I married a man who was born and brought up in Vadodara, Gujarat. Even before we got married, I could sense his love for Gujrat and most importantly the Gujrati food. But it was after the marriage that I saw it for real. My husband & I have explored Vadodara and Ahmedabad, and have relished the food scene of both the cities. However, Vadodara remains my favourite. Jagdish Farsan, Paras Paan, Raju Omelette, Duleram Peda and the n-number of shops in Mandvi – Ahhh! Goes without saying – his love for Gujarati food has rubbed off me as well, and now I’m a die-hard fan of Gujrati cuisine. As I always say – if you are a vegetarian, Gujarat is your heaven.
5 years into marriage with my Gujju man I’ve learnt to make many Gujrati / Kathiyawadi recipes. Handvo is one of them. Making a good handvo is challenging. Even though the recipe may seem simple, it took me many attempts to get it right. I have tried making it in a nonstick pan and in a pressure cooker. While the taste was great, somewhere I was not happy with the texture and firmness. Then I tried baking the handvo and bingo – It worked! I got it right and I could finally feel the handvo tasted similar to the ones we have in Jagdish.
For soaking / grinding
- 1 cup mixed dal – Traditionally, only tuvar dal is used in making handvo. I have seen many recipes using a mix of tuvar, urad and chana dal. However, I do it a little differently here. I use a half cup of mixed tuvar + urad + chana dal and for the other half, I use green mung + moth beans (matki) + horse gram. The choice is totally yours – Just make sure you maintain 1:1 ratio of rice and dal.
- 1 cup rice (I use Sona Masuri)
- 3/4 cup curd / dahi
- Reference: 1 cup = 250 ml
For the mixture
- 1 medium-size bottle gourd or 2 courgettes. If you live outside India, you can replace bottle gourd with courgettes. The two vegetables belong to the same family and work great for handvo.
- Ginger – Green Chilli coarsely pounded in a mortar pestle. I use about 1-inch ginger and 2 green chillies
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
- Juice of a half lemon
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dhaniya Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- Salt as required
- Sugar / Jaggery as required
- 1 tsp Eno (Blue)
- 1 tbsp oil
- Mustard seeds
- White sesame seeds
- Curry leaves
- a pinch of asofoetida
- finely chopped coriander for garnish
Wash and rinse the rice + dal mixture and soak them in water overnight.
The next day morning, drain the excess water and grind the rice + dal mixture with curd. Do not add water unless you feel the batter is very thick. The batter should easily flow, but should not be runny. And, the texture of the batter must be coarse and not smooth.
Keep the batter in a warm place and allow the batter to ferment. 6 – 8 hours is a good time.
Once your batter is fermented, preheat your over at 180 and grease the baking tin with oil.
Next, peel and grate the bottle gourd/courgettes. Put the grated vegetable inside a muslin cloth and completely squeeze out excess water.
Add the veggies to the batter along with all the items mentioned in ‘For the mixture’ section. Do not add Eno at this stage.
Mix the batter well and make sure everything is well incorporated. Do a taste check and adjust the salt, sweetness, spice at this stage.
Next, add Eno and a few tsp of water to activate it. You should see it fizzing. Mix the batter well – but in one direction only. By now, your entire batter should be aerated and ready to go into the oven.
Bake this at 180 for about 35 – 40 minutes. You should see a nice golden crust on top. Do the toothpick test – make sure it comes out clean. And your handvo is ready.
Allow it to cool down for 15 minutes in the pan. Next, transfer it to the wire rack. Allow it to cool down completely before cutting it. I usually leave the handvo in the wire rack overnight – this way it is ready for breakfast the next morning.
So the next day morning, cut the handvo in small bite size pieces and temper it with mustard seeds, sesame seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asofoetida. Check ‘For tempering’ section.
Add coriander leaves. Cover and let the handvo rest for about 5-10 minutes. Let everything warm up and infuse together. This is a good time to make your masala chai and then all you have to do is to DIG IN and ENJOY!
Phew! Quite a long recipe, right? It needs planning and preparation – but it is worth it. Don’t be disheartened if you do not get this right in the first attempt. Try it a couple of times and I’m sure you will hit the nail. That’s it for today, my dear friends. Let me know if you try this recipe – I will be happy to see your creation. 🙂
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