Handvo is a traditional Gujarati savory cake that has been cherished for generations. It boasts a perfect blend of spices, vegetables, and lentils, producing a delectable, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside texture. This dish holds a special place in the hearts and kitchens of Gujarati households, and its popularity has transcended regional boundaries.
Handvo is a traditional savory cake from the western Indian state of Gujarat. It is a beloved dish in Gujarati cuisine, known for its unique blend of flavors and ingredients. It is a vegetarian dish that can be made vegan-friendly using dairy-free yogurt or omitting yogurt altogether. Ensure that the tempering is done in oil and not ghee for a vegan version.
Handvo pairs wonderfully with green chutney, tamarind chutney, or even a dollop of yogurt. Some also enjoy it with a side of pickle for a tangy kick.
The Birth of Handvo
Handvo, a dish deeply rooted in Gujarati tradition, has a history that dates back centuries. Its origins can be traced to the kitchens of the resourceful Gujarati homemakers who ingeniously created this dish to utilize leftover rice and lentils.
A Healthy Twist
One of the remarkable aspects of handvo is its health benefits. It is a gluten-free dish that is rich in protein and fiber, making it a nutritious choice for those seeking a balanced diet.
- for the batter
- 1 cup rice
- 1/4 cup tuvar dal (pigeon peas)
- 1/4 cup chana dal (split chickpeas)
- 1/4 cup urad dal (black gram)
- 1/4 cup moong dal (green gram)
- 1/2 cup sour yogurt
- 1/2 cup grated bottle gourd
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini
- 2-3 green chilies (adjust to taste)
- 1-inch piece of ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon fruit salt (eno)
- For the Tempering:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida
- A few curry leaves
- 2-3 dried red chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Wash and soak the rice and dals together for about 5-6 hours.
- After soaking, drain the water and blend the rice and dal mixture with yogurt, green chilies, ginger, asafoetida, turmeric powder, and red chili powder until you get a smooth batter.
- Let the batter ferment for about 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Once fermented, add grated vegetables and salt to the batter. Mix well.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the fruit salt (eno) in a little water and add it to the batter. Mix gently.
- Heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, dried red chilies, and sugar. Allow the mustard seeds to splutter.
- Pour this tempering over the Handvo batter and mix it thoroughly.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease a round cake tin with some oil and pour the Handvo batter into it.
- Spread it evenly and tap the tin to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once done, let it cool for a while before slicing.
- It's crucial to soak the rice and lentils (tuvar dal, chana dal, urad dal, moong dal) for at least 5-6 hours before blending them. This soaking process ensures they soften and can be easily ground into a smooth batter
- Allowing the batter to ferment for 6-8 hours or overnight is essential. This fermentation process enhances the flavor and texture of the Handvo.
- The tempering adds a burst of flavor to the Handvo. Ensure the mustard seeds splutter and the spices release their aroma while tempering.
- Handvo pairs wonderfully with green chutney, tamarind chutney, or yogurt. Some people also enjoy it with a side of pickle for added tanginess.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 13g
- Fermentation Is Key: Don’t rush the fermentation process. Allowing the batter to ferment overnight or for at least 6-8 hours ensures a tangy and flavorful handvo.
- Consistency Matters: Ensure that the batter is not too thick or too thin. It should have a pancake batter-like consistency for the best results.
- Balancing Act: Adjust the level of spiciness and salt according to your taste preferences. Remember that some vegetables, like bottle gourd, can release water, so be cautious with the salt initially.
- Grease the Pan: Grease the baking pan generously with oil to prevent the handvo from sticking and to achieve a crispy crust.
- Vegetable: Apart from bottle gourd, you can incorporate other vegetables like spinach, grated carrots, or finely chopped fenugreek leaves to enhance the nutritional value and taste.
- Sweet: Believe it or not, you can also make a sweet version of handvo by adding sugar or jaggery to the batter along with cardamom and nutmeg. Top it with nuts and enjoy it as a dessert.
- Instant: Short on time? Prepare an instant handvo using semolina (sooji) instead of rice and lentils. It’s a quick and delicious alternative.
- Stuffed: Get adventurous by stuffing your handvo with a mix of spices, vegetables, and even cheese before baking. It’s a delightful surprise in every bite.
Handvo is traditionally served with a side of green chutney or tangy tamarind sauce. Pair it with a hot cup of masala chai for the ultimate Gujarati snack experience.
Q1: Is it necessary to soak the rice and lentils before making the batter?
A: Yes, it’s essential to soak the rice and lentils for about 5-6 hours before blending them into a batter. This soaking process ensures that they can be easily ground into a smooth mixture.
Q2: Can I use store-bought yogurt, or should it be homemade and sour?
A: While homemade sour yogurt is traditionally used for authentic flavor, you can use store-bought yogurt as well. However, using yogurt with a slightly tangy taste will enhance the flavor.
Q3: What can I substitute for eno (fruit salt) if I don’t have it?
A: If you don’t have eno (fruit salt), you can use baking soda as a substitute. However, use it sparingly, as baking soda can be quite strong. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
Q4: How do I know when the Handvo is cooked and ready to be removed from the oven?
A: You can check the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, with no batter sticking to it, the Handvo is ready. Additionally, the top should be golden brown and have a slightly crispy texture.
Q5: Can I customize the vegetables according to my preferences?
A: Absolutely! it is versatile, and you can add or omit vegetables based on your taste. Some people like to add spinach, fenugreek leaves, or other greens for added nutrition and flavor.
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