What is Handvo?
Handvo, is a famous Gujarati savory snack that is baked. Grated bottle gourd, fresh fenugreek and other vegetables are added along with spices to the lentil rice batter. Handvo is mostly enjoyed as a snack but we love to have it for dinner. Traditionally, baked with charcoal or wood fire under and on top, these days it is so much easier to bake in the oven.
The Gujarati Cuisine is well known for its huge variety snack dishes. Some of the most popular snacks or farsan as they are called are as below. These snacks are served as a light meal or along with the main meal.
More About Handvo
Every Gujarati household will have their version of handvo. While, some add only bottle gourd(doodhi) and fresh fenugreek, others add other vegetables.Some love it extra chili and sweet. Others love it with more oil. Handvo is one snack that is made when one is traveling, going for picnics, as a light meal or snack to be enjoyed any time of the day. Some like their handvo soft but my family loves it when there is a crust at the bottom and top. Everyone fights for the side pieces and the inner soft ones get left till the next day.
My MIL would add onion, carrots, cabbage, doodhi (bottle gourd) and so many other ingredients. My bhabhi adds cooked peas too. Any version and they all taste good. Make a thin layer or a thick layer, the choice is yours. Add whatever vegetable you like. The more the merrier! Ready made handvo flour is available in most shops but I prefer to make it with soaked rice and lentils. The handvo turns out softer. If you’re fighting for time then go ahead and use the ready made handvo flour.
The secret to a healthier and softer handvo is to add more vegetables than the flour. I love adding spinach too whenever possible. Handvo is a great way to get fussy veggie eaters to enjoy vegetables, especially bottle gourd.
Memories – masala chai, handvo, drive-in
I remember my mum would make handvo practically every Sunday. If we were going to Drive In to watch a movie or having a meal at home, Sunday would be handvo day. She would make it on a jiko (sigri) with more hot coal on top of the pan or sufuria. That handvo always tasted yummy and soft. Modern times and the charcoal stoves are out and in come the ovens. Not the same as the jiko one but I still make handvo as its one of my favourite snack.
Serve Handvo at Parties
Whenever I prepare handvo for tea parties I like to bake them like muffins. However, please do not use cake paper cups. I prefer using the silicon moulds as the handvo comes out easily. First time when I tried baking them like muffins, I used the normal aluminum moulds and though I had oiled them, it was a struggle to remove the handvo. I left them in the mould and we spooned it out when we had it. With paper cups, the paper got stuck to the handvo as the batter is quite runny. SO PLEASE USE SILICON MOLDS.
Ingredients Required For Handvo
- Rice – use any variety of white rice
- Moong Dal – split moong dal, wither the green or yellow one OR Chana Dal (split chickpea lentil). Or can use half half of both.
- Semolina – for a gluten free version replace the semolina with fine cornmeal
- Yogurt – plain and a bit sour. For vegan version use vegan yogurt or replace with lemon juice or tamarind sauce
- Warm Water – for soaking, grinding and adding to the batter
- Fenugreek Seeds – methi dana, to add to the batter and also for tempering
- Mustard Seeds – rai, for tempering
- Ajwain – ajmo, carom seeds for tempering
- Sesame Seeds – tal. To sprinkle on top of the batter.
- Fresh Fenugreek – methi. If you don’t get fresh fenugreek use spinach. Finely chopped
- Bottle Gourd – Doodhi, peeled and grated. Can replace it with zucchini, cabbage.
- Carrot – peeled and grated.
- Onion – red or white, chopped. Optional
- Green Chilli Paste
- Fresh Ginger – peeled and minced or grated
- Cinnamon Powder – taj
- Clove Powder – laving
- Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar
- Sugar – use any brown or coconut. Can replace it jaggery powder
- Salt – according to your taste
- Soda Bicarbonate – Baking Soda, required as a leavening agent
- Oil – for greasing the tray and for tempering
- Cloves – whole – for tempering
- Cinnamon – for tempering
- Pepper corns – for tempering
- Whole Dry Red Chillis – for tempering, optional
- Asafetida – hing. Don’t add if you want a gluten free handvo. If you have gluten free asafetida then you may use it.
- For a Gluten free handvo avoid adding semolina and replace it with some fine cornmeal. Also do not use asafetida.
- For a Vegan version replace dairy yogurt with vegan yogurt or add lemon juice or tamarind. Let the batter ferment without the lemon or tamarind. Add just before baking.
- For a Satvik version, don’t add onion.
For The Handvo Batter:
- 2 cups rice
- ¾ cup yellow moong or chana dal
- ¼ cup split pigeon pea lentil
- 1 cup sour yogurt
- ¼ cup warm water
- ¼ cup semolina or cornmeal
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 2 cups chopped fresh fenugreek
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 - 3 cups lightly packed grated bottle gourd
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp clove powder
- ½ tsp soda bicarbonate baking soda
- 2 tsps salt
- 2 to 3 tsps sugar
- 2 tsps ginger paste
- 1 tsp green chilli paste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder
For Tempering (vaghar):
- ¼ cup oil
- 4 to 6 cloves
- 8 to 10 peppercorns
- 2 one inch cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp mustard seeds rai
- 1 tsp cumin seeds jeera
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds methi
- ¼ tsp carom seeds ajwain
- 1 to 2 whole dry red chillis optional
- ¼ tsp asafoetida hing
Topping and Greasing:
- ¼ cup sesame seeds tal
- 2 tbsp oil
Preparation of The Handvo Batter:
- Soak rice and lentils separately for 6 to 8 hours in lukewarm water.
- Drain out the water, wash the rice and lentils separately in a sieve.
- Process the rice and then the lentils in a food processor into a grainy and coarse consistency. Add just enough water to process the rice and lentils.
- Mix both the pastes.
- Add yogurt, warm water and ¼ tsp methi seeds to the mixture and mix well.
- Cover the mixture and leave it to ferment in a warm place for 6 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Add semolina, vegetables, salt, sugar and spices except for the baking soda.
- Mix the batter well.
- Heat oil for tempering in a small pan.
- When it is hot add cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, methi, dry chillis, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds and finally hing.
- Pour the tempered oil into the batter and mix it well.
- Finally add soda bicarbonate and mix well.
- Grease a tray about 16X12 inches with 2 tbsp oil.
- Pour the batter into the tray and level it out with a spoon. The batter should be a bit runny.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds over it.
- Put the tray into the hot oven and bake the handvo for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes increase the temperature to 200°C and bake further for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the top to becomes brown or place it under the hot grill or broiler for 5 minutes.
- Remove the handvo from the oven.
- Let it cool down completely in the tray before you cut it into pieces.
- Serve with nice masala tea or milk.
- Add grated cabbage instead of doodhi or a bit of both.
- Add finely chopped spinach (palak).
- For a more crunchier top, drizzle some extra oil on top before baking.
- Adjust the amount of spices according to your taste.
- The size of the tray is just a guidance, use 2 small trays or any you prefer. As I mentioned before, depends on how thick or thin you want the handvo to be.
- Add grated zucchini along with the doodhi.
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