Surti Khaman is popular street food from the Diamond City of Gujarat. Yes, I am talking about Surat city. The one & only place in Gujarat with a diverse culinary heritage. Not to mention Surat is the food heaven of Gujarat.
I mean, Surat city has a lot to offer when it comes to food. And besan Khaman is one of them. But, the story doesn’t end here. We have Surti Ghari, Surti Sev Khamani, Locho, Nylon Khaman & a lot more.
Pinch me.😛 I am feeling delighted to share the famous street style Khaman recipe. We will begin with the ingredient list. Here we go.
Key Points For Surti Khaman
Sugar is to add a mild sweetness. That is why we will use only one tablespoon. Sugar will react when blended with other ingredients in the slurry. In other words, it will slow down the loss of moisture while steaming. Hence, sugar here is for a significant purpose. Don’t skip.
Salt with sugar, when it reacts with the acid in the water, gives an excellent solvent. All this together accelerates the final process. Therefore, mind the quantity.
Citric acid is naturally available in citrus fruits like lemon. Therefore, it acts as a natural preservative. Moreover, it will add a sour taste to our Surti khaman. It’s an emulsifying agent that prevents fats from separating. For this reason, it is heavily used in ice creams & baking products. Now that you know what it is, let me give you some substitutes.
The citric acid I have used here is निम्बू का सत or टाटरी in Hindi. At the same time, it is લીંબુ ના ફૂલ in Gujarati. To clarify precisely, it’s a white crystalline powder. Unflavoured eno powder, baking soda & lemon juice are excellent substitutes, out of which lemon juice is quite common. Use any of them. Be cautious with the quantity.
Just mind the quantity of oil in this recipe. No more & no less. For Surti Khaman to come out dry, the oil must be minimum. Otherwise, it will become dense. The extra oil might ruin the recipe.
The purpose behind using cornflour is to make our khaman soft & spongy. This ingredient is generally absent in the traditional recipe. It helps create a crumbly & tender dessert-like texture. In short, cornflour is an anti-caking agent & using it here will elevate the taste & texture.
Water makes & breaks this recipe. Too much will destroy the consistency of our khaman batter. But, on the other hand, too little will make a dry batter which will be annoying to eat. Hence, add water to make the batter of pouring consistently like cake.
Instead of using split chana dal, we will use fine gram flour to make our Surti Khaman. However, soaking chana dal overnight, and then grinding it to make the batter is one way to do it. This is the traditional way.
Tadka Or Tempering
Tadka is a show-stopper. Above all, without tempering, an Indian recipe is incomplete. I mean not every recipe but most of them.
On the other hand, we have a variety of tempering styles on hand. For example, Punjabi tadka with a nutty flavour, In the same way, we have sesame seeds tadka for the Surti Khaman. So let’s go through it.
Needless to explain why we are using cooking oil here. Just one thing to say, don’t replace butter with oil. That’s how traditional khaman tadka is made.
Mustard seeds have a strong spicy taste. However, when fried in oil, their flavour becomes less intense. On the other hand, mustards are bitter too. All these qualities make mustard more desirable given any tempering process.
Sesame seeds are the star ingredient. When deep-fried in hot oil, they blow, change colour & become crunchy. Also, sesame seeds taste fantastic. Given these points, we have a series of sesame seeds recipes. For example, white sesame seeds ladoo (सफ़ेद तिल के लाडू) & black sesame seeds ladoo (काले तिल के लाडू). Thus, use them & don’t skip them.
To add a spicy flavour, we will use chopped green chillies. If you are not a fan of spicy flavours, then add pale green long chillies. The one you eat with the vada pav. Yes, they are less intense. But if you like teekhapan just like me, then go with small green chillies. You will enjoy it.
Kadhi Patta, aka curry leaves, are mildly sweet & give a specific aroma. That’s the main reason why we use curry leaves in the tempering process. Rest everything is sorted. Now let’s move on to the next section.
Baking Soda in Surti Khaman
Baking Soda is the elephant🐘 in the room. I will tell you why & how. First, understand what baking soda is. Baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, is an alkaline that reacts with acidic elements in a batter.
Due to this reaction, there’s the formation of CO2 gas. When CO2 gas escapes through the batter, it leads to the rising of our khaman. It’s the same with cakes, muffins & cupcakes.
In simple language, baking soda helps make soft, moist & fluffy khaman or even a cake. Another critical point here is to know when you should use what. Some of you might think – Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda? The answer is a plain NO.
Read below to know why.
What is Baking Soda Doing in Surti Khaman Batter?
The baking soda reacts with acidic elements within the besan batter. Here the sour part is citric acid & more or less salt.
What happens if the soda reacts with citric acid & produces CO2 gas? This gas tries to come out. While doing that, it raises the khaman. This way, we get spongy & raised khaman instead of flat, metallic & soapy ones.
What Happens if We Don’t Add Citric Acid to the Batter?
It won’t react, as simple as that. On top of it, your khaman will be flat without taste. All in all, it will be a disaster. It is also applicable if you add acidic elements. The reaction will be slow & you won’t get the desired result.
There’s one more thing you need to know. The baking soda reacts instantly as soon as you add it to the batter. Therefore, do not leave the batter unattended. Instead, steam the Surti Khaman batter immediately after adding & mixing the baking soda.
Tips to Make Perfect Surti Style Khaman
- The batter is essential. The consistency of your khaman better should be smooth & runny. It must fall free when you pour.
- Another critical point is not to leave the besan batter ideal. After adding baking soda, the reaction will be at its peak.
- You can alter the quantity of ginger and garlic as per the taste.
- Don’t add red chilli powder or any other masala powder to replace green chillies. The chillies here will enrich the taste without hindering the texture of our recipe. Hence, go with it.
- Use enough amount of acidic elements for baking soda to react. Watch out for the quantity.
- Measure the items using proper measuring spoons, cups & weighing scales.
- Gather items precisely the way they are mentioned in this recipe to get the best results.
- Follow the steps. If that’s not enough, watch the video thoroughly 4-5 times before beginning.
- The toothpick/skewer test is required. Don’t skip. Do it while the batter is steaming.
- Never perform the toothpick check after cooling down or removing the batter from the flame.
So, that was it with the Surti Khaman recipe today.