Savoury semolina cake

Savoury semolina cake

Indian Food Made Easy
Vanessa Courtier

This savoury cake, known as handvo, is spongy on the inside, crispy on the edges and replete with the textures of a variety of vegetables. It is light, satisfying and easy to make. It hails from the Gujarati community but this is my cheat’s version – no soaking or grinding required, so purists beware! Use any vegetables you have – either those listed here or experiment with courgettes, cabbage, spinach or fresh fenugreek leaves.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling
165g semolina
125ml plain yoghurt
125ml water
40g frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
handful frozen or fresh green beans, roughly broken up
8g fresh ginger, peeled and pounded into a paste
1/4-1 teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt, to taste (season well)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and oil a large loaf tin.
  2. Mix together the semolina, yoghurt, water, vegetables, ginger, spices and salt to make a batter of a medium-thick consistency. If it is too thick, add a splash of water. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  3. Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook for about 20 seconds until the mustard seeds have popped and the cumin is aromatic. Stir into the batter.
  4. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Bake in the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and when the edges are crisp. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
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