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Ondhwa or Handvoh - Spicy Lentil Cake

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“This dish 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. It's dish which can be served hot or cold at any time. It's great for picnics. The flour used in this recipe is called "Ondhwa flour" and available in most Indian grocers. It's made from a mixture of lentils such as Urad dall, chana dall, tuverdall and rice flour . This mixture can also be made at home by mixing these ingredients and then soaking them overnight in water and then blending them finely) Years ago, housewives in East Africa used to have to spend a lot of time preparing their lentils and flours at home. At the end of the month, housewives used to soak up their left over lentils and rice and blend them with yogurt and cooked a kind of a bread ( similar to sour dough bread) which later got very popular because of its taste.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Method:.
  2. Overnight Preparation:.
  3. Mix the Ondhwa flour , plus the semolina and strong flour with yoghurt to form a firm mixture. Cover it and keep it overnight in a warm place. This enables the ondhwa flour to ferment.
  4. On the next day:.
  5. Grate the potatoes, onions and carrots. 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). Blend the ginger, garlic and green chillies in a mixer or blender and add to the mixture . Add the salt and turmeric. Mix it all together in a fairly large saucepan or basin.
  6. 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.
  7. Mix the sodabicarbonate with a half cup of warm water and add this to the mixture. The mixture will start to rise (Hence the need for using a large saucepan or basin).
  8. Transfer the mixture into a very well greased baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds on top of the mixture and bake at 170 degrees for 30 minutes and 150 degrees for 10 minutes. Check that it's cooked by putting a knife in the middle of the ondhwa. If the knife comes out dry - the ondhwa is cooked. If not - give it an extra 5-10 minutes. The top of the Ondhwa should look fairly dark when it is cooked.Ondhwo will be crispy on the outside but lovely and firm on the inside.
  9. This can be served with yoghurt and coconut chutney or with coriander and chilly chutney.

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