Whenever I make Khandvi, I marvel at the innovativeness of those who must have developed this dish hundreds of years ago. Someone must have figured out that cooking chickpea flour with yoghurt and cooling it gives it an elastic quality that allows it to be shaped into delightful little rolls. This is a real show stopper, make it for high tea or brunches where you want to impress your guests.This dish like many chickpea flour and yoghurt dishes requires the yoghurt to be quite sour. However dont worry if you dont have sour yoghurt as you will be adding a dash of lime at the end. This is the way my mother used to make it.
Servings 6 people
You will need:
- 1 cup of chickpea flour besan (do make sure you use a reputable brand as inferior flour can ruin the dish)
- 1 cup of sour yoghurt
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbs cooking oil a mild flavoured oil like light olive oil or sunflower oil is best
- 2-3 green chillies chopped
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 1 pinch asafoetida S.S.P is the best if you can get hold of it, otherwise a regular brand
- 1 small lime
- Chopped coriander leaves to garnish
To spread the mix:
- 4 flat platters trays or thalis made of a non-porous material like stainless steel, china or melamine.
- A wooden spatula or any other kind of rigid spreading device
- Place the four platters/thalis upside down on a clean surface. Have your spatula to hand, ready to start spreading the dough as soon as it is ready. In a large mixing bowl, whip the yoghurt with the water, add the salt and slowly add the chickpea flour, stirring until it is all incorporated. Heat the mixture on high heat in a saucepan, stirring continuously until it starts thickening. Take care to prevent the mix from sticking to the base and burning – you might want to use a non-stick pan for this although I find that a stainless steel pan and wooden spoon are perfectly adequate for the job. Cook the mix until it becomes very thick, almost like a bread dough.
- Now remove the pan from the heat. Take a large dollop of the dough (roughly the size of a cricket ball) and start spreading this on one of the inverted trays. It is extremely important to do this quickly because all the spreading on all four trays has to happen before the dough cools down and sets. Use long, even strokes, applying some pressure to get a thin (2-3mm thick) layer all over the tray. Repeat this process for all four trays and leave them to cool and set. Please note that you may run out of mix and not cover all four if the layers are thick or you may have some dough left over if the layers are very thin. It is difficult to be very precise about how may trays can be covered.
- In a small wok or pan, heat the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and let these crackle. Add the chopped chillies, stir for 1-2 seconds and turn the heat off. Now add the turmeric and asafoetida and stir. Let this mixture (the “tadka”) cool.
- Now turn back to the trays. Using a knife, make long parallel cuts about 5 cm apart from each other, into the set chickpea-yoghurt dough on the back of the tray. Gently lift the edge of one of the strips and start rolling – it should come away easily from the surface of the tray. Repeat this process for all four trays.