Khandvi: Not Jam

While there are few vegetarian foods that I absolutely won’t eat, there are probably just as few that I feel I could eat every day and never suffer from the sense gratification blues.

Here’s my list of no-way-don’t even put that on my plate-food:
1) sevian kheer (sweet vermicelli milk pudding)
2) jalebis
3) mint tea
4)chamomile tea
5)pickled ginger
6) wasabi peas (this aversion started 10 years ago…it was the last thing I ate before a horrible stomach flu set in)
7) store bought pickle
On the flip side, serve me the following and I will have one happy tummy:
1) palak paneer
2) spelt chapatis
3) khandvi
4) a nice salad
5) lassi
6) shrikand
7) cookies
So, since I am taking a break from jam I decided to make a batch of khandvi while my countertops were still clear. Many people avoid making this Gujarati savory because they think it is time consuming and difficult. Although it may take a few practice runs, khandvi is anything but time consuming and difficult. I like to think of it as a culinary trick up the sleeve–something that really looks impressive, may even be a bit baffling to those who have no idea how it’s done, but really is no more difficult than French braiding hair. Which at 33 years old, I still haven’t figured out how to do.

Khandvi batter is a mix of yogurt, chickpea flour, turmeric and salt. I used to sift the chickpea flour but now I just whisk all the ingredients together before I turn on the flame. Also, I like to work in half batches, which allows me more time to spread the khandvi thinly once it is cooked. However, as you may have noticed from my sifting comment, I am getting lazier with age. While working in half batches allows a thinner spread, it also means an extra pot washing. I’ll pass on that.

Sour cream may be substituted for yogurt, however, the flavor will not be as bold.
I start out cooking on a medium flame and then reduce the heat once the batter gets to the next stage.

Here it is halfway through cooking. The color starts to deepen and the eggy look of the batter starts to transform into a less glossy glop. This is when I reduce the heat to a super low flame. I have a simmer burner on my range, which I find wonderful for khandvi and burfi. However, as long as you are a quick stirrer, you should be okay even on a high output burner. Also, you may have noticed from the pictures that this is when I switch from a whisk to a silicone spatula.

When the mixture looses all glossiness and pulls away from the pot, you know you are done. However, safe sure beats sorry when making khandvi. Once you spread it, you cannot go back and recook if you realize it is not done enough. A good idea is to test a bit on the countertop. If it cools with a firm yet springy touch and can be rolled, you are done. If it resembles uncooked cookie dough, keep it on the heat. This is the trickiest part of khandvi making and is best learned by watching someone else as well as by personal trial and error.

I have a friend who has been scared off by the long cooking time of khandvi. Don’t be! The entire cooking process was exactly 7 minutes. Couldn’t have been quicker if I actually knew what I was doing. Maybe then it would have been longer. But who cares? So far, no complaints, even from the Gujaratis I’ve served it to.
Spreading khandvi is an important part of the process. My soapstone countertops are awesome for this. Solid surface, stone or stainless steel countertops will all make your khandvi spreading go a lot easier. If you have laminate countertops, you may want to spread the hot khandvi on the back of non-aluminum baking sheets.
I have one friend in North Carolina who makes khandvi once a year in large quantities to commemorate the passing of her Guru, Tamal Krishna Goswami, who was a great connoisseur of Indian vegetarian cooking. Even though she only makes khandvi annually, she has mastered the knack of spreading it very thinly. Kalindi’s khandvi is a joy to eat. To spread the khandvi, she takes baking sheets and stainless steel bowls and cools them in the freezer before spreading. It works for her. Too much work for lazy, old me. We all have to have our limits.

Get it all out before it cools in the pot! This is not a time for conversations. Or photos!

Cut the khandvi into strips about a half inch in width. For this batch, each strip yielded two pieces because I did a horizontal cut halfway down. Otherwise, the rolls would have been very large. Cut and roll according to your preference. Once rolled, you may want to trim the sides to create a uniform, less scraggly look. On this day, I preferred scraggle.

Make a chaunce (also known as “fry some spices”) of mustard seeds, hing and dried coconut. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
Khandvi is best served with palak paneer, spelt chapatis, a nice salad, lassi, shrikand and cookies. At least I think so ;+=>)


Filed under kitchen tips

4 responses to “Khandvi: Not Jam

  1. trillium

    Can you put the actual recipe on your blog? I want to make some.

  2. Devadeva Mirel

    will do…i will try to get it up tonite. i would love to hear how you you make out!

  3. Mandakini/Margaret

    Beautiful! I like your fresh, new blog.You have so much enthusiasm in the kitchen…please send some my way. I really like to cook, but some days I feel so uninspired. love,Mps Will you still be in PA mid-late July? My parents should be closing on a house in WV (eastern panhandle)around July 1st. I’d like to come up and see you, even just for a day visit.

  4. Devadeva Mirel

    i think we are moving mid july so a visit may work. fun!!! darsan of narada muni!!!

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