Handvo – A traditional gujarati savory cake made with rice, lentils and lots of vegetable like bottle gourd, fenugreek leaves and carrots. Spiced with fresh ginger and green chilies, tempered with mustard seeds, sesame seeds and dried red chillies. This wholesome dish can be enjoyed as a meal by itself or with a side of pickle or chutney.
I first learnt how to make Handvo 12 years ago, when my older son was a baby. We had a nanny who took care of him and cooked amazing meals for us. She would make Handvo at least once a month and I absolutely enjoyed every last bit of it. I loved it so much that after she was no longer working for us, I called her one day to get the recipe. I have since made it many times and as much as it needs a bunch of ingredients, it is a no-fail recipe and so worth all the time and efforts. The key ingredient in this recipe is the dudhi/lauki/bottle gourd that gives the cake a super moist texture.
As far as the dough, there are 2 ways of making it. First is a short cut method where you simply soak the handvo flour in yogurt, oil and water overnight. The second method is to soak the rice and 3 types of lentils for 6-8 hours, grind them and then let the dough ferment overnight.
Peel and grate the bottle gourd, about 3 cups. Peel and grate carrots, about 1 cup. Prepare the methi leaves by taking only the leaves and discarding the thicker stem. Wash few times and then chop finely. Take about 1-1/2 cups of methi leaves. Peel and grate ginger and crush the green chilies.
Make tempering by heating oil. Add mustard seeds and once they start spluttering, turn the heat off, add sesame seeds and dried red chillies. Add all the ingredients in the batter and mix well.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking pan by greasing all the sides and the bottom. Add baking soda to the batter and mix well. (Note – this should be done just before you are ready to pour the batter in the cake pan). Pour the batter in the cake pan, I used a spring foam pan but a bundt cake pan or any baking dish works well. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Bake between 30-45 mins, checking after first 25 minutes. For my oven it takes exactly 25 mins and then I broil for the last 5 mins to get a crispy browned top.
Let it cool for 20 mins and then take it out of the baking pan. Enjoy for lunch, dinner or snack with a hot cup of chai!
- Part I: Dough
- 2-1/2 cups handwa flour
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1-1/2 cup warm water
- Part II: Vegetables
- 3 cups peeled and grated bottle gourd
- 1 cup peeled and grated carrots
- 1-1/2 cups chopped methi leaves
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 4 green chilies minced
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- salt to taste
- Part III: Tempering
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 dried red chilies (optional)
- Part IV:
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Mix all ingredients from part 1 in a large bowl and keep in warm place for 6-8 hours.
- Make tempering by heating oil. Add mustard seeds and once they start spluttering, turn the heat off, add sesame seeds and dried red chillies.
- Add all the ingredients from Part II and the tempering to the dough. Mix well.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking pan by greasing all the sides.
- Add baking soda to the batter and mix well. Pour the batter in the cake pan, I used a spring foam pan but a bundt cake pan or any baking dish works well. Garnish with sesame seeds from part IV on top.
- Bake between 30-45 mins, checking after first 25 minutes. For my convection oven it takes exactly 25 mins and then I broil for the last 5 mins to get a crispy browned top.