Handvo is 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.
Updated to include Instant Pot version of this recipe!
I first learned 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 minutes, checking after first 25 minutes. For my oven it takes exactly 25 minutes and then I broil for the last 5 minutes to get a crispy browned top.
Let it cool for 20 minutes and then take it out of the baking pan. Enjoy for lunch, dinner or a snack.
Looking for another versatile dish that the whole family will enjoy any time of the day? Then check out my French Toast Casserole perfect for a crowd and ready in under 30 minutes!
Here are some drinks that go well with Handvo:
- Fresh Pomegranate Juice – A sweet and healthy drink made from the pomegranate arils
- Ginger Tea – Classic British tea with a spicy kick of fresh ginger
- Mango Lassi – Smooth and creamy yogurt drink with rich and flavorful aromatic mangoes and saffron
- Mulled Apple Cider – Spiced drink scented with warm flavors of cinnamon and cloves
- Rose Faluda – An ice cream float with rose syrup, cool sweet basil seeds, thin noodles, and chilled milk
Here are some other recipes similar to the Handvo that I know you will love:
- Rava Dhokla – Savory, soft steamed semolina cake lightly spiced with ginger, chilies with a tempering of mustard and sesame seeds
- Muthia – Mixed vegetable casserole cooked in earthy spices, ginger and chilies
- Kothimbir Vadi – A spicy cake loaded with fresh cilantro, chili and garlic
- Aloo Chaat – Easy appetizer with spiced potatoes, sweet & tangy chutneys and lightly sweetened creamy yogurt
- Sabudana Vada – Healthy no-fry spicy tapioca and potato fritters
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- Part I: Dough
- 2-1/2 cups handwa flour
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt or non-dairy 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
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- salt to taste
- Part III: Tempering
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 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.
Instant Pot Hando Recipe:
Instant Pot Handvo Recipe using a 7" springform cake pan
- 1.5 cups handvo flour available in Indian stores
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt or non-dairy yogurt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1.5 cups peeled and grated bottle gourd
- 1 cup peeled and grated carrots
- 1 cup methi leaves chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger grated
- 2 to 3 green chilies minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- kosher salt to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
Prepare a 7-inch cake pan by greasing the bottom and the sides.
Mix all ingredients from part I in a large bowl and keep in warm place for 6-8 hours.
Make tempering by heating oil in a small pot. 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.
Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert.
Add baking soda to the batter and mix well. Pour the batter in the cake pan. Garnish with sesame seeds from part IV.
Cover the cake pan with aluminum foil. This will prevent from any steam/water from getting in the handvo.
Place the cake pan on the trivet, carefully put the trivet with the cake pan in the Instant pot.
Close Instant Pot lid with pressure value to sealing. Cook on Manual(Hi) for 30 mins followed by NPR.
Open Instant Pot and carefully take out the trivet with the handvo.
- Broil in the oven for 5 minutes to get a crispy browned top.
- Instead of using Handvo flour you can also soak 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup mixed lentils. Grind and then allow the batter to sit for 6-8 hours or overnight.
- Vegetables used in part II can vary - You can substitue zuchinni or cabbage for dudhi.
Check out HANDVO recipes from of my FAV Indian chefs for variations of this recipe:
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Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.