Handvo / Tapelu / A spicy, oven-baked, Indian, vegetable cake

I will share with you today, the recipe for Handvo which we also know as Tapelu.

This dish (although known as a form of comfort food) is made of rice, lentils and vegetables so, in effect, is like an all encompassing dish nutritionally - proteins from the lentils, carbohydrates from the rice and fibre, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.

Here is what a slice of the final dish should look like:

(serves 6 to 8 people)


For the cake:

2 mugs of rice
0.75 mug tuvar dal (available in all Indian grocery stores)
4 tbsps sunflower oil
3 large tbsps whole Greek yogurt
1.25 mugs cold water
1 medium carrot (washed, peeled and grated (in the large hole))
2 medium courgettes/zucchinis (washed, peeled and grated (in the large hole))
1 big onion (red or white, washed, peeled and chopped into small cubes)
0.5 mug petit pois/peas (washed from frozen)
2 spring onions/scallions (washed and finely chopped)
2 heaped tbsps fresh ginger (washed, peeled and finely grated)
2 large, heaped tbsps ground, green chillies (washed, take off the stem and grind into a fine paste in a chopper)
1 level tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsps salt (add more at the end if you need to - taste the batter before you bake it)
2 heaped tbsps ENO (this is a fruit salt available to buy from any Indian grocery)
2 handfuls of white sesame seeds

For the Tadka: (you will have to make 2 batches of this - one to go in the batter and one on top before baking)

For one batch:

3 tbsps sunflower oil
3 tsps mustard seeds
3 tsps sesame seeds
1 pinch asafoetida

To make the Tadka:

In a small vessel, heat the oil and add in the above ingredients. Cook until the seeds start to pop and set aside. The first batch can go straight into the batter that has been standing for 6 hours and you can make the next batch when you have put the batter into the baking tray, ready to put in the oven. (The second batch will be drizzled on top.)


1. Grind the rice and tuvar dal separately in a powerful mixer grinder until they are the texture of semi-fine cornmeal - not too powdery and not to grainy.

2. In a large bowl or dish, mix the ground rice and tuvar dal together until they are well mixed. This will form the base for the vegetable cake batter mix.

3. Make a well in the mixture and add in the sunflower oil. Combine the oil well into the rice and dal mixture.

4. Add in the Greek yogurt and the 1.25 mugs of cold water and stir until well combined.

5. Cover the large bowl/dish with a lid and leave it out on a kitchen work surface in a cool place for 5 to 6 hours.

6. Lightly oil a clean, large baking tray and line the tray with aluminium foil. Also oil the foil. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celcius. Make sure that all of your ingredients are prepared as per the instructions to save your oven from over heating.

NB: The baking tray used in this recipe was 2 inches deep and 25cms wide by 40cms long

7. In the batter that has been standing for 6 hours, add in one batch of the tadka and mix well.

8. Then add in the carrots, courgettes, onions, peas and spring onions and mix until well combined.

9. Add in the ginger, green chillies, turmeric and salt. Mix well again until combined.

10. Add in the ENO (fruit salt) and mix the batter well for the final time.

11. Pour the batter into the well oiled baking tray (lined with the also lightly oiled aluminium foil) and sprinkle on evenly the 2nd batch of tadka. Also, evenly sprinkle on 2 handfuls of white sesame seeds.

12. Place the baking tray into the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake the handvo/tapelu for 15 minutes on high heat (250C). Turn the heat down to 180 degrees C and cook for a further 16 to 18 minutes.

13. As soon as you see a nice golden brown crust on top of the handvo/tapelu, take it out of the oven. Like when you test a cake, if you insert a knife into the handvo/tapelu and it comes out clean, you know it is ready to serve.

14. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down for at least 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

So there you have it my friends! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out!

'Til next time ... enjoy!
Bon appetit! xx


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