Food and travel are closely connected with each other. When people move from their hometown, state or country to explore greener pastures, they carry lot more than their belongings with them. Food plays an important role in opening our hearts and minds to new relationships. Mingling with our neighbours is one of the best ways to welcome a new food variety and culture in our homes. This is how I was introduced to this wonderful dish, handvo.
Gujrati food is as special to me as the lovely Gujrati people I have in my life. Handvo is primarily a savoury Gujrati cake made in a pan/cooker with gram flour and bottle gourd as the main ingredients. Other vegetables can also be added to it as per choice. It is somewhat tricky to make and involves incredible patience and some skill. It can be an entire meal in itself and doesn’t need any accompaniments as such.
I admit that I wasn’t familiar with the word handvo until I got married. A’s grandfather had rented out a part of their bungalow to a Gujrati family. Over time my mother-in-law developed a warm bond with them and, a remarkable cook herself, learned quite a few signature Gujrati dishes too. I looked forward to it with anticipation but was completely bowled over when I had it for the first time! 🙂
She readily shared the recipe when I requested for it. She also suggested some tweaks to the original one and asked me to try making it with rava/semolina batter instead. The gram flour could be done away with completely. Soaking rava with buttermilk overnight allowed it to ferment well enough for a handvo breakfast. The tadka deserved a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and curry leaves for an extra crunchy texture. I’ve tried both and like the rava version better since its healthier and doesn’t feel dry.
“Try using oil like I do in my cooking” she also told me kindly. It was in reality a euphemism for ‘don’t make it if you want to go on diet’. 😀 Interestingly, I agree with her. The sides must be well-lubricated, with oil in this case, to turn the cake over in the pan. Cute how we easily we can read people and almost predict their behaviour, yes? 😛 Since then she has happily contributed loads to my food knowledge through example and sometimes guidance. I’ve been truly lucky to have two experts (she and Mom) impart their priceless wisdom to me.
Food and our familiarity with it are two things that can help us find respite in the most alien settings. During our recent visit to Ahmedabad we had the best time trying out authentic Gujrati dishes. The subtle sweetness in them sometimes doesn’t agree with my spice-loving palate but that isn’t much of a hindrance. I’m a Marwari settled in Maharashtra and both ways Gujrat is a neighbour. My love for this neighbour’s cuisine and people is consistent, genuine and everlasting. 🙂
Dhokla, patra and fafda are more commonly associated with Gujrat. Have you tried handvo? Did you like it? Share with me.
This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z and #AtoZChallenge for April 2019