Ondhwa or handvoh Spicy Lentil Cake

Ondhwa or handvoh Spicy Lentil Cake is made with a mixture of lentil and rice flour.  Most Indian shops sell this mixture as “Ondhwa mix”.  This dish was very popular among Gujaratis who lived in East Africa.   It’s usually served as a snack with tea and chutney.  In my opinion, it is a meal on its own as it has all the lentils and rice plus the vegetables and yoghurt.  Its another versatile dish which can be served hot or cold at any time.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 5 cups of Ondhwa flour ( or lentils such as Urad dall, chana dall,  tuverdall and rice flour soaked overnight and blended).
  • 1 cup semolina
  • half cup strong wheat flour
  • 1 cup yoghurt preferably sour (if not, you can always add lemon to the yoghurt.
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 cup white & purple cabbage (optional)
  • 1 or 2 fresh green chillies chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon soda bicarbonate


Overnight Preparation:

1. Mix the Ondhwa flour, plus the semolina and strong flour with sour yoghurt and some warm water to form a firm mixture. Cover it and keep it overnight in a warm place.

2. The next day: Grate the potatoes, onions, white & purple cabbage and carrots and add them to the Ondhwa mixture. ( You can also add a grated marrow or zuchini also if you wish – any vegetables that can cook well and provide moisture to the mixture can be added).   Add in the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Add the salt and turmeric. Mix it all together.
3.  Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan.  Add the mustard seeds, cloves and cinnamon to the oil. Add a tablespoon of sesame seeds to the oil.  Once the mustard seeds stop popping, pour the hot oil over the ondhwa mixture and stir well.

4.   Mix the soda bicarbonate with a half cup of warm water and add to the mixture.  The mixture should start to rise.

5. Transfer the mixture into a very well greased baking tray. Sprinkle the remaining sesame on top of the mixture. Bake at 170 degrees for 30 minutes and 150 degrees for 20 minutes.  Check that the ondhwa is cooked by putting a knife in the middle of the Ondhwa.  The knife should come out clean. If not cooked, give it a few more minutes.   The top should look fairly dark when the Ondhwa is cooked.
6.  Ondhwo will be crispy on the outside but lovely and firm on the inside.  It can be served with yoghurt and coconut chutney or with coriander and chilly chutney.