CORN AND ZUCCHINI HANDVO
Handvo or Oodhvo(my mom would say it interchangeably!) is a very famous Gujarati snack or appetizer, that is essentially made with rice, lentils like channa daal, and loads of vegetables. It is gluten free(if you do not add the asafoetida) and is usually served as an afternoon snack, morning breakfast or as a farsan(appetizer/snack) in a Gujarati Thali. It is one of my all time favorite dishes, one that mom used to make very often.
It was usually made on Sunday’s as dinner, and served with plain yogurt and spicy mango pickle, along with masala chai. I have fond memories of my brother and I fighting for that absolutely brown, crunchy, crusty top, speckled with white sesame seeds, and bits of whole black peppercorn, and cloves sticking out on the surface. That crust is really the best part of the handvo, if I may say so!
It is usually made with dudhi, or bottle gourd, which is grated and then put into the handvo batter, along with a few other vegetables. In the monsoon season, in Mumbai, when corn would flourish, and it was at it’s best crop, she would get fresh corn from the butta wallas, or the corn vendors, on the beach, in front of our house. Our house faces the Arabian Sea, and is really one of the things that I miss the most about being home, being in my home city – Mumbai.
She learnt about adding corn to handvo from her mother. My ba/nani lived in Kampala, Uganda, and that is where my mother was born. Corn is in abundance in Africa, and it is widely used in their cooking as well. Thus adapting to the live in Uganda, ba would add corn in her handvo, and my mom and masis learnt the same.
Corn gives a wonderful grit/texture and flavor to the handvo. It is ever so slightly sweet and gives a wonderful aroma to the handvo. I followed my mother’s recipe for the main handvo, and added corn and zucchini, which are in season now, along with substituting some of the handvo flour(that I have used in this recipe), with makai no lot (or corn flour from the Indian store).
Handvo flour is essentially coarsely ground rice and lentil flour that is readily available at Indian stores, and that is what I have used here. Makai no lot as well, which is corn flour is not the American corn flour but the one that is available in the Indian stores as well. It gives a good texture to the handvo.
Vegetables that I added to the Corn and Zucchini Handvo:
I added the below vegetables to the handvo:
- Fresh Corn off the cob
- Grated Zucchini (remove the water, and set it aside)
- Grated onion (remove the water, and set it aside)
And aromatics like:
- Green Chillies
The reason I remove the water is for the recipe, so that the water content can be controlled and measured. You do not want the batter to be too wet, the consistency has to be just right, else it will not cook all the way through in the oven and the middle of the handvo will remain raw. It will take time to cook if the batter is wet.
The tempering is really very tasty and has whole spices in it that impart a wonderful taste to the handvo. I have the fondest memories of mom making the handvo on Sundays, and as I was doing whatever I was, in my room, I would get the wonderful whiff of the handvo baking in the oven, and the aroma of those whole spices in the batter. It was really the best kind of aroma.
The tempering has many whole spices like:
- Whole black peppercorns
- White sesame seeds
- Mustard seeds
The reason handvo has a lot of oil is to keep the batter moist when the water is baked off, in the oven.
It is important to know when to remove the handvo out from the oven. It has to be baked all the way through. I made the handvo in these mini loaf pans, to make a pretty presentation as well as make them as individual portions. Here is the link to the mini loaf pans. I find it very useful for making mini loaves for banana bread as well or even a fruit loaf for instance.
The best way is to check in the center, with a toothpick to ensure that it is cooked all the way through. If it is not, then leave it in the oven for 5 more minutes and check again. For this recipe the time is 1 hour 10 minutes, but you could bake it in an 8 inch square pan, and bake it for slightly longer in the oven.
I made an Avocado, Peach and Corn Relish to go with it, and that turned out so delicious! It was a mix of the East and West Cultures, where I combined the mexican flavors with the indian ones.
Avocado, Peach and Corn Relish:
The ingredients of the relish are:
- Avocado : Nick from @rincontropics was generous enough to give me a whole box of avocados and I had to make this absolutely wonderful relish! The avocados are creamy, green, and absolutely perfect! You can get your own box of avocados from his website, linked here!
- Corn : Corn is in season and everything should have corn right now! I saute the corn in butter, cool it and then add it to the relish.
- Peach : Peach is in season and everything should have peach as well! It adds a beautiful subtle sweet flavor to the relish.
- Red onions: Pieces of red onions are required in this beautiful relish!
- Jalapenos: You need a bit of heat in this relish and that is accomplished by the jalapeno!
- Cilantro : Always cilantro, in all my dishes 🙂
- Lime: A squeeze of a whole lime is vital to the relish, and its taste!
- Maldon sea salt: Maldon sea salt adds the best flavor to this relish, believe ME!
- Coarse black pepper: Add coarse black pepper, it gives an amazing flavor to the relish.
- Cojita cheese: I made this relish again and added cojita cheese, and that makes the relish taste SO Good.
The relish is REALLY good by itself, but along with the handvo, and the Cilantro Mint Chutney is absolutely delicious! You can get the recipe for my Cilantro and Mint Chutney here.
This makes for a fantastic, light and filling summer meal and perfect for sharing with friends as well. I personally love to make it for me and enjoy it for breakfast :).
If you do make this handvo, please do not forget to tag me #thejamlab on Instagram, and/or leave a comment on this blog post.
Hope all of you are doing well!
Corn and Zucchini Handvo
- Handvo Batter:
- 1 ½ cups (246 g) handvo flour (available at Indian stores)
- ⅔ cup makai no flour (coarse corn flour - available at Indian stores)
- ½ cup (118 g) greek yogurt
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 corn, kernels removed from the corn (175 g)
- 1 small zucchini (75 g), grated (squeeze out water, set it aside)
- ½ medium onion (35 g), grated (squeeze out water, set it aside)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 green chillies or more, depending upon your spice level
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp eno
- 1/3 cup (72 gms gms) vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tsp whole black peppercorn
- ¾ cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp (16 gms) white sesame seeds
- Non-stick mini loaf pan, 8-cavity
- Avocado, Peach and Corn Relish:
- 1 avocado, cut into small cubes
- 1 peach, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 small red onion, diced small
- 1 corn off the cob
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp maldon sea salt
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tbsp cojita cheese
- 2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- Soaking and Fermentation:
- In a medium to large bowl, add the handvo flour, makki no flour, green yogurt and warm water. Whisk until well combined.
- Whisk vigorously for a minute. Cover with plastic wrap, and set it in a warm place in the kitchen, for overnight fermentation, for atleast 4 hours.
- For a warm place in the kitchen - keep it in the oven with the oven light on, for an hour, and then switch off the light.
- In a small saucepan, on medium heat, let the oil heat upto a minute. Add all the ingredients. Cover with a lid as it will splatter. Switch off the gas, 30 seconds after adding the ingredients.
- Adding Vegetables, tempering and preparing the batter:
- Next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/spray cooking spray in an 8-inch square baking pan. Add parchment paper at the bottom. Put the spray again.
- Add the corn kernels, grated zucchini, corn, onions, green chillies-ginger paste, cilantro, turmeric, salt and sugar and whisk to combine.
- Add the baking powder, baking soda and eno/fruit salt, to the batter. Add the lemon juice. It will start foaming. Add the tempering into the batter too. Whisk vigorously in one direction and combine for 30 to 40 seconds. The mixture will expand in volume.
- Add the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the batter with the white sesame seeds.
- Bake the savory cake in the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. Put a toothpick/sticker tester in the middle of the cakes 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 2 minutes on high. The savory cake is done.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool completely for an hour.
- Serve with Adrak Masala Chai, Relish and Cilantro Mint Chutney!
- It can be stored in the fridge for upto a week. Heat it up in a toaster oven, to make the top crisp again and enjoy as a snack or appetizer.
- Handvo can be even cut into pieces, stored in an airtight container and frozen for upto a month.
- Avocado, Peach and Corn Relish:
- In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the corn off the cob and saute, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, peach, onion, corn, cilantro, lime, salt and pepper, cojita cheese. Stir gently until just combined, such that the relish is fresh and does not become mushy.