What is Ondhwa or Hanvo?Ondhwa is a savoury lentil cake. It's one of those dishes all East Africans love making as it's one of those easy to make one pot meals which can be eaten as a main meal or a snack. It's often made from a blend of lentil flours and rice and everyone has their traditional recipe. Most Indian shops sell this mixture as "Ondhwa mix". Traditionally, ondhwa is made by soaking the lentil flour mixture overnight in yogurt. Fermentation takes place and when the ondhwa is baked in the oven-it turns out like a tasty savory cake. This is my recipe for making traditional Gujarati ondhwa.Ondhwa mix:Most Indian shops sell this flour mixture as “Ondhwa mix”. Thereare lots of different brands and I like to buy the ones I am familiar with like this Jalpur Brand. Ondhwa is very popular among Gujaratis who lived in East Africa. Over there, when I was growing up, we didn’t have an oven so used to make ondhwa on a makeshift oven. We used to keep the ondhwa mixture to cook in a saucepan , on a coal jiko and covered the saucepan with a lid which was then covered with charcoal too. It’s one of the best ondhwa I have ever tasted. This Post shows how a cake is baked on a jiko in Kenya.Can Handvo be made vegan?Yes, you can substitute the yogurt for vegan yogurt and add some lemon juice to get the yogurty taste. My recipe for vegan handvo is here. How do you serve Ondhwa?Ondhwa is usually served as a snack with tea and chutney. In my opinion, it is a meal on its own as it has lentils and rice plus you can add a choice of seasonal vegetables marinated in yoghurt.Sesame seeds:You can use any sesame seeds. Classic Ondhwa always has lots of sesame seeds sprinkled on it. I often add some nuts too to give it a bit of a crunch.Today's recipe:This is a traditional recipe where ondhwa flour is left to ferment overnight.
Course: Indian Bread, Snack, snacks
Keyword: handvo, lentil cake, Ondhwa, ondhwo
Author: Mina Joshi
5 cups of Ondhwa flour .
1 cup semolina
½ 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 cup white & purple cabbage (optional)
1 or 2 fresh green chilies chopped finely
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 cup cooking oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 stick of cinnamon
3 or 4 tbls sesame seeds
1 tsp soda bicarbonate
Mix the blended 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.
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 chilies. Add the salt and turmeric. Mix it all together.
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.
Mix the soda bicarbonate with a half cup of warm water and add to the mixture. The mixture should start to rise.
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.