Handvo is a savory cake, made with bottle gourd, and flour, made with rice and lentils, and other vegetables, then mixed with whole spices and baked to perfection! This savory cake hails from a state in the West coast of India, called Gujarat, where my grandparents were born. Gujarat is a very colorful state, with its vast varieties of foods and clothing, dance and music! The foods from Gujarat are sweet,spicy, savory all in one bite, that what makes it one of the most popular foods in all of India! Handvo is so flavorful, and it is best had with masala chai, that is flavored with fresh ginger, mint and cardamom.
Handvo was a dish that mom made frequently, atleast twice a month on a Sunday, since Sunday was a lazy relaxing day, and that’s when she wanted to relax as well, and this dish is really easy to whip up in no time, and let the oven do the rest of the work! I would watch mom, how quickly she would make the batter for this dish in no time. I would help her with chopping of the vegetables, and watch her do the rest, especially the whole spices, and how she would just eye-ball putting all the spices with a pinch of all her fingers without even using any measuring spoons. No paper written recipes around, the recipe was all in her mind. Such was the ease with which she cooked, and such a joy that was to watch!
This is my dear grandma’s recipe, that was passed on to my mom and her sisters, and now to me! The handvo flour is made by grinding rice, tuvar dal(split pigeon pea lentils), chana dal(gram dal), and urad dal(split black gram dal, skinless). Now a days it is easy to find handvo flour in the Indian stores, which makes it super easy to make this dish. The flour is mixed with buttermilk, hot water, salt, a tad bit sugar and turmeric powder, mix and let it sit overnight to ferment. The next morning, add in all the vegetables, that you want to put, a little bit of semolina, baking soda, baking powder, and mix it. Heat oil and temper the whole spices, and add it into this mixture. Pour it into 2 8×8 baking trays to form a 2 inch thick layer. Drizzle with tempered sesame seeds and bake it!
It is baked until the top is almost a dark brown, and crunchy! My brother and I would fight over who gets the crispy bits cause it is sooo good! This was my favorite breakfast with masala chai. It is great as a mid day snack as well with cilantro chutney or works well as dinner too! Wholesome, nutritious, healthy and filling, it is a beautiful dish that I have fond memories of!
If you do make this dish, please don’t forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram, and/or leave a comment in the blog post below!
- 250gm of handvo flour(readily available in Indian stores)
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoon of semolina
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 medium onion grated (80 gms) after removing all the water
- 1 zucchini grated (200 gms) after removing all the water
- 1 carrot grated(if you want to add carrots) (80 gms)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn, blitzed to make it coarse
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole peppercorn
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tsp fruit salt/eno
- 2-3 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 9 inch spring foam pan
- In a small bowl, whisk the greek yogurt and hot water till it forms a buttermilk consistency. Start by adding 1 cup initially.
- In a medium bowl, add in the handvo flour, buttermilk, salt, turmeric, brown sugar, whisk till it forms a batter consistency. If it is too thick, add in 1/2 cup of more water and whisk to get a smooth consistency. Let it sit out for 8 hours, to ferment. The batter is best made at night, so it can sit overnight and prepared the next morning.
- Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees.
- In the morning, in a large bowl, add in the batter, grated onion, zucchini, corn, carrot(if added), ginger, garlic, green chillies, cilantro and mix well. Add in the fruit salt and mix again, vigorously in one direction. It will foam and rise.
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat, add in the whole cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and white sesame seeds. Let it splatter for a minute, turn off the heat. Add this oil into the batter and mix.
- Spray olive oil into the pan and add in the batter evenly into both trays, upto 2 inches in height. Now sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly on top.
- Bake the savory cake in the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. Put a toothpick in the middle of the cake to check it if it is done. If it comes out clean you know it is cooked inside! Once the crust looks crisp and brown, and the stick comes out clean, broil for 3-4 minutes on high. Now the savory cake is done!
- Cool for 20-30 minutes and it will be warm and ready to cut and enjoy with some cilantro chutney and masala chai!