It’s amazing how a few simple ingredients like chickpea flour (besan), buttermilk, and salt can turn into a delectable delicacy. Everyone in India is familiar with the Gujarati Khaman-Dhokla. Khandvi is equally popular in Gujarat and Maharashtra but has somehow managed to have a slightly elevated status. I think this is because there is that suspense involved in getting the mixture to the right consistency before spreading it and each strip of has to be individually and carefully rolled. Of course the end result is worth all the effort. Soft, slithery rolls of khandvi smotherd with oil, mustard seeds, coconut and cilantro are indeed difficult to resist. Even though Khandvi has a “complicated and difficult to make” reputation, it is actually quite an easy and fun dish to make.
This recipe is tried and true and will make absolutely authentic and delicious 30 rolls of Khandvi in about 35 minutes. Of course, no multi-tasking, not even minor distractions allowed. Keep all ingredients ready, on the counter before starting. There are 5 steps. Mixing, cooking, spreading, rolling and vaghar.
Preparation: clean and dry the surface on which you will spread the batter. Kitchen counter with granite will work very well. Otherwise, use the back of a cookie sheet or a big thali, smeared with about 1/2 tea spoon of oil. If using granite counter top, no need to oil the surface.
For the batter:
- 1 cup besan
- 1 tea spoon salt
- ¼ tea spoon turmeric
- 1 cup water + 2 cups sour buttermilk OR 1.5 cups sour yoghurt/dahi + 1.5 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 tea spoon red chili powder
- 1 thai green chili + ½ inch of grated ginger; both made into a very fine paste
- 3 table spoon oil
- 2 tea spoons mustard seeds/rai
- 1/2 tea spoon asafoetida/hing
- ½ tea spoon red chili powder
- 1 tea spoon sesame seeds/til (optional)
- 1.5 table spoon dry coconut powder (optional)
- 2 table spoons finely chopped cilantro/hara dhaniya/leela dhana
Step 1 (mixing): Mix the batter ingredients and blend with a hand blender or an electric blender for 3 minutes.
Step 2 (cooking): In a non-stick fry pan, about 10 inches wide, add 1 table spoon oil. Add the batter and cook on medium-low flame stirring constantly. You will see the batter coagulating, but keep stirring the batter with the back of a spatula or ladle to keep the batter smooth. This step will take about 10 minutes.
Step 3 (spreading): On a smooth surface or on the back of a big cookie sheet, smear oil. When the batter is ready after 10 minutes, pour 2 ladleful batter on the surface and spread the batter in a circular fashion as if you are making dosa. You will have to press the back of the ladle firmly on the surface to get thin and even strips. Do this for the rest of the batter.
Step 4 (rolling): Cut strips with a dinner knife such that you have 2’’ by 5’’ strips. Roll the strips from the 2’’ side and arrange neatly in a serving dish.
Step 5 (vaghar/tadka): Heat 3 table spoons oil and do a vaghar of mustard seeds/rai, sesame seeds (optional) and hing. Take it off the stove and add 1/4 tea spoon red chili powder. With a tea spoon, spread the vaghar over the khandvis making sure each khandvi gets a nice coating of the vaghar. Sprinkle dry coconut powder and cilantro.