Friday, 25 June 2010

Savoury Lentil Cake / Handvo

My balcony is no longer mine.

Well ... it has never been mine for that matter. The small ledge is the bane of all good in my life ... read a little time spent on the balcony every evening ... or stand a while to enjoy the rains spray.

But no ... there are other important living beings who have laid claims on my property long back. They are our feathered 'friends'. Honestly .. am in a good mind to refer to them as foes henceforth.

First it were the pigeons. Amongst the fast paced real estate boom ... read numerous flats and buildings coming up ... they zero in on my balcony! After a good number of days spent fighting among themselves .. the most able and fittest get hold of the ledge. I wonder if this should give me some consolation regarding free security.

And then comes a longish time of having a baby ... nurturing it ... teaching it to fly. All through this ... dare I step into the balcony, the parents flutter about ... if I sit on the swing ... one of them will sit right across me on the railing and stare pointedly ... till I give up and go in.

Now this corner of mine has been taken up by two Shaliks ( in Bengali ). I had tried sealing the ledge with newspapers and thermocol boxes .. the enterprising pair scraped away part of the thermocol with their beaks and made a door ... and got a home!

The eggs have hatched and I can already hear the faint chirps and the parents are busy throughout the day carrying strugging insects in their beaks to feed the babies.

I love to be with my greens ... with the monsoon clouds and rain all over ... ok .. I have exactly three pots and 9 plants among them ... so what? I still love to be among my greens.

But no ... the moment I step there ... am shooed off with the best expletives in birdie language ... punctuated with screeches that go zzzzzzinggg .... right thru one ear and out the other. No ... they are not afraid of me or fly away ... it is I who has to give in ... always.

But at least they do not dirty the balcony as the horrid pigeons do.

I had planted exactly 15 saplings of Pui / Poi / Malabar spinach ... out of which only this many survived. DH sniggers everytime I water them or fuss around them ... mentioning something about a butcher taking care of a kid ... waiting.
Well ... I hope I get enough leaves on these so as not to feel guilty even if I do chop off a few for my Chorchori.

A few days back I had made the Dal Panchmela, and since I never measure stuff I am using for cooking I got some soaked dals left.

I usually grind them to a batter and make dosas or adai. But was in no mood to stand in the kitchen and fry one dosa after the other for a long long time.
So threw in a few things that came to my mind while grinding the batter and set it in the oven to bake.

Out came a savoury cake that we relished with tea that rainy evening. It is something close to a Handvo ... but I did check out the recipes for it ... and decided not to call this a Handvo for purists' sake.

This Savoury Lentil Cake came out very fluffy and spicy. Loved every bit of it.

Need :
A mix of 5 dals (Tuvar, Urad, Masoor, Chana, Moong ) soaked together
Fresh Coconut ( optional )
Fresh green chillies
Jeera / Cumin seeds
A pinch of Hing / Asafoetida
Baking Powder
Salt to taste
Lemon juice
A little water
A little cooking oil

Feel free to use whatever spices you want to ... I could not think of much.

How to :
Grind the dals with the coconut, jeera and the green chillies.

Add the hing, lemon juice, salt and baking powder to the batter.

Line a baking bowl with a little cooking oil.
Pour in the batter and bake at 150 degrees C for around 20 minutes.

Remove and cool.

Cut to pieces and serve hot or warm.

I had both my Peanut chutney and our very favourite Onion Chutney in the fridge ... enjoyed with both. And a hot mugga. :-)

Enjoy all !


  1. Delicious, I have never heard of Handvo, but whatever it is, it must be great. I do not enjoy sweets at all. These kinds of things, with a hot cup of tea, is just my thing!

  2. Like I mentioned before, you have a way with words...a very light delightful way, much like the lentil cake....take up writing for good.....i am sure you will never face writer's block

  3. Love the way you cook on your feet. Can picture the shalik giving you a glare. I've stopped now but in our earlier flat had a 'garden' of six pots at the ledge of the door

  4. lovely post again... love your birdie foe stories! The savoury cake cooks awesome, unique one too...

  5. I love your ledge, birds and the plants. I understand perfectly when you say, you spend time among your plants.

    This savory cake is a sure fire winner, will be bookmarked for winter time.

  6. Maybe its because your more balcony looks more inviting than others:)
    I hv been wanting to try haandvo for many days now, telepthy again

  7. Lovely pictures and lentil cake sounds interesting!Do visit mine when time permits..

  8. that's a new recipe..i wonder how the cake tastes when all the five lentils mix together..which lentil stands out?

  9. Aparna ... it is not the real Handvo per se ... but is great by itself with a hot cuppa. :-)

    Lol Sunetra. :-)

    Kalyan ... the screeches are far worsethan the glares. :-)

    Right Somoo ... foes they indeed are. :-)

    Try it Indo ... quick and tasty. :-)

    ;-) Rashmi. Give this a go ... it is not the real handvo ... but tastes great. :-)

    Thanks Padhu! :-)

    None ... CBI. The spices do though. :-)

  10. What a delicious idea, Sharmila.
    Loved your story about your balcony visitors. A bird recently built her nest under our deck and I can hear the babies cheep-cheeping away all day-- such a beautiful sound. I always feel a little honored when they choose my home :)

  11. Bhaggyish dui shalik, ami ekta shalik dekhe bhabchilam "ek na dui". Amra chotobelay bishon shaalik er upor dependent chilam, "two for joy", na hole i mone dukkho.

    Tomar balcony ta bhari sundor

    Ei "lentil cake" ta darun idea. Ami handvo kheyechi, kintu korini, eita ekdin kortei hobey

  12. Right Vaishali ... pigeons I can understand ... but when small birds as these trust us enough, we should feel honoured. :-)

    Ami toh ekhono dependent oder opore Sandeepa. :p
    Darao ... tomar jonne duto r snap post kore debo .. tulte parle holo. :-)

  13. Dear Sharmila
    How are you?
    Very nice description of your friends' or Foes' activities ha ha .
    This is a very new thing for me..I will try surely once I am back home
    Have a nice sunday

  14. Sharmila this is one amazing creation :-) what an idea. a combination of dosa and dhokla and dhoka and what not .. but way easier and i bet more delicious than each of the others. to be tried soon.

    amaro onek pui beriyechey. barite pot e chilo shara bochor. for some reason it dried up and I had dumped out the soil in the yard and in less than a week the corner is green with new plants!!

    I love all your feathered friends post. so sweet and it must be so fulfilling to experience the entire cycle of life inspite of the angry looks and poop ;-)

    PS: tomar blog e last koekdin dhore comment rakhte parchina.. lets see if this works.

  15. I thought it looked like handvo. Good way of making use of lentils.

    I can tolerate any birds except pigeons! They make a mess all the time and populate so easily apart from spread diseases.

    And what do you mean by so what? I do not have a single plant and I have grown up with vegetable patches and gardens! It is good that you have managed to grow so many plants in your balcony.

    Hey, why did you give up milk? Curious.

  16. Sharmila - this reminds me of the pair of shaaliks who invade my workspace everyday screeching or biscuits and peck on the window pane if I dont oblige ! BTW I love the daal cake and both the chutneys - I make a variation of the tomato but use dhania patta instead :)

  17. Thanks Ushnishda, Vanamala! :-)

    Arey Soma ... ami ei bhabe i dhoka banai ... oshob ek ghonta dhore kosha amar daara hoye na. ;-)
    Amar pui gulo akash chunte choleche .. like the proverbial bean stalk .. ki kore je kete khai bujhte parchi na. :-)

    Glad to see you here again dear Harini. I agree with the pigeons .. they are a horror.
    I had planted these just so I could eat them .. but now am having second thoughts ... I love them so. :-)
    Did I mention anywhere am off milk? Can't remember ... but yes ... due to my kidney stones am off all calcium related products right now. :-)

    Ami jantam na shalik gulo emon bhabe posha hote pare Eve di!
    Ami boka jhoka korle o boshe boshe shone. :-)
    Dhania patta in chutney sounds wonderful! :-)

  18. I love handvo..ufff u reminded me that i havent had this in a lonnnng to make some soon!

  19. Ota ki pui shaak? Ek din chorchhori bana-o na iilish maach diye.

  20. pui pui pui! oh no Sharmila, eta kee korle. where will i get pui n Sydney, now :(

  21. Like everyone else I enjoyed your bird saga tremendously. It is amazing how even birds feel protective towards their babies. Proves their is 'pran' in every living creature. And though I myself have a bird fobia, I admire your courage to go out on the balcony and try to water the plants. I would not step foot in it, i am that scared of birds!

    Love the lentil cake. Got to remember this when I have adai batter left over. :)

  22. Am waiting for your authentic Handvo Parita. :-)

    As soon as I get some Ilish Pree ... promise. :-)

    Amar o ei obostha chilo KG. I got so desparate that got some saplings from my trip home recently. Kichu pathiye debo? :-)

    Thanks Jaya! I thought it should be the other way 'round ... and I feel slightly proud that these birds are not afraid of me.
    I do go out and help them when they have difficulties like low light, climbing to the nest, water, food, etc. etc. :-)

  23. Hi Sharmila,
    This looks so yummy! got to try thisA!


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