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Monday, 11 November 2019

Gujarati Handvo / Vegetable Rice Lentil Cake Recipe

Handvo is a traditional savory cake from the Indian state of Gujarat. Made with fermented rice, mixed lentils and fresh vegetables, this baked cake is healthy, delicious and wholesome snack. I have shown here both the oven and pan version of making handvo at home. The added vegetables like bottle gourd, carrots, fenu greek, coriander give required moisture to the dish making it soft and delectable. The tempering of spices and herbs makes it all the more flavorful. This is a gluten-free and onion-garlic free recipe. Gujarati Handvo tastes best on its own at tea time but you can also serve it with ketchup or Dates Tamarind Chutney or pickle of your choice and enjoy it any time of the day.

I tasted a typical Gujarati handvo in one of my gujju friend, Shradha Patel's house. I instantly fell in love with this savory cake and tried it myself following her recipe. Traditionally handvo is made by soaking the rice and mixed lentils in water for few hours. The drained lentils and rice is then ground using either buttermilk or curd. I have used curd here. The batter is then allowed to ferment overnight. To this fermented batter, grated bottle gourd and other veggies like cabbage, peas, fenu greek, carrots etc may be added. Handvo is made in a handvo cooker but you can easily make it in oven or in a pan.

Before baking or cooking the handvo in a pan, the batter is oil tempered with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves. When making handvo in a pan make sure you make a thin layer compared to the baked one. Do not forget to add little baking soda just before baking in the oven or else the handvo will not rise much. You can also make the handvo instantly, skipping the fermentation time using eno or fruit salt if you are running short of time. A perfectly made handvo is soft from within with a crisp top layer. The baked handvo turned out more soft and fluffy compared to the pan version. You can have it on its own at tea time or serve it with some pickle, chutney or ketchup.

I made this Gujarati handvo for the #220th  Foodie Monday Blog Hop event with Gourds are Beautiful as the theme for the week. This theme was suggested by Sujata Roy di who blogs at Batter Up With Sujata. Sujata di wanted us to cook any healthy dish using gourds like bottle gourd, bitter gourd etc. Sujata di is a lovely Bengali lady and no doubt her blog is a home to many mouth-watering Bengali desserts. I am awed with the variety of sandesh and rasgullas on her blog. You can also find many interesting and healthy bakes on her space. I already have a Stuffed bitter gourd and Karela Stir-Fry on the blog and i had few bottle gourds lying in the fridge so decided to cook a dish with bottle gourd. At first, i thought of making doohiche thalipeeth, a Maharashtrian flat bread made with grated bottle gourd, spices and multigrain flour. But then finalized this Gujarati handvo. My family thoroughly enjoyed it as a delicious and filling Sunday brunch.

If you are looking for more recipes using gourd, checkout the following recipe links from this blog.
Bharli Karli - stuffed bitter gourdKarela stir-fryDoodhichi Koshimbir - Lauki raitaLauki ki kheer / Bottle gourd puddingLauki ki Barfi / Gulkand flavored bottle gourd fudgeTondalichi Bhaji / Ivy Gourd stir fry

Preparation time: 12- 13 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 5-7

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup Bengal gram / chana dal
  • 1/4 cup Pigeon pea / tur / arahar dal
  • 2 tablespoon skinned and split black gram/ dhuli urad dal
  • 1/2 cup curd
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup tightly packed grated bottle gourd
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped fenu greek leaves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon oil
  • 1-2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
For tempering:
  • 1-2 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1-2 sprig curry leaves
  1. In a mixing bowl take rice and lentils. Wash them thoroughly and soak them in clean water for 3-4 hours. Drain the rice and lentils and grind them in a grinder jar with curd to a coarse batter. The batter should resemble the idli batter in consistency. Do not add any water while grinding. Now add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the batter. Give it a good mix and cover the batter. Let it ferment overnight in a warm place.

2. After fermentation, you will find small bubbles in the batter. Add peeled and grated bottle gourd, carrot and chopped fenu greek leaves to it. Also add the minced green chilies and ginger to the batter.

3. Mix the batter well. Next add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, sugar and finely chopped coriander. Blend all the ingredients well. You can do a taste test at this stage and add more salt or spice to the handvo batter if desired. Our handvo batter is ready. Now, we will see the pan method first of cooking handvo.

Making Handvo in a pan on stove top:
  1. Heat about 2 teaspoon oil in a thick bottom pan. Add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds splutter add the cumin seeds followed by curry leaves and sesame seeds. Allow the seeds to sizzle in the oil for few seconds. 

2. Now pour a portion of the batter in the pan and make a smooth layer. Cover and cook the handvo on low to medium flame for 4-5 minutes and then flip it and cook the other side as well. Make all the handvo similarly with the remaining batter.

Making Handvo in an Oven:
  1.  Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the batter and give it a quick stir. Pour it to the greased cake tin. Now heat oil in a small tadka pan. Add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds splutter add the other cumin seeds followed by curry leaves and sesame seeds. Allow the seeds to sizzle in the oil for few seconds. Do not burn them. Now put off the flame and add the tempering to the handvo batter.

2. Bake the handvo in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 25-30 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of the baked handvo to check for doneness. I baked the handvo further for 5 more minutes at 200 degrees Celsius to get that golden top. Let the handvo cool a bit , then loosen the sides using a knife and invert the cake pan to remove the handvo.

3. Slice the handvo into desired shape and serve at tea time with some pickle or ketchup and enjoy with your loved ones!

Recipe Notes:
  • You can alter the proportion of rice and lentils as variation. Handvo can be made entirely using different lentil varieties, skipping rice altogether. 
  • Many vegetables like cabbage, green peas, spinach etc also can be added to hadvo along with bottle gourd, carrots and fenu greek.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the handvo batter just prior to baking it to get that soft and fluffy texture.
  • Make the pan handvo thinner than the baked ones for even cooking and ease in flipping.
  • Do not add water while grinding the rice and lentils. The moisture from curd is enough to give it the idli batter consistency. Keep the batter a bit thicker initially as on adding vegetables the batter further becomes moist.
  • Handvo tastes best while warm. Serve it plain or with some ketchup or pickle of your choice.
  • You can add broken red chilies also in tempering. 
  • You can also make the handvo instantly, skipping the fermentation time using eno or fruit salt if you are running short of time. 
  • Use a thick bottom pan preferably non-stick pan to make handvo on stove top. 
I hope some of you would definitely love to give this recipe a try. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us. Would love to know your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below. Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter,#Pinterest and #Google+ for more recipes and new updates.

For more Gujarati recipes, check out the following from this blog


  1. Beautifully made handvo. Love the seeds that are on tip. They must be totally delicious.

  2. I absolutely adore Handvo, though I make it with a lot more sugar or jaggery. :) I love how the addition of bottle gourd makes the Handvo soft and delicious!

    Your Handvo looks so very inviting!

  3. What I love about making handvo is that you add a huge amount of different vegetables to it. More veggies make it soft and delicious. My mum use to make it on the sigri, she would also put hot coal on the lid on top of the pan to get that bottom and top crunchy layer. Poonam the pan version is usually called Dangella.

  4. Handvo looks so scrumptious Poonam. It is so nutritious and filling.Beautifully explained .

  5. Handvo is in my wish list Poonam, you gave clear recipe with step by step pics and tips it's very useful. Handvo looks very tasty with inviting texture.

  6. One of my favorite recipe of all time because it has all the dals as well one can add any veggies to it. I too make something similar to you both in pan and bake. The handvo with the tempering looks tempting.

  7. Handvo looks delicious Poonam. Loved this healthy and yummy savoury cake. You made it healthy by using bottle gourd and other vegetables. Thanks for the lovely words for me.

  8. Recently made handvo and we completely loved it. So healthy with lot of vegetables and dal. Yours look so delicious and perfectly made

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