Instant Pot Handvo ~ Savory Cake
Instant pot handvo is a savory mixed lentils and rice cake. This is a traditional Gujarati snack made in instant pot (IP), an electric pressure cooker.
Handvo is a popular snack from Indian state of Gujarat and is traditionally made on stovetop or in an oven in modern kitchens. Since the theme for this week is cooking one dish in different appliances, I made it in an instant pot. Since instant pot is a pressure cooker, we are technically steaming the batter or achieving the end result by pressure cooking.
Instant pot handvo had the same texture and taste as the baked handvo but lacked the crunchy, crisp topping. Broiling handvo for 5 minutes in the oven, as I did for baked handvo probably would give instant pot handvo a crispy brown top. To comply with the theme, refrained from using the oven.
The recipe for instant pot handvo is same as the baked baked handvo. The only changes I made are, method of cooking and using grated vegetables as is without squeezing the water/juices. Since squeezed juices are substituting the water to dilute the batter, it was a redundant step. Nonetheless, it is recommended to follow that step if the batter is already thin and unsqueezed vegetable grate would further dilute the batter.
I used a 3 qt mini instant pot to make half the recipe using a 6 ½” cake pan. A 6½” cake pan is ideal for half the recipe mentioned below, but a smaller pan would be ideal when putting it in and removing from the mini instant pot.
Instant Pot Handvo ~ Savory Mixed Lentils Rice cake
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Yields: two 6½” cakes or one 8-9″ cake
- ½ cup Rice (I used basmati rice)
- ½ cup Lentils (I used equal parts of chana dal, moong dal and urad dal)
- ½ cup Water to grind rice + lentils
- ½ cup Yogurt, preferably sour (I used regular store bought yogurt)
- 1 ½ cups grated Bottle Gourd
- 1 medium-sized Carrot or ¾ cup grated Carrot
- 1 cup loosely packed chopped Spinach
- 2 – 4 tbsp chopped Cilantro ~ Kothmir
- 4 Green Chilies
- 1” Ginger piece
- 1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- 3 tsp Lime Juice (opt)
- Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Fruit Salt (ENO, available in any Indian store)
- 3 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- ½ tsp Cumin
- 4 – 6 Curry Leaves
- ¼ tsp Hing ~ Asafetida
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
Appliance and pans
- This batter yields two 6 ½ or one 8-9” cake.
- If making ½ the recipe, use any size instant pot and, use a 6 – 6 ½” cake pan or any dish that is oven safe and fits in the instant pot inner/main pot. I made half the recipe and used 6 ½” cake pan in 3 qt instant pot.
- If using the mini 3 qt instant pot, ideal pan would be a 6 ½” cake pan or something smaller. It was a bit of a challenging to insert and remove a 6 ½” pan from the mini, as there was very little room to maneuver, but worked for me. Just be extra careful when inserting and removing the pan, specially when removing as both the pot and the pan will be hot.
- If using full recipe, use at least a 7” or a bigger pan and a 6 qt or a 8 qt instant pot. Make sure the pan/dish fits in the main pot and there is some room around the dish for the steam to circulate. Any oven safe dish or pan or a stainless bowl is safe to use in instant pot.
Making the batter
- Wash rice, mixed lentils and soak for at least 5-6 hours.
- Transfer rice and lentils to a strainer to drain.
- In a blender or a mixer, grind rice and lentils to a coarse paste using as little water as possible. I used ½ cup of water.
- In a mixing bowl take yogurt, add lentils rice paste and mix well.
- Ferment the batter for 6-8 hours or overnight. I fermented it overnight in my instant pot. To keep the batter and the pot warm, I used low yogurt mode for 3 hours. I could have kept it overnight in low yogurt mode but was afraid that might be too long. So went safe using yogurt mode for just 3 hours.
- Next morning or when ready to prepare handvo, grind green chili and ginger to a paste, and add to batter.
- Chop spinach and cilantro. Peel, grate bottle gourd and carrot, and add to batter.
- Season batter with salt, lime juice, turmeric, chili powder. Mix everything, taste and adjust seasoning.
- In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
- Once seeds splutter, add sesame seeds and hing.
- Give a quick stir and turn off the flame.
- Grease the pan or dish in which handvo is going to be cooked. Spread ⅓ of the tempering in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour another ⅓ of the tempering into batter and mix well.
- Just before cooking, add fruit salt to batter and mix immediately. Do not over mix.
- Pour the batter in the pan and top it with remaining ⅓ of the tempering. Tap the dish once to settle and even the batter. Lightly cover the pan/dish with an aluminum foil.
- Pour ¾ cup of water in main pot of instant pot (IP). Place the trivet (the one that came with IP) in the main pot.
- Gently place the batter pan on the trivet. Be careful as the 6 ½” pan barely fits in the mini IP inner pot.
- Close the instant pot. Set the steam release handle to sealing.
- Cook for 30 minutes in manual mode and natural pressure release. That is; press Manual/Pressure Cook button, adjust (+/- buttons) time to 30 minutes. Once it turns off, let the pressure release naturally and open the lid once the floating value falls down.
- Gently remove the pan from IP with or without removing the foil. Be careful as there might be some water on the foil and pan will still be hot. Let handvo cool for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting. I found it easy to cut and remove the slices when it completely cooled.
- Serve with green chutney; coriander chutney or coriander mint chutney.
- Highly recommend putting handvo in the oven, in broil mode for 5 – 6 minutes or until the top is brown. I have not done it but might give a crispy brown top.
- Use vegetables of choice. Cabbage and onion are a good addition and zucchini could be a good substitute for bottle gourd.
- As mentioned in yesterday’s post, dhokla flour, handvo flour and ondhawa flour are good to alternatives to make batter though I have not tried them yet.
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