I’m currently on holiday with the family. I have a bit of time to spare between hanging out, reading and watching TV….listening to crying babies and changing the odd diaper. I decided to venture into Khandvi (pronounced ‘Khan – da – vi’), an appetizer from the Indian state of Gujarat. I have eaten this appetizer several times, but have only seen it being made once about 10 years ago. It took me three tries to make this taste right and look edible. It always tastes good – a very smooth, lightly flavored roll that melts in your mouth! The cilantro leaves, lemon juice and mustard seed toppings provide texture and flavor to balance the smooth, delicate flavor of the chick peas/yogurt roll.
1/3 cup chick peas flour (gram flour or ‘besan’ flour)
1/2 cup plain unflavored yogurt (regular, low fat or non-fat)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger (optional – start with a 1 inch cube of ginger)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
5 – 10 stems of cilantro, chopped finely
2 teaspoons oil (canola or olive oil)
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a small bowl, mix the water and the chick peas flour until the mixture is smooth and lump free. In a separate bowl, beat the yogurt until it has a smooth, even consistency. Add the water/chick peas flour mixture to the yogurt. Add the turmeric, oil, salt and asafoetida (if you decide to add it), to the yogurt/chick peas/water mixture. Wash, peel and chop the ginger. Use a mortar and pestle (or other similar method) to grind the fresh ginger to a paste (or very close to a paste). Then add the ginger paste to the yogurt/chick peas/ water mixture. Set aside.
Asafoetida is a spice powder made from the dried sap of a plant, Ferula assafoetida. It is an acquired taste, so if you’re not familiar with it, you may opt to leave it out of the recipe. If you decide to try it, a bottle of it is shown in the picture to the right. The bottle can purchased at a nearby Indian store. It may also be found in Persian grocery stores. In fact, all of the ingredients can be purchased at an Indian store. Asafoetida must be cooked before being eaten.
Turn a stove burner on to a ‘medium’ setting and pour the entire mixture into a non-stick pan. Place the pan over the burner. Using a wooden spoon, continuously stir the mixture. This is the point in the recipe that your edible mixture could become something quite different. The key is to stir constantly for about 6-8 minutes at medium heat. It shouldn’t take longer than that to reduce and cook the mixture. If the heat is too high, the mixture will begin to clump. Close to the 6 minute mark, the mixture should be much thicker (but still pancake batter like) and may have a sheen. I cooked it for a minute after that. I also taste a drop of the mixture to check that I don’t taste the powdery raw flavor of the chick peas flour. If you’re not familiar with the powdery raw flavor that I’m talking about, then taste the chick peas flour before starting. When the mixture is done, it should not have any of the raw flavor of the chick peas remaining. If it does, then continue to stir it over the burner for another minute. If it becomes too thick, you’ll have problems trying to proceed with the next step. (This is the part of the process that requires some practice – it took me three attempts to get it right). Quickly pour the thick batter onto the non-stick baking sheets – half on one and half on the other. Then using the back of a spatula, quickly spread the mixture out across each of the baking sheets (as if you’re spreading frosting on a cake) until it is about 1/16″ thick. Try to form a large rectangle. This must be done quickly before the batter starts to cool. Allow the mixture to cool for approximately 10-15 minutes until it is firm.
Using a knife (not serrated), make cuts across the rectangle mixture to form 1″ strips. Cut each strip into half so that each cut piece is approximately 1″ wide by 4-6 inches long. Then carefully, roll each strip into a tight roll and place the rolls on a serving dish. If the batter was under or over cooked, the rolls will collapse and not form properly.
The last step involves the preparation of the topping. Place a saucepan or skillet over the burner on medium heat. Add the 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. When the oil is hot enough (you can test this with a single mustard seed – it should sizzle immediately when added to the hot oil), add all of the mustard seeds. After a few seconds, the mustard seeds will start to pop, quickly pour the oil/mustard seed mixture over the rolls evenly. Then drizzle the fresh lemon juice over the rolls and finally, top them with the chopped cilantro leaves.
The rolls are very light and tasty! Yummmmmm…….