Mar 13, 2013

"Handvo" - a savory protein rich lentil cake.

"Handvo", this is a typical "Gujarati" (west-India) cuisine. It is fast and easy. Well it is if you live in that part of India.
Living in Europe has its own perks and being able to make this item easy and fast might not be one of them.

In India we get ready-made flour for this and then it is just a matter of preparing the batter, letting it fremanate over night and adding spices before cooking it.

When we moved here, i didn't see flour in Indian stores and that is when and how i learnt to make it from scratch. However i can see this flour now in some of the Indian stores, mainly those which are a big bigger and keep many products imported from UK. On the side note whenever i visit England, it is like being back to home. Considering big Gujarati population in England, there is hardly anything you cannot find in no missing food there, but still missing family and friends!

Anyway that is not what we were talking about! So here goes my recipe for "Handvo" from a scratch. 

I normally prepare a lot and have the same in breakfast next morning. Somehow i love when it more next morning when it is cold and all flavours are absorbed but that is just me!

My sister visited us this weekend and when asked if she wanted to have something specific this is what she could think of, so thanks to her i managed to take some more pictures of cooking process to post here ! ;-) Yes, that college from different stages of cooking preparation is the one i managed then, the second time.

Let's collect ingredients:

2 cup Rice
1 cup Tuvar Dal
1/4 cup Urad Dal
1/4 cup Green Mung Dal (Split Mung)
1/4 cup Split Bengal Gram (Chana Dal)
1 cup Sour Curd/Yogurt
1 Bottle gourd (Lauki), grated
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Soda-bi-carb
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp Green Chili - Ginger Paste
3 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

For tempering:

4 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Asafoetida (hing) - optional
2 tsp Mustard seeds (rai)
2 tsp Carom seeds (ajwain)
2-3 tsp Sesame seeds (til) - i put more as we love crispy sesame cover.
1" Cinnamon stick
3-4 Cloves (Laung / lavang)

Let's start making Handvo:

1. Wash and soak the rice and all dals together for overnight. I do it overnight because it is easier for me just to put it together before going to bed but 4-5 hours are enough.

2. Drain them and grind to paste.

3. Add Sour curd / yogurt and allow fermenting overnight. 

Here in Europe sometimes it is not warm enough for it to ferment well, so i warm oven switch it off and then leave it overnight in oven. I like a bit sour taste in Handvo so sometimes i let it ferment more.

4. When you are ready to cook, add rest of the ingredients to batter. (Grated bottle gourd, lemon juice, soda-bi-carb, sugar, chili powder, turmeric powder, green chili-ginger paste, oil, salt) 

Now you can either put this on gas in special handvo cooker, or in a non-stick pan which can be covered or can bake it in oven.

5. Pour this batter in a greased tin or baking dish.

6. Four the tempering, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and fry until they crackle. Add the sesame seeds, ajwain and asafoetida and continue to fry. When the sesame seeds are golden in colour, pour this over the batter.

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degree C (400 degree F) for 30 to 35 minutes till the crust is golden brown. 
Step from left to right 1. batter making, 2. fermanating, 3. in non-stick pan, 4. seasoning, 5. turning-over and ready to eat !
Most of the time I end up cooking half of the batter in a nonstick pan because of our love for crispy base. 
For that just pour batter in pan (not too thick, not too thin ) and cover on medium flame for 30-45 mins depending on how you prefer it, i also cook for a while turning it up-side down and i have over-all crispy cover which hubby dear loves. That is not possible in Oven. 

Handvo in a non-stick pan after turning-over.
I still end up doing a part in oven because i like the softness of baked handvo, and somehow it just looks and feels healthier to me! Ya i know, now that's something, you must be thinking considering so many different pulses in one item, how much healthier can you go! But that is me and my absurd ideas!

Handvo, baked in an oven.
So your Handvo is ready. You can eat it the way you like it.... with yogurt, ketch up, chutney.... or just on its own! 


Handvo (Baked version)
Use the spices sparingly and it is a nutritious dish that kids can enjoy, my lil Bun had a few bites of it and he seemed to like it ! ( considering your kid is not allergic to all those lentils)  

Mar 7, 2013

Broccoli Almond Soup

Broccoli isn't very frequent at our home, but it started making more appearances after arrival of our Lil Bun. He eats it happily ( touch-wood and prayers for it to stay the same). 
Hubby dear isn't much a fan of broccoli so i was surprised when i saw him devouring on Broccoli Almond soup during our recent visit to India. 

After all the fat accumulation on the waist at the end of the trip, it was a high time for us to go a bit healthy. So while trying to include more salads and soups in our meals i have been looking for and trying new alternatives. And one fine day looking at Broccoli in the fridge, it clicked me why not to try this soup. It is simple, easy and nutritious. And what's more to it is Lil Bun and his dad both liked and devoured it. Success. 

It also got almonds, which we love. They are not only protein filled but also considered good for brain. I ate lots of almonds while i was pregnant and so whenever lil Bun does anything smart leaving us all surprised, we go something like "There goes all the almonds i ate!" hehe 
We use the roasted ones in the recipe to bring out complete flavour. 

I followed recipe from Tarla Dalal with a little bit of twist to accommodate our taste preferences.

So here we go. 

Let's collect Ingredients:

2 cups chopped broccoli (incl. stalks and florets)
1/2 cup chopped Onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped celery
1/2 tsp garlic salt (optional)
1/2 tsp cornflour dissolved in 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp almond paste ( i left almonds in warm water for a few mins till it was a bit soft and then crushed it in blender)
1 tbsp roasted almond slivers
Salt to taste

For Garnish:
Few Cilantro leaves or a few almond slivers. 

Let's start making some soup: 

1. Heat 2 cups water in a deep pan, Add Broccoli stalks to it and cook on a medium flame for 5 mins.

2. Add Broccoli florets, onions, Garlic, Celery and salt (a bit less than final quantity if like us you like a bit garlicky taste and are going to include garlic salt). Mix well and cook for 3-4 mins, while stirring continuously.

3. Remove it from the flame and allow it to cool a little. 

4. Blend it with a hand blender till smooth.

5. Add the cornflour-milk mixture, garlic salt (optional), almond paste. Cook on a medium flame for 2-3 mins, while stirring continuously.

6. Add ground pepper, roasted almond slivers. Mix well and cook on a medium flame for another minute. 

7. Serve hot, garnished with almond slivers.


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