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Handvo - Savoury Lentil Cake

A nutritious and delicious savoury breakfast or tea time treat
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 6


  • 150 g rice flour
  • 50 g arhar or toor dal split pigeon peas
  • 50 g chana dal split Bengal gram
  • 50 g yellow moong dal hulled green gram or yellow mung
  • 150 g plain yogurt beaten
  • 1 tbsp green chilli paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 150 g carrot grated
  • 150 g bottlegourd or calabash/zucchini grated and squeezed to remove extra water
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp hing asafoetida
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp any vegetable oil


  • Wash and soak the dals in plenty of water for at least 5 hours. Drain well and grind the dals with the yoghurt to a smooth, batter-like consistency in a food processor. Try not to use any water to loosen the mixture while grinding.
  • Pour the mixture into a large bowl and mix in the rice flour, chilli powder, turmeric powder, chilli and ginger pastes, grated vegetables, sugar and salt till no lumps remain.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan till quite hot. Add the curry leaves, turn off the heat, pour into the batter and mix well.
  • Cover and leave the batter to ferment overnight or for 6-7 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 ℃ and while the oven is heating, pour 2 tbsps oil to coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet, and leave it to heat in the oven.
  • Gently mix in the soda bicarb into the batter taking care not to overmix.
  • Once the oven is hot, carefully remove the heated cast iron pan from the oven and pour in the batter and bake for35-40 mins. When the handvo has baked for about 25 mins, heat the remaining oil in a pan and crackle the mustard and sesame seeds. Pour this over the almost-done handvo and brown at 200 ℃ for a further 5 -10 minutes till the top is golden and you get a clean toothpick.


Prep time does not include time for soaking the lentils and fermenting the batter.