Handvo is a Gujarathi dish usually made of different lentils and rice/riceflour along with bottlegourd/lauki and other optional veggies like carrots,cabbage etc.I was more used to dhokla and was pleasantly surprised to know about Handvo which is a savoury baked cake. Unlike the dhokla which is steamed,handvo is baked in a hot oven. Though the original/traditional preparation takes around 2 days including the soaking and fermenting time,instant mixes and also handvo flour are available. But I found an Farali handvo recipe in an old issue of UpperCrust Gourmet magazine where it is made using buckwheat flour -kuttu ka atta as it is known here and is done under 3 hours!.
Farali recipes are fasting recipes or dishes/snacks consumed during fasting time which usually falls in the month of Shravan or Shraavana.I have heard that in Mumbai and few Northern cities the eateries stock up on the fasting snacks.While fasting few ingredients are to be avoided and traditionally you have to follow certain rituals.You can get an idea of fasting recipes from here.
I hve just jotted down the recipe in UpperCrust and it is supposed to be a part of Farali Thali by a Gujarathi Restaurant (Swathi Snacks?! not sure of the name).I am not sure of the name of the restaurant and have just followed the recipe I have written down.
Buckwheat Flour :3/4 cup
Sour Curd: 1/2 cup
Water :as needed (optional)
Bottle Gourd (Lauki): grated 1/2 cup
Salt: as per Taste
Ginger Chili Paste: 1 tsp +/-
Eno Salt: 1/2 tsp
Veg oil: 2 tsp +/-
Sesame seeds :preferably white though I used mixed.
Combine flour,salt,ginger -green chilli paste,grated lauki together with sour curd together.The batter should be thick but pourable.If too thick you can add little water in tbsps to make it pourable.Lauki/gourd gives off water when mixed with salt.So do not add too much water.I did not add any water at all.
Let it sit for 2 hours for the flavours to blend and the batter to ferment.
After 2 hours,add Eno Fruit Salt and pour into an 8" square baking dish.Before doing this,do the taste test and adjust the salt and the spiciness.Prepare the seasoning by heating oil and adding cumin and sesame.When the seeds splutter and flavours the oil,pour it over the batter in the dish.Make sure you pour the seasoning evenly unlike me!
Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.Mine was done in 25 minutes though the recipe suggested 45.Keep an eye on it after 20 minutes.You can see the dish pulling out from the sides/edges of the baking dish and the crust getting brownish.
Cut into squares and serve warm with coriander chutney or any other choice of accompaniments.
The dish tasted spicy and is perfect as an evening snack.It is very filling as well and you can also add different coloured veggies to it.I had just followed the recipe as written and had added just gourd.Handvo is not that spongy when compared to the dhokla.Or it could be because this one is made with buckwheat.Do check up the few from-scratch recipes of handvo of Tarla Dalal here and also Meera's handvo made with flour.If you have any more information or ideas about handvo please do share here.