Saturday 28 April 2012


I am sitting with my eyes closed thanking Almighty for all that is. On opening them & getting accustomed to the glitter around, I see Pundit ji approaching me. 'Ben aap bahut shraddha se dhyan kar rahin hain, maine dekha. Aap seva karengi?' Never pass by any mauka of a seva, service. On replying in the affirmative, I am shown into the adjacent room where 3-4 devotees are rolling pooris. Life tests you where you are the most vulnerable. I try hard to make my pooris round. Every map-shape that comes about is surreptitiously kept aside. Tired of the hide & seek, I shame myself into making round pooris. You may have the highest academic degree, you may be that driven corporate diva but there is no credit in not knowing the basics of life. 
The early morning calm gives way to the daytime bustle, the 3-4 devotees are joined by more than twenty, fifty, as the day proceeds. I had gone there for an hour. I come home only by evening. That day all of us together made pooris of 400kg aata! It was the Ganapati visarjan taiyyari going on in the Jalaram temple. This temple in our vicinity houses all Gods. Two things happen as a result. The temple attracts devotees from all faiths, not just Gujaratis. Two, it confuses people because of its lack of exclusivity. If you are used to a kali badi or a Shiva temple, this place is not for you. Because there are almost all idols here, you may not like sharing space with the ones you don't worship. Paradoxes of life. 
                                                                                               Pundit ji ensures that I am given enough prasad to see us through next morning's breakfast. This visit finds us volunteering for the Ganesh visarjan & we are appointed coach in-charges. We manage all that with Ganapati bappa's kripa and have a field day in Southend-on-Sea. I learn two new Gujarati dishes that day. Mohan Thal & Handvo. Veena ben, gives me the measures of the ingredients unlike what most mothers do. The andaz thing doesn't work for her daughters. She learnt measures so she could teach her Brit born girls the right way to cook their traditional fare. Definitely helps a novice.
1. 1 packet(500gm)Handvo/Ondhwa Mix 
2. Mixed vegetables finely chopped(see pic)
3. 1-2 tsp ginger+ garlic finely chopped 
4. 1 cup curd
5. 1-2 tsp sesame(til) seeds
6.  2-3 dry red chillies
7. 1/2 cup refined oil(for batter)+ 1tbsp for seasoning
8. 1 cup water
1. Add curd, oil & water to the handvo mix and keep aside for 10-15 mins. The mixture will rise.
2. Splutter sesame seeds & dry red chillies in hot oil.  Add this to the mixture.

3. Add the chopped vegetable to the mixture & pour into greased trays.

4. Bake handvo at 160° C for 25-30 mins in a pre-heated oven.

Remove from tray when handvo cools, cut it into pieces & serve hot with ketchup or green chutney.  

This savoury cake is an excellent breakfast/snack item. And very healthy what with all the vegetables that go into it. Use bottle gourd, doodhi, for additional softness. Tastes heavenly.
                                                                                                   Thank you Veena ben. Jai Jalaram!  
                                                                                                     This was Richa's handvo pack, Leela, your turn next :)                       

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