This is inspired by a popular savory cake called handvo from the region of Gujarat. I was just recently introduced to this cuisine, and I am in love.
This is usually eaten as a snack, and I enjoy it during breakfast. I almost always make them in muffin pans to send them off in my boys’ lunch boxes with some dip. It’s full of vegetables, and tastes as good hot as at room temperature.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Masala & Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.
1 cup (120g) coarse semolina flour
1/2 cup (60g) chickpea flour
1 cup (240g) yogurt
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (8g) baking powder, divided
2 teaspoons (12g) salt, divided
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice
1 small carrot
1 small onion
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons (28g) ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon asafetida
1 inch (2.5cm) piece ginger, grated
3 green chiles, finely chopped
1/2 cup (70g) peas
1/2 cup (40g) shredded cabbage
1/2 cup (8g) cilantro
1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
1/3 cup (43g) sesame seeds
Step 1Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform cake pan, mini tart pans or muffin tins. Alternatively, you can steam this.
Step 2In a sauté pan, fry the semolina flour over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until it’s a pale golden color. Do not brown it too much. Add the chickpea flour and toast it for 2 minutes, until you smell a nutty aroma. Turn off the heat and transfer the flours to a mixing bowl. Set aside.\r\n
Step 3In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, ½ tablespoon (4 g) of the baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) of the salt and lemon juice. Mix well and let it sit while you get the vegetables ready.\r\n
Step 4Peel the carrot and onion and dice them finely. Dice the bell pepper (or use a food processor). Combine the toasted flours and remaining 1/2 tablespoon (4 g) baking powder in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and blend well.
Step 5Warm the ghee in a pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafetida, grated ginger and finely chopped chiles. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the chopped vegetables, peas, cabbage, cilantro and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook just for a couple of minutes; the vegetables should still be crunchy. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
Step 6Once the veggies are completely cooled, add them to the semolina mixture and blend everything well. The batter should be thick. Check for salt. Add the warm water to the batter and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Step 7Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Sprinkle generously with the sesame seeds. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2) and bake for 45 to 60 minutes longer for a large cake or 20 to 25 minutes longer for mini tarts or muffins. Alternatively, you can pour some water into a deep wok, place a stand inside, pour the batter into a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan, cover and steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
Step 8The cake is ready when it is a dark brown color and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan, cut into slices and serve warm or cold. This is delicious with a green chutney, pesto or any sauce.