Vegetable-Stuffed Snack Cakes

January 24, 2018
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 6–8
Author Notes

This is inspired by a popular savory cake called handvo from the region of Gujarat. I was just recently introduced to this cuisine, and I am in love.
This is usually eaten as a snack, and I enjoy it during breakfast. I almost always make them in muffin pans to send them off in my boys’ lunch boxes with some dip. It’s full of vegetables, and tastes as good hot as at room temperature.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Masala & Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup (120g) coarse semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) chickpea flour
  • 1 cup (240g) yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) baking powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 inch (2.5cm) piece ginger, grated
  • 3 green chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (70g) peas
  • 1/2 cup (40g) shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup (8g) cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
  • 1/3 cup (43g) sesame seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform cake pan, mini tart pans or muffin tins. Alternatively, you can steam this.
  2. In a sauté pan, fry the semolina flour over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until it’s a pale golden color. Do not brown it too much. Add the chickpea flour and toast it for 2 minutes, until you smell a nutty aroma. Turn off the heat and transfer the flours to a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, ½ tablespoon (4 g) of the baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) of the salt and lemon juice. Mix well and let it sit while you get the vegetables ready.
  4. Peel the carrot and onion and dice them finely. Dice the bell pepper (or use a food processor). Combine the toasted flours and remaining 1/2 tablespoon (4 g) baking powder in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and blend well.
  5. Warm the ghee in a pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafetida, grated ginger and finely chopped chiles. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the chopped vegetables, peas, cabbage, cilantro and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook just for a couple of minutes; the vegetables should still be crunchy. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
  6. Once the veggies are completely cooled, add them to the semolina mixture and blend everything well. The batter should be thick. Check for salt. Add the warm water to the batter and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Sprinkle generously with the sesame seeds. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2) and bake for 45 to 60 minutes longer for a large cake or 20 to 25 minutes longer for mini tarts or muffins. Alternatively, you can pour some water into a deep wok, place a stand inside, pour the batter into a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan, cover and steam for 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. The cake is ready when it is a dark brown color and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan, cut into slices and serve warm or cold. This is delicious with a green chutney, pesto or any sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • msmely
  • jan
  • Muni
  • Nora Signer
    Nora Signer

10 Reviews

msmely May 18, 2018
So good!! Replaced the cabbage with 1/2 cup of corn kernels and the red bell pepper with about 3 large medium-hot red chiles because it is what I had on hand. Added in a tsp of nigella seeds because I love seeds. Didn't have asafoetida so I used garlic instead. Very colourful and full of veggies.

I don't understand why the recipe directions say to mix the baking soda in with the acid (lemon juice and yogurt) and then leave it to sit. The baking soda will react with the acid and then the bubbles will escape and the leavener becomes pointless especially since you are adding another 4g of baking soda at the dry + wet stage. I wanted lots of lift for my batter so I added all 8g at the dry + wet stage (step 6) and got a nice amount of puff. Cakes were fluffy and moist! I got about a dozen muffin-sized cakes with a little extra left over (maybe enough for 2-3 more muffins) that I baked in a little dish.
tia September 26, 2018
I had the same thought but I, foolishly, followed the recipe. What do I know? Maybe it's some special technique. But no. They were flat as pancakes. Still pretty tasty, and if I'd undercooked them they'd have been kind of custardy, which might have been nice. But this kind of mistake in a cookbook? Really? I'm also not sure why you'd use baking powder and not baking soda. There's plenty of acid in there to activate the baking soda.
jan February 2, 2018
Thank you for a savory breakfast!
Nora S. February 2, 2018
To replace the semolina flour in order to be gluten free, I'm thinking of 1/2 cup (60 grams) each of corn meal and gluten free flour, or alternatively, 1/2 and 1/2 of corn meal and brown rice flour. Any comments or suggestions? Thank you!
msmely May 18, 2018
You might want to look at the original flour for making handvo (handwa flour) which is usually rice and lentil flour in a particular ratio. I am not sure if the ratio would be right if you substituted rice flour for semolina straight across.
Theresia A. February 2, 2018
Can this be frozen?
Vandana February 2, 2018
Yes! For at least two weeks.
Theresia A. February 2, 2018
Thank you. They sound yummy!
Muni January 31, 2018
My mom often makes this savory cake & serves with a tomato garlic chutney
I was intrigued by your recipe as you toasted the semolina and added chickpea flour as well (not an ingredient she adds in her recipe)
I thought it turned out fabulous. I will definitely make this again using your recipe !
Muni February 4, 2018
Sorry had to figure out the measurements for the recipe as I just throw everything together.

1 can (398ml) of tomatoe sauce or crushed tomatoes (I used the Kirkland
Signature brand - organic low sodium)
1 tablespoon olive oil
I teaspoon very finely chopped garlic or garlic paste
1 small shallot finely chopped
1/4 tsp citric acid or 2 tbsps fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (optional, I don’t add any salt )
1/2 tsp chili flakes or 1/2 tsp chili powder

In a small pot heat the oil, add garlic & shallot, cook long enough to infuse the oil with a garlic aroma (don’t let that garlic burn ! )
Next add the rest of the ingredients, cover let it simmer for approximately 8-10 mins on low heat. Give it a quick stir every few minutes )

Serve cooled with the handvo.
Store any left over chutney in the refrigerator.