The very first time I saw Khandvi being made at the comfort of a home kitchen was by my mother in law.
Begging bites of this elusive swirls, from my friends in school was a perfectly valid thing to do. The lunch boxes were opened to reveal the daily surprises and then we moved on to”share” our lunch within our group. The mothers would always pack extra food, knowing it is going to be bartered. I do not remember having just one kind of lunch during my school years. It was a fun and diverse meal.
Listening to my stories of school, my girls wonder why their lunch time cannot be more interesting. The kids here are not allowed to share.
The school years rolled into college. While I still took lunch from home most of the days, there were times when we would eat out and explore restaurants and street food we could afford. On hot summer days, we walked up this narrow alley into the air conditioned place lined with glass shelves showcasing dhokla, dahi vada and khandvis. We ate those with relish, drizzled with tamarind date chutney and green chutney.
Never did I think that those shapely, perfect little rolls are something a Bengali home could make.
Just after I graduated we moved here. Then began the test of my culinary skills and expertise. With extreme enthusiasm and memories of tastes still strong, I headed forward quite fast, experimenting with the new. The husband and the school of bachelor friends we had took my ventures quite sportingly. They were patient and forgiving and with all their encouragement I was soon cooking for a group of at least eight to ten almost every weekend. We had friends from many states of India. So I learned fast. Dishes from home were perfected, new ones tried and created. The old diary of hand written recipes soon started to bulge and get untidy with bits of papers stuck all over it.
I learned that people from the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra ate vegetarian omlettes made with chickpea flour with a side of srikhand, saffron flavored yogurt. After a hundred phone calls to my mother in law, I taught myself to perfect the recipes that my husband love.
Chickpea flour is a healthy, gluten free product which serves many purpose.
Then after a couple of years, my father in law and mother in law came here for a visit. One evening the husband wanted to have khandvi and my MIL said she will make some. My excitement soared through the sky. Never once did I think of asking her if she knew how to make it. I am not sure why. I knew all this time that she was from Gujarat and she had to know how to make them.
The prospects of it happening right before my eyes filled me with hope. One day, I thought, one day I will make these myself.
She stirred the chickpea flour batter on the stove top, keeping a close watch on it, while I got the steel plates ready. She told me we have to “act fast, or else the khandvis won’t roll”. She seemed a little apprehensive, maybe a little nervous too. She tested with a small patch of spread on the back of the steel plate to see if they were done and ready.
Then came the time when the batter was done and she was ready to roll the khandvis. She went so fast that I cannot even recollect how it happened. What seems like in a flash we had these stack of neatly rolled yellows on the plate ready to be seasoned.
Watching this closely really helped me to absorb the process; just how much to cook the batter, to perceive the right consistency when it is ready to spread and just how to roll them.
The rolls were not perfect this time, neither were they neat or tight. I was in a hurry and they had to be served right away.
A few years back, I had posted Stuffed Khandvis a few years back, which was my clever ideas stuffed in those rolls. However what we have today is the basic and traditional recipe for Khandvi.
Khandvi: Seasoned Chickpea Rolls
- 1.5 cups besan/chickpea flour
- 1.5 cups sour yogurt + 2 and 1/4 cups water
- a generous pinch of hing/asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder – optional
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 2 fresh hot green chili pepper, pounded to a paste – Optional
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the temper/seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- a pinch of asafoetida
- 2 green hot chilli peppers, finely sliced
- 4 tablespoon fresh coconut, grated or frozen grated coconut, thawed
- 2-4 tablespoon fresh coriander/cilantro leaves OR curry leaves or both, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
Take gram/chickpea flour, turmeric powder, chilli (if using) and ginger paste, hing/asafoetida, sugar and salt to taste in a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Whisk together the yogurt and the water until smooth (or you can blend them together). Slowly add the yogurt mix to the chickpea flour mixture while you whisk it. Whisk the mix until it is smooth and there are no lumps in it. The batter should be runny.
As the mix gets cooked and it thickens, test with a small amount to see if the mix is ready to be spread and rolled. Take a tablespoonful of the mix and spread a thin layer on the back of a plate, cool it for about a minutes and then try rolling it with wet finger tips.
If the mix is difficult to roll and looks as if it is spreading more on the plate and is watery and if it sticks to the finger while rolling, then it is not ready and will need to be cooked some more. If it is over cooked, it will be difficult to spread into a thin layer. Repeat test while cooking.
If it happens that you have over cooked it, do not throw it away. Spread it anyway. It will spread thicker and less evenly. But once cooled, you can slice these, instead of rolling and add the seasonings. They will still be edible.
Cooking in the microwave:
Place the bowl in a microwave and cook at high speed for 5 mins. Remove and whisk the contents until smooth. Place it in the microwave again and cook for about 4 minutes this time. Remove and whisk well. Repeat this in interval of 2 minutes (whisk again) and then 2 minutes (whisk again) and then about a minute. Each time you will notice that the batter will get thick and difficult to whisk. This only says that it is getting cooked. The cooking time will vary. So you will need to check every time you bring it out of the microwave. The batter once done/cooked will be thicker than it was initially, but should still be in a consistency where it can be spread evenly and in a thin layer. The raw smell of the flour should have gone by the time it is done cooking. When the batter is ready, you will notice that it pulls away from the wall of the bowl and no longer sticks to the side.
Cooking on the stove top:
Cook the batter in a heavy bottomed pan, over medium high flame and keep stirring continuously (about 7 minutes approximately, but until it becomes a thick but still spreadable paste. When the batter is done, it will start pulling away from the sides of the pan when stirred.
While the batter is cooking , keep ready 2 large plates or glass chopping board or aluminium foil (back of the baking tray, or metallic counter tops work good too) and a spatula or the back of a flattened spoon to spread the batter.
Once the batter has cooked, you have to work quickly. Give the cooked batter a final stir and spread the batter on the back of steel plates or glass chopping bowl or the foil. Spread it as thinly as possible. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes.
Slice the spread with knife into 1-1.5 inch long stripe. Wet your finger tips and and roll each stripe neatly and tightly. Place each rolls in a serving dish.
Arrange the swirls in a plate, in one layer or a stack. Heat oil in a skillet and add asafoetida/hing and mustard seeds to it. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add the sesame seeds & switch off the heat. Switch off the heat. Quickly add chopped green chillies and the chopped fresh cilantro/and or curry leaves.
Pour or spoon over the seasonings over the khandvi/swirls. Serve them immediately garnished with grated coconut.
Serve at room temperature.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: approximately 10-15 minutes
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Serves/Makes: 20 rolls (number will vary with size)
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