Throughout my childhood, my mother treated us to a delicious snack that made chai-time a favorite because of the Ondhvo, fresh out of the oven. We could barely wait for extended baking time to conclude so we could get our hands on the baked delicacy, and yet my mother insisted it had to stay in the oven until it cooled. The aroma that wafted through the house would linger for days, and would tease our taste buds. We would sit and wait patiently.
Ondhvo (also called Handvo) is a mix of lentils, vegetables and spices that is usually enjoyed as an afternoon snack with a cup of chai, or can be had with a meal, or as breakfast. Incredibly versatile, I usually sneaked some in throughout the day. Because it is baked, it lasts for days and travels extremely well. Of course, I follow my mother’s recipe because no one makes it as good as her, and now my own kids are enjoying Ondhvo, and are building their own memories around this delicious, healthy and ever so satisfying dish. I hope you also enjoy this very special recipe.
2 cups coarsely ground dry chana dal and rice (mix available in most indian stores)
1 cup yogurt
½ cup shredded white/bottle gourd or zucchini
¼ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ fresh or dried fenugreek leaves
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 tbsp Oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried mango powder
2 tsp sweetener, such as cane sugar or agave syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large dried red chili
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander/cumin powder
¼ cup brown or white sesame seeds
- Combine yogurt and dry lentil and rice mix. Leave overnight at room temperature.
- Heat oil in a wide skillet.
- Add the cinnamon, cloves, red chilies, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and cumin, and allow to crackle. Add asafetida.
- Add curry leaves and immediately add the onions. Sautee for a minute and add ginger, garlic.
- Once the mixture begins to brown, add the carrots, bottle gourd, fenugreek leaves, cilantro, and gently stir in.
- Begin to add salt, turmeric, coriander-cumin powder, dry mango powder, and sweetener. Once everything is fully heated and sautéed for a couple of minutes, turn off stove. Vegetables should not be cooked through yet.
- Allow the mixture to cool. Combine the vegetable and spice mix with the soaked lentil and yogurt mix.
- Taste for a balanced taste and adjust as necessary. Consistency should be that of a thick pancake batter. Stir in the baking powder
- Oil a wide, flat bottom pan. Gently pour mixture into the pan. Flatten out and top with the sesame seeds. Coat evenly.
- Bake in the oven at 325F for about an hour. Check to see if it’s done in the middle by inserting a bread knife and lifting out a piece. If needed cook further in 15 minute increments.
- When almost done, turn off oven and allow the Ondhvo to stay in the oven until it cools.
- Serve warm or room temperature with a side of cilantro chutney and chai of course!