Sunday, February 1, 2015


Every time I make Gujrati food, I think of this dialogue from 3 Idiots:

Kareena Kapoor's famous dialogue in 3 Idiots : "Tum Gujararti bade cute hote ho, par tum log ka khana itna khatarnak hyun hota hain - dholka, thepla, fafda, handva - aisa lagta hain koi missiles hain (You Gujjus are so cute, but your cuisine sounds deadly - dholka, thepla, fafda, handva  - they sound like missiles)

Handvo is one of those dishes I only got to try after coming here.  It tasted so good that I have made it a few times.  The only problem is that I am the only one who likes it.  My husband thinks like Kareena Kapoor and won’t eat it at all.  And my youngest stays away from all these dishes. 

Anyway, because I am the only one who eats this at home, I don’t make it often – maybe once in two – three years?  A couple o weeks ago, with vacation winding down, I was losing track of days of the week and forgot that it was Friday  - the day that my milk gets delivered in the morning. 

By the time I realized this, it was late afternoon.  I brought the milk in and even though the outside temperature was well below freezing, wasn’t sure if the milk was good.  I decided to boil some of it and make it into yogurt.  The milk was good, but I ended up with a lot of yogurt.  Since I had just made dhokla, I decided to indulge and make handvo with the extra yogurt.  I now had enough handvo for a few days’ worth of lunch.

I got this recipe from a friend of mine.  It comes out great every time.  I use the Handva flour I get in my Indian store.  There are several recipes online to make this from scratch.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups Handva flour
  • 2 cups sour yogurt
  • 1 medium lauki (bottle gourd)
  • 2 – 3 green chilies, minced
  • 1” piece ginger, grated
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • non-stick spray

For tempering:

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp. hing (asafetida)

Here is how I made it:

  1. Mix the handvo flour with yogurt and salt.  Cover and let it sit overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 400°F.
  3. Peel and grate the lauki (about 2 ½ - 3 cups).
  4. Add all the ingredients listed (except the tempering) along with the lauki to the handvo – yogurt mixture.  Mix well.
  5. Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  6. Pour the prepared mixture into the dish.
  7. Heat oil for tempering. Add mustard seeds
  8. When the seeds sputter, add cumin and sesame seeds.  Add hing.
  9. Once the cumin changes color, pour this gently over the handvo mix.
  10. Bake at 400°F for 30 – 35 minutes, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let it cool completely and then cut it into pieces.

Serve with chutney of your choice.

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