Handvo can be best described as a traditional Gujarati savoury cake. It is made with a mix of dals and rice with lauki (bottle gourd) added to it for softness.
Flavoured with green chilli-ginger paste, red chilli powder, lemon juice, and a touch of sugar, Handvo is a super-healthy. It is a full meal in itself that needs just some Chaas (Indian Buttermilk) and Coriander Chutney on the side.
Handvo is traditionally made in a special vessel that many Gujarati households have. However, you can just as easily cook it in a deep pan or Kadhai on a stove top.
I made my first Handvo in a small non-stick pan. However, as I was making it I realised that it was still needed considerable oil (Anything over 1/2 tsp oil is too much oil for me :)).
At this time I was also chatting on WhatsApp with Aparna Sitaraman and sharing the recipe with her. She was saying she intended to make the batter and store it, and use it to make mini Handvo in an Appam Pan as and when she had guests. What a brilliant idea that was and I immediately sought her permission to post that way on the blog.
What I loved about this mini-version (High-Tea Muffin Handvo, as Hetal called it) is that the bite-sized version made portion control rather easy for a person like me who has to battle the bulge.
- Thank you, Aparna, for this brilliant idea! 🙂 Aparna has contributed several recipes to this blog including those for Hesarubele Panchakajjaya, Samo Rice Pulav, Tattai, and Milagu Kuzhambu.
- If you want a low-oil version, you can also bake it. I will update this post when I try the baked version.
- Gujarati Cuisine is absolutely delectable. Do try other Gujarati recipes from the blog.
Make it using any of the techniques and the result will be the same; a soft, spongy, savoury lentil-cake that is just delicious.
I used Tarla Dalal’s Recipe for Mixed Dal Handvo as a starting point.
How to Make Healthy, Low-Oil Gujarati Handvo
Handvo is essentially a savoury cake made in the Western Indian state of Gujarat. Made with rice and lentils, Handvo need just some Green Chutney on the side.
- 1/2 Cup Rice
- 1/4 Cup Tuvar Dal
- 1 tbsp Whole Moong
- 1 tbsp Udad Dal
- 1 tbsp Chana Dal
- 1 Cup Grated Lauki/Bottle Gourd
- 4 Green Chillies
- 1 tsp Grated Ginger
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Khatta Dahi, Sour Yoghurt
- 2 Pinches Soda Optional
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Salt to Taste
- 1 tsp Rai, Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Til, Sesame Seeds
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 3-4 pinches Hing, Asafoetida
Wash the rice and dals well.
Soak in 2 cups water for 6-8 hours
After the dals are well-soaked, drain the water.
Grind with the dahi into a fine paste. Add as little water as possible while grinding.
Take the batter out into a large bowl.
Cover and set aside to ferment for 6 to 8 hours. The batter will not rise as it ferments, but you will see some bubbles to indicate fermentation.
Grind the green chillies and ginger to a fine paste.
Add the green chilli-ginger paste, grated lauki, red chilli powder, turmeric, salt, and sugar to the fermented batter.
Mix with a gentle hand.
Just before making the Handvo, add the lemon juice and soda.
Divide the batter into 4 portions (I use guesstimates 🙂).
In a deep pan or kadhai, overmedium flame, add 1/2 tbsp oil.
Add the 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
Add 1/2 tsp sesame seeds and hing. Stir-fry for a few seconds.
Gently pour 1 portion of the batter into the pan.
Over medium flame, cook covered for 7 to 10 minutes. Ensure that the flame is not too high because then the Handvo will brown quickly on the outside but remain uncooked on the inside.
Check at regular intervals and drizzle a few drops of oil along the edges if you so feel.
When the surface of the Handvo dries out, it is time to flip the Handvo.
Using a spatula, gently loosen the edges of the handvo working your way to the middle so that you can flip it over. Ensure that the side that was touching the pan is golden brown and crisp.
Flip the Handvo.
Drizzle 1/2 tsp oil along the edges.
Over a low-medium flame, cook covered for 5 to 7 minutes.
To ensure that the Handvo is cooked, gently insert a fork or a sharp knife and pull it out. It should come out clean and dry.
Remove the Handvo from the pan.
Cut into quarters and serve hot with Green Chutney.
Add a few drops of oil to each cavity of the Appam Pan.
Over medium flame, heat the Appam Pan.
Add a few mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
Add sesame seeds and a tiny pinch of hing. Wait for 5 to 10 seconds.
Spoon enough batter to just fill each cavity till it is almost full.
Cover the Appam Pan.
Over low-to-medium flame, cook the mini Handvo for 5 to 7 minutes.
When the side facing up dries out, it is time to flip the Handvo.
Using a small sharp knife, loosen the edges of the Handvo and flip it over. In a non-stick pan, you can simply rotate them.
Drizzle 2-3 drops of oil along the edges of each Handvo.
Cook covered for 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the Handvo from the Appam Pan.
Serve hot with Green Chutney.
- While Making the Handvo in an Appam Pan takes much longer, it uses much less oil.
- Always cook Handvo on a low-to-medium flame as it has to cook well inside.
- If you want to store the Handvo batter, just refrigerate the ground dal paste after it has fermented. Add the rest of the ingredients just before making the Handvo.