Once upon a time, there lived this incredible woman; full of wisdom, warmth and offering unconditional love like no one else. I feel blessed to have shared my first 6 years of life with her, in her care. This woman was my Amma (grandma), who passed away a few years ago.
Growing up, she had a big influence in my life. I could always be sure of two things with Amma. Her love was infinite; as she would always be overjoyed by anything I’d share, no matter how mundane. And she would cook up the best dishes I have ever tasted! To be honest, I think I was on a feeding spree most of the time.
Creating delectable dishes from scratch and making them look cinch was her skill. As a 5-year old, she would sit me on her kitchen counter and make fresh rotis and tell me the best stories. She offered me a link to our family’s heritage and culture and taught my how to speak Punjabi!
I still laugh at the way she would consistently believe that everyone was underfed, and force items on our plates, despite arguing “I am full…please Amma, no more!!” Funnily enough, I think this tendency has been passed down ?
Watching Amma cook, and learning from her in the kitchen sparked my love of cooking. This was a special connection we shared together.
Even though I no longer have Amma, I feel lucky to have met a special lady 8 years ago who I affectionately call Aunty. Every time I see her, it’s like a Hollywood actress stepping on the red carpet. She is a total fashionista! Not only that, she too is a fabulous cook – a professional chef I may add. It was Aunty’s Handvo that I tried and loved 5 years ago that has inspired this recipe. I have adapted Aunty’s recipe and loaded on more goodness.
What is Handvo?
Handvo is a traditional Gujarati spicy savory cake. There are so many different recipes; some with lentils, rice flour and/or semolina. I must admit this recipe has gone through many rounds of ‘trial and error’ in my kitchen, and I think you will like it! This simpler version has loaded on more veggies; with extra cabbage and the addition of peas, scallions and herbs. The reduction of semolina, with the addition of chick pea flour gives this an additional nutritional boost!
Cabbage is another cruciferous vegetable of the Brassicaceae family (others include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other green leaf vegetables). Brassica vegetables have been studied for their cancer-protective effects associated with high levels of glucosinolates, but these beauties are also a source of vitamin C and fibre.
I always get requests from the kids to make this for their school lunch. It is simple, full of vegetables and filling. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, snack or anytime really. At home, we tend to serve it with salad or chopped vegetables. If you want an extra hot kick, red chilli chutney for dipping is the bee’s knees! Trust me when I warn you, it is quite addictive and hard to stop after one slice ?
So, kuch kuch hota hai? If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram and twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.
Handvo: Savoury Vegetable Cake
- 1½ cup semolina
- ½ cup chick pea flour
- 2 cup yogurt 1 or 2 % fat
- 3 cup cabbage cored and thinly sliced
- ⅔ cup peas frozen
- 1 onion large, finely chopped
- 5 spring onion finely chopped
- 1 cup coriander leaves only, finely chopped
- 2 green chili depending on the heat factor you want
- ½ tbsp sea salt
- 6 cloves garlic paste (3 tsp)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ tbsp baking soda
- 1 tsp eno
- 1 tbsp dried curry leaves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C or gas mark 4)
- In a large bowl, mix semolina, chick pea flour, yogurt, cabbage, peas, onion, scallions, coriander leaves, chillies, salt, garlic paste, turmeric, and lemon
- Heat the oil in a pan and add curry leaves, mustard and sesame seeds
- Allow mustard seeds to crackle
- Drain the oil and leave the leaves and seeds in the pan
- Add the oil to the Handvo batter and mix well
- Add the baking soda and eno and mix well
- Pour batter into baking pan/dish and use spatula to spread evenly
- Sprinkle the leaves and seeds on top of the batter
- Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins at 350 F (180 C or gas mark 4)