I was going to do a post complaining about the incessant rain we’ve been having and bemoan that there have barely been enough sunny days in a row to finally get out and mow without getting stuck in the mud.
I was going to complain about the winds that scattered twigs, sticks and branches all over the yard which had to be picked up before I could mow. I was especially going to complain about the wind knocking out the power for 12 long hours.
I was going to complain some more about another storm that came through last night, this time with hail mixed in.
The fact that the forecast of 100% chance of rain today didn’t materialize didn’t make the soggy ground any more pleasant to work in. Since I was already in “complain mode” it was just an excuse to heap more complaint on the killjoy weather forecasters.
These spicy, steamed corn cakes, however, have temporarily distracted me from my lamentations.
I’ve been wanting to try making steamed cornbread for awhile now. It took two tries to get it right. The result of the first attempt was dense and dry but the flavor was good, thus warranting another go at it.
I decided to use idli molds for steaming the corn cakes, and that decision brought to mind Dhokla, one of my favorite Indian snacks. I have used the idli molds for making dhokla.
Khaman Dhokla is a light, moist and spongy steamed cake made of chickpea flour and semolina. It is slightly sweet and at the same time a bit tart with the flavors of green chilis, cilantro, asafetida and mustard seeds. I decided to incorporate those flavors into my steamed corn cakes.
Ingredients I used were:
- self-rising yellow cornmeal
- pinch of ENO fruit salt*
- pinch of baking powder
- cilantro/jalapeño flavor concentrate*
- black mustard seeds
- chopped curry leaves
- ginger paste
- shredded coconut
- sweet pickled jalapeños
- asafetida (asafoetida)
- avocado oil
- lemon juice
*ENO, as far as I can tell, is essentially sodium bicarbonate and is used as a leavening agent and as medicine for indigestion. I have no idea why it is called fruit salt.
*Cilantro/jalapeño flavor concentrate was made by blending cilantro and jalapeños with white balsamic vinegar then straining it. This was some I had frozen.
I first mixed together the dry ingredients: self-rising yellow cornmeal, turmeric, ENO and baking powder.
I briefly fried the mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, ginger and coconut in avocado oil before adding them along with the sweet pickled jalapeños to the dry ingredients. I rinsed the skillet with water, lemon juice and cilantro/jalapeño concentrate and mixed the batter with it.
I poured the batter into the greased idli molds and let it steam under a lid for about 18 minutes.
They didn’t look done but they were.
The steamed corn cakes tasted phenomenal hot out of the steamer. They were everything I had hoped for, soft, moist and flavorful, very much reminiscent of dhokla.