Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Savoury Semolina Cake

Here is another evening teatime snack for you. I have minimally adapted this semolina cake from Anjum Anand’s cook book - Indian food Made Easy, that I borrowed from the local Library few weeks ago. (Oops! That reminds me I have passed the return date already, and I see myself getting a warning letter!). I remember Anjum preparing this cake on one of the cookery shows long back, while I used to live in Southsea, Portsmouth. It sounded very healthy and I wanted to give it a shot then and there, but again, it got lost in the lot of other bookmarked recipes I have. She, in her book mentioned it by the name ‘Handvo’, but when I searched for the recipe online, it showed me up many different versions of the cake which uses pulses rather than semolina. Whatever it may be, this cake was so easy to prepare with minimal work, and just the right type of snack for a lazy evening. I served with sweet aubergine pickle, my favourite, but you can also serve it alongside sweet mango pickle/chuntney.

Sweet mango pickle/chutney was what I came across on some site that is served with this type of cake. When I first thought about the sweet pickle being served with this savoury cake, all I thought was, Eeww, how would that pair?! But, it really does. A very good, tantalizing combination of flavours! Some things have to be endeavoured out in the weirdest way to comprehend its magical blend, isn’t it?
That also brings back an old incident into my mind. One of the colleagues of my husband, who hails from Malaysia, brought some fried beef on her way back from Malaysia. She was kind enough to offer us some of the food that she brought- an egg curry, some beef fry, that is all I remember. Both the egg curry and the beef were so sweet, I don’t know what they were, but both of them had loads of sugar in it. The Egg curry resembled our Humble Mutta roast and the beef was kind of caramelized with sugar. It was very strange blend of flavours and was unpleasant for me and couple of others who tried it as well!! You also get used to the taste you grow up with, whatever it may be.

 Anyways, this so called semolina cake or Handvo is spongy on the inside and crispy on the edges. It is filled with variety of vegetables giving some texture and bits to bite into. It is light, filling and easy to assemble with less fuss. Handvo hails from the Gujarati community which used so lots of pulses and this is Anjum’s cheat’s version of it. No soaking and grinding of pulses is required here unlike the authentic handvo. You may use any vegetables you have in hand like courgettes, cabbage, beans, peas, carrots, spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves etc. You can also give it in your kid’s lunch boxes.

Savoury Semolina Cake
Preparation time: 15 minutes
serves 6-8

1 cup, 165g semolina/Farina/Sooji
100g, slightyle less than a cup chopped beans
1 medium size, 75g, ½ cupful grated carrot
40g, ¼ cup chopped onion
11g, 1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
½ - 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 – ½ teaspoon turmeric
1 green chilli chopped
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
¾ cup thick yogurt
½ - ¾ cup water
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon soda bicarbonate
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
Salt -to taste

1.Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius. Line a 1 kg loaf tin with baking paper and oil it well.

2.Mix together semolina,vegetables, ginger, spices and salt.

3. Add yogurt and water and mix to make a thick batter. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. Heat oil in a small pan and throw in mustard seeds. Cook until they start to splutter, to throw in the cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds leave its aroma. Stir this aromatic oil into the batter prepared earlier.

5. Stir in the soda bicarbonate and immediately pour the batter into the prepared tin. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. As with any cake, insert a tooth pick/skewer in the centre of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean and the edges are crisp, the cake is ready. Let it cool in the tin, and then serve along with any sweet pickle and tea.

N.B: The orangey colour of the cake was not very appealing to me. The chilli powder, which is dark deep red and the turmeric imparted that colour vibrant yellow colour to tehe cake! I would definitely be reducing or not even using them both next time I make this.
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