Thursday, April 04, 2013


I used to be very excited about April Fool's day. I would actually spend time thinking about how I would like to fool  my parents.
Maybe it was all those Enid Blyton books I was addicted to. Reading all about how those school going girls tricked their friends and family and teachers would make me yearn to pull one on my near ones too.
Of course I realized that there was no store that sold jokes or trick packs in India and had to 'compromise'.

I would do silly things like, when my parents were getting ready for work, I'd quietly open the main door, ring the bell and close the door ( very quietly, of course) and scuttle off. My Mother or Dad would go to open the door and find no one and I'd shoot out from my hiding place singing, "April fool banaya...". The other trick I had up my sleeve was, during those days ( 80's) MTNL ( the phone company) had a 3 digit number, which when dialed (and after you have hung up) will send a ring back to your telephone. I have no idea behind the logic here, but it was useful in pulling a prank.
I'd dial the number, and scuttle, my parents would come to answer the phone and I'd spring out singing the song, or I would pretend to answer the phone, and call out to my Mom or Dad and inform them that one of their friends was on the phone or my Ajji was on the phone to talk to Mom- here I would pretend that I was asking polite questions etc. and then holler for mom,  they would rush and I would wait till the first "hello" and  start singing the annoying song, again! 

I have no idea if they knew what I was doing, but they played along or they really fell for it. but whatever it was, today it is a sweet memory, one I will always cherish! 
This year, like the last few years, April Fools day was like any other day, wake up, breakfast  school bus, meals, study time, dinner, bed........... 
Maybe one day, my little boy will play a harmless prank and make me laugh out loud, again.
Innocent fun! How I miss those moments.

Not that the recipe I have for you today has anything to do with pranks or April Fool's day. 
I have another Gujarati Classic for you. A wonderful tea-time snack, Ondhwo / handhwo is a savory cake. I guess one can call it that...
It has vegetable content, so it is healthy! Do you need any further persuasion?

Recipe source: Kamini aunty 

You Need:

1 cup Rice
1/4 cup Chana dal
1/4 cup Toor daal 
1 tbsp Urad dal 
1/2 cup Plain, thick Yogurt 
1 inch Ginger piece
2-3 cloves Garlic
1-2 Green chilies ( + / - to suit your taste buds)
2 tsp Sugar ( can substitute with jaggery)
1 tsp Ajwain (Bishops weed)
1/2 tsp Pickle Masala
1 Medium Lauki / Dudhi/ Bottle Gourd, grated
Salt to taste
Few curry Leaves
1-2 Dry Red chilies ( optional)
1 tsp Mustard seeds
~2 tsp ( I did not really measure these, just sprinkled generously) Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Eno/ fruit salt, regular flavor
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Pinch Red chili powder

Wash the rice and daals and soak it for a minimum of 6 to 7 hrs.
Drain all the water the grain was soaked in and coarsely grind using  yogurt- no water. Do not use any water when grinding the rice and daals. 

Then take above mixture in a bowl and add ginger, garlic and green chillies paste and salt, mix thoroughly. Leave it over night.

Next morning add turmeric powder, sugar/ jaggery, ajwain , pickle masal and grated bottle gourd / lauki . 

Mix well . Taste it and adjust seasoning, if needed. 

Heat a small skillet, add 1 tsp oil, once the oil is hot ( not smoking) and add few curry leaves and little red chilli powder . Pour  into the batter.

At this stage, prepare a baking dish, grease it or spray it with oil. Preheat the oven (350 F)
Then add 1 tsp eno to the batter and mix well. Pour the mixture in an oven safe dish/ bakeware 

In the same skillet, make a tadka ( oil , mustard seeds, hing, sesame seeds and 1 or two whole red chillis -if using ). Pour this on the batter.

Now cover the baking dish with aluminium foil and put into preheated oven . Bake for 30 to 40 min until bottom layer is light brown in color. 

Then uncover and broil for 8 to 10 min. Watch  this broiling stage like a hawk.
The top can go from golden brown to charcoal very quickly! 

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then on a cooling rack. 

Slice in wedges and serve with a cup of tea.


Traditionally, bottle gourd is used, however you can add different vegetables, to up the nutritive value. Add petite green peas, grated carrot or corn kernels.

If you have a lump of jaggery that is hard to crumble / grate,  place the lump in a microwave safe bowl, add a tsp water and microwave it for 20-30 seconds.  Add the melted jaggery to the mix.

My friend, Ashwini, has a recipe for Ondhwo that uses Quinoa and flax seed.

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  1. Lovely Pictures!!! One more favorite of mine, though my version is a little different, but a rose is a rose is a rose and the same can be said about Haandvo :)
    My grandmom also used to add Methi to Haandvo...Yumm!! And to make haandvo you can use ready made flour (i think it's available in U.S. but not sure which parts), so that you can skip soaking and save time :)

  2. Heard lot about this handhwo,but never had a chance to eat or try..Pretty attractive dish.

  3. wow! do we grind all the dals and rice seperately or all together is ok?

  4. Thanks Manasi. You are a sweet heart. This is a traditional version while mine is a cheat version. I love love Handwo, except the strings (Grated Lauki) as my Munchkin calls it. The long process is what is essential to a successful Handwo. The list for whenever we meet we cook and eat this is getting longer than expected for us.
    Love Ash.

  5. i have never heard of this or tasted this before...

  6. You definitely were a very naughty kid :)
    I have had this at my friends place many times, but never made one, this has come out perfect!

  7. This is looking very inviting..... Love the pics, never had it though!!!!

  8. Looks yumm!! Oh ages since I made handvo!

  9. I used to play similar April fool's day pranks on my parents too! :)) Your post brought back so many memories, Thanks Manasi.

    The Handvo looks scrumptious! and Congratulations on winning the book 'Prashad', I was so excited to see your name as one of the winners! :)

    - Priti

  10. Yes, those lovely childhood days and all the seriousness that went into planning things like April Fool's days-- amazing, wasn't it? I have been wanting to make handvo for years, but never got around to it. Gujarati food is just so amazing. Love your pictures!


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