla in the microwave or steam it for a few minutes before serving.

An overhead shot of 3 pieces of Khaman served with chutney on a black plate
Nylon Khaman

If you are looking for easy and delicious breakfast recipes, here are my top picks,

  1. Lemon vermicelli – This delicious and tangy Semiya Upma (Lemon Vermicelli) is just what you need to start your day. It is filling and comes together in 15 minutes from start to finish.
  2. Upma – a semolina based breakfast dish that takes less than 30 minutes.
  3. Idli – You’ll love this post if you have been struggling to get soft and spongy idlis. Learn all my tips and tricks to get perfect fermented batter even in winters!
  4. Buttermilk dosa – Buttermilk dosa – Delicious and soft, this dosa is perfect for breakfast, snack, and even lunch. Learn how to make it in a few easy steps.
  5. Instant Rava idli – Here is a quick recipe to enjoy those lovely soft fluffy instant rava idlis whenever the mood strikes. Serve with coconut or peanut chutney for a delicious and healthy meal.


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
An overhead shot of Nylon Khaman Dhokla served with tea and green chutney

Instant Pot Khaman Dhokla Recipe

5 from 6 votes
Spongy, savory and with a hint of sweetness, Gujarati khaman dhokla is a light and healthy anytime snack. Get this failproof recipe to make it in the Instant Pot.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Diet : Vegan
Course : Breakfast
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cups Bengal gram flour, Besan
  • 1.5 tablespoons fine semolina, rawa
  • 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon citric acid crystals, nimbu ke phool
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon oil, avocado or peanut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water, for the batter
  • 1.5 teaspoons fruit salt or Eno
  • 2.5 cups water, for steaming

For the tempering

For garnishing

  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated coconut, optional

Instructions
 

Preparing the batter

  • Grease a 7-inch springform pan or a steel bowl either using oil or cooking spray.
  • Add gram flour, semolina, sugar, turmeric powder, citric acid crystals, green chili, ginger, oil, salt and water in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine them into a lump-free batter. 

Steaming

  • Add 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot and click on the Saute function and set it to the ‘More’ mode. Once the water comes to a boil, hit warm/cancel.
  • Add the Eno fruit salt to the batter and mix it in till it gets incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix.
  • Transfer the batter into the springform pan.
  • Place the trivet in the steel inner pot along with the springform pan. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and set the valve to the venting position.
  • Select the ‘Steam’ function and adjust the pressure to high. Set an external timer to 20 minutes. [Note: When the steam valve is in the venting position, the Instant Pot timer will not work]
  • Once the external timer indicates the time is up, hit the cancel button in the Instant Pot.
  • Wait for 5 minutes and then open the lid.
  • Insert a toothpick right in the center of the khaman. If it doesn't come out clean, steam the khaman for an additional 3-4 minutes till it is thoroughly cooked.
  • Remove the pan carefully using tongs. If using a springform pan, unhinge the clasp and remove the sides.
  • If you are not using a springform pan, run over the edges of the pan with a sharp knife and invert the khaman over a plate. Lift the pan off the khaman.
  • If you prefer the smoother surface to be on top, invert the khaman one more time by keeping a plate on top of the khaman. Carefully hold both plates together and flip the bottom plate to the top.
  • Remove the plate and cut the khaman into diamond or square shapes.

Tempering process

  • Add oil to a small pan and set it on medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds and when they start to crackle, add asafoetida, green chilies, sesame seeds, and curry leaves.
  • When the sesame starts to brown in about 10-15 seconds, take the pan off the heat.
  • Add water and sugar into the pan and mix well.
  • Pour this tempering mixture evenly over the khaman using a spoon.
  • Give the khaman about 5 minutes to soak up all the water and soften up.
  • Garnish with grated coconut and finely chopped cilantro.
  • Serve warm with green chutney.

Notes

  1. I use a springform pan because it makes removing the khaman from the pan a breeze. 
  2. Variation – if you do not have Eno fruit salt, replace it with 1/2 teaspoon citric acid + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. I do not like the taste of baking soda in this dish, so I always use Eno. 
Tips – 
  1. Do not use chickpea flour for this recipe. Gram flour and chickpea flour are not the same. Gram flour is made from split black chickpeas (chana dal) whereas chickpea flour is made from garbanzo beans (or safed chana). To understand the different pulses better, check out this article – Pulses 101. In all fairness, I haven’t tried making this dish with chickpea flour since the original authentic recipe calls for gram flour. 
  2. Add Eno fruit salt just before steaming – Always make sure to immediately steam after adding Eno or else your batter will not rise. 
  3. Use a newly opened batch of Eno (fruit salt) – The main ingredient that makes the Khaman soft and spongy is fruit salt. Don’t use it if it is too old. Ideally, when you add fruit salt, the batter should become light and airy. This indicates that the fruit salt has done its magic. If that doesn’t happen, use a new batch of fruit salt.   
  4. Check for doneness – Insert a toothpick right in the center of the khaman. If it doesn’t come out clean, steam the khaman for an additional 3-4 minutes till it is thoroughly cooked.
  5. If your khaman has a weird after taste, blame it on the gram flour. It is possibly expired. Use a fresh batch of gram flour next time. 
  6. Covered vs uncovered –  When I tried to cover the batter with foil while cooking, it rose up and stuck to the foil. So, I recommend making the khaman uncovered or if you want to cook covered use a deeper bowl.
  7. The steam valve kept at venting vs sealing – The steam valve needs to be at venting to replicate the steaming function involved in traditionally making khamans. If you set the valve to sealing, the khaman ends up a tad bit denser. 
  8. Add 1/2 cup of water in the tempering – The amount of water may sound excessive but trust me, you need that much water to give the nylon khaman a soft, spongy and melt-in-the-mouth texture. And don’t worry, the khaman will soak up all the water in a few minutes. Just make sure to evenly distribute that tempering and don’t miss the sides!

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 190kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 7gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 511mgPotassium: 261mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 101IUVitamin C: 27mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Did you make this recipe?Take a photo and tag @simmertoslimmer on Instagram for a shoutout!
Keyword : Gujarati, Instant, Nylon, spongy

This post was originally written on Jan 7, 2020, and has been republished with additional information on Oct 11, 2021.

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9 Comments

  1. I admire your ability to share the recipes with others however, dhokla is a white one made with rava and yoghurt while khaman is the yellow one made with soaked and blended Chana dals fermented overnight with yogurt.

    Authentic Gujaratis do not use besan or gram flour to make this dish. It’s just a short cut method but doesn’t provide the same flavor of khaman. I would be happy to share recipe if you want.

    1. Hi Sweta – Thanks for stopping by! I have mentioned the difference between khaman and dhokla in my recipe notes. A lot of folks often search it by the term khaman dhokla and that’s why I have called the recipe that so that people can find it. I understand that this is an Instant khaman recipe but I would love to get the authentic recipe from you. Please leave it in the comment below or you can email me at anu@simmertoslimmer.com. Thank you so much!

  2. Hi,
    You have mentioned that it is Gluten Free but have added Rawa in the recipe … can this be made without rawa?

  3. Hi Anushree,

    Thank you for all your posts. I have a question for IP. I like to use pot in a pot. I have 8 qt. so it’s too big. Somehow the Daal or anything does not come out right or takes longer than it should. Is it because I use pot in inner pot?
    Also for Khaman, did you use the Air fry pot or some other pot? Sorry I cannot figure out from pictures.

    Thank you🙏

    1. Abha – Yes, it is because of pot-in-pot. Usually, I put dal in the inner pot and then keep rice in a pot over a trivet. Works great. I am using a springform pan for the khaman. The link is in the post. Hope this helps.

    2. Abba I have the same problem too. I have 8lt IP and when I make rice and daal together, stacked pots inside IP inner pot, it takes too long. Actual cooking time ia around 20 min, but takea 30min to cool.Even for just daal, it takes that long. As I stack rice at the bottom and daal on top, rice is very stodgy sometimes. So far not impressed by IP at all. The name itself is misleading by miles and makes me feel cheated although I’m not expecting anything instant, I just want it to take same time as it does in conventional stovetop pressure cooker.

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