Khandvi

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In Ahmedabad I met Mrs Nanavati, who showed me how to prepare and cook khandvi, which could be described as a sort of delicate Indian pasta. The ‘pasta’ is made from a paste of chickpea flour, used in many Gujarati dishes, and yogurt. Golden with turmeric, it is transformed into little rolls and served cold, scattered with coriander leaves and the typically Gujarati garnish of seeds popped in oil - sometimes with a little grated fresh coconut too. I often serve khandvi as the first course of a non-Indian meal, or as part of a vegetarian Indian spread. You can buy gram (chickpea) flour at oriental stores.

Ingredients

  • 100 g gram (chickpea) flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ level teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ rounded teaspoon ground turmeric
  • walnut-sized piece fresh root ginger
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
  • 600 ml water
  • groundnut oil for oiling

For the garnish

  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 1 level teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 level teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 rounded teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • handful of coriander leaves

Method

Sift the gram flour, salt, chilli powder and turmeric into a mixing bowl. Pee, and roughly chop the ginger, then press in a garlic crusher held over the flour mixture to extract the juice only. Put the yogurt into a jug, add the water and whisk or stir thoroughly. Gradually add this liquid to the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon and whisking if necessary until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into a heavy-based saucepan (preferably non-stick) and place over a medium heat. When it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to as low as possible and stir continually until the mixture is very thick; this can take about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Lightly oil two or three large flat baking sheets - or any other smooth flat surface. Spread the thick paste over the oiled surfaces as thinly as you can - the thinner the better; ideally you should be almost able to see through the paste. Leave for a few minutes until cold and set, then cut into strips, about 3 cm wide and 8 cm long. Roll up lightly into little Swiss rolls.

Arrange the khandvi on a serving plate, or perhaps on individual plates if you are having them as a first course. Unless serving quite soon, cover with cling film and refrigerate, for up to a day.

Take the khandvi from the fridge about an hour before serving. Prepare the garnish just before you eat: heat the groundnut oil in a frying pan over a fairly high heat and add the cumin and mustard seeds; when these begin to pop (almost immediately), stir in the sesame seeds and remove from the heat. Spoon the garnish over the khandvi and sprinkle with the coconut. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and throw them on top.

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