Baked handvo is a savory rice and lentils cake with mixed vegetables. Bottle gourd is traditionally used along with other vegetables. Handvo is either baked or cooked in a pan on stove top. It is served for breakfast, as tea time snack or even as a light meal.
Handvo is a traditional Gujarati savory rice & mixed lentils cake and the preparation is lengthy. Rice and mixed lentils are soaked for few hours, ground to coarse paste, fermented for 6-8 hours or overnight and then cooked into handvo.
There are instant handvo versions that use instant flours to prepare the batter. However, though instant flour is used, some recipes still require fermentation while some do not. The recipe below is the traditional lengthy version.
Just as there are various ways to prepare batter as mentioned above, there are different ways to cook handvo; bake it in the oven or cook it on stove top. Today it is oven version. Incidentally, my theme for this week is to cook one dish in different appliances hence, the first in the series is baked handvo.
Baked Handvo Recipe ~ Savory Rice Lentils Cake
Bake Time: 35 – 50 minutes
Broil: 5 minutes
Yields: two 6½” cakes or one 8-9″ cake
- ½ cup 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 – 2 cups grated Bottle Gourd
- 1 medium-sized Carrot or ½ – ¾ cup grated Carrot
- 1 cup loosely packed chopped Spinach
- 2 – 4 tbsp chopped Cilantro ~ Kothmir
- 4 Green Chilies
- 1” Ginger piece
- 1 – 1 ¼ tsp Salt
- ½ – 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 – 3 tsp Lime Juice (skip if yogurt is sour and batter ferments well)
- Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Fruit Salt (ENO brand. Though i have not tried, baking powder might be a good substitute for ENO fruit salt)
- 3 tbsp oil
- ¼ – ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- ¼ – ½ tsp Cumin
- 4 – 6 Curry Leaves
- ¼ tsp Hing ~ Asafetida
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
Making the batter
- Wash rice, mixed lentils and soak for at least 5-6 hours.
- Discard the water, put rice and lentils in a strainer and let drain.
- Take rice and lentils in blender or a mixer, and grind to a coarse paste using as little water as possible. I used about ½ cup of water.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl, add yogurt and mix well.
- Ferment for 6-8 hours or preferably overnight. This being winter or almost winter here, though I fermented for 15 hours, felt the batter didn’t ferment well. In cold areas, do ferment a little longer.
- Grate bottle gourd and carrot. Add ¼ tsp salt and keep aside for 5-10 minutes. Then squeeze the juices from the veggies and keep aside both the juice and the vegetable grate.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a baking dish or a pan and keep aside.
- Chop spinach and cilantro and keep aside.
- Grind together ginger, green chilies and add to the batter.
- Add salt, lime juice, turmeric, chili powder and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Throw in grated vegetables, chopped vegetables and about ¼ – ⅓ cups of veggie juices into batter and mix well. Add more veggie juice or water if required. The batter should be thick and not flowing consistency.
- Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
- When seeds splutter, add sesame seeds and hing.
- Give a quick stir and turn off the flame.
- Add ⅓ of the tempering to the batter and mix well.
- Spread another ⅓ of the tempering in the baking dish.
- When ready to bake, add fruit salt and mix immediately. Do not over mix.
- Pour the batter in the baking dish, top it with remaining ⅓ of the tempering. Tap the dish once to settle and even the batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35 – 45 minutes. It took 35 minutes in a 6 ½” pan. This batter yields two 6 ½” handvo cakes or one 8-9” handvo cake. Bake until tester inserted in the handvo comes out clean.
- Turn off the oven, turn on the broil and broil for 5 – 6 minutes to brown the top of handvo. This step is optional but highly recommend for crispy brown top.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Ideal, completely cool handvo before cutting or flipping it onto a plate. I found it easier to do this when handvo is completely cool. If in hurry, wait at least 15 minutes before cutting handvo. Some pieces might break if the cake is hot but that is ok.
- Serve with green chutney; coriander chutney or coriander mint chutney.
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