Kandvi is one of my very favorite Gujarati snacks. It's used to be commonplace and was served whenever I visited any Gujerati home. It tastes absolutely yummy but takes a bit of trouble to make.
I had a distinct impression that kandvi was very difficult to make. I was always both grateful and delighted when friends would make some for me. The last time was when I visited California and Paulomi had made a delicious batch to welcome me. I haven’t been able to find anyone willing to make kandvi in Columbus and the local shops only have samosa and kachori. So I decided to give it a try. I checked several recipes online and finally, after some thought and meditation, I plunged in and gave it a try.
There are a few things to be careful about when attempting this. Dry roast the chickpea flour (besan) for a couple of minutes and let it cool before making the batter. This is not mentioned in most recipes but it will get rid of the raw and slightly bitter taste of the flour. Lightly oil the metal plates – I used the back of my cookie baking pans. Cook the batter over low heat, use a metal whisk and stir continuously to keep it smooth. The batter is ready when the whisk creates little crowns on top. The final consistency should be like custard or dosa batter.
1 cup besan flour highly dry roasted and cooled
1 cup plain yogurt ( I like Trader Joe’s European style nonfat )
2 or 3 Thai chilies and one tsp fresh ginger ground into a smooth paste
1 + 4/5 cup of water (just a bit less than two cups)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 tbsp light sesame oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
8 – 10 curry leaves minced
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs fresh grated coconut (optional)
Add the flour, the yogurt, and the water into a heapy bottom source pan and whisk till smooth. I use a wand blender to get rid of all the lumps.
Add the turmeric, the chili and ginger paste, and salt and stir.
Get several baking sheets ready and set them on the counter, making sure you have the are clean and clear for you will need to work fast later. Very lightly wipe a bit of vegetable or sesame oil on the back of these with the palm of your hand. Just a couple of drops is sufficient.
Set the saucepan on a low burner and cook while whisking frequently. Whisk continuously as the batter begins to thicken. Remove from heat when the batter forms slightly stiff crowns as you pull the whisk out.
Working quickly before the batter can cool, pour the batter on the backs of the cookie sheets and spread it with a spatula or a silicone pan scraper. Speed is more important than perfect evenness. The batter will cool and set very quickly.
While the batter is cooling, heat the canola and sesame oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. Then they begin to pop, add the sesame seeds and the curry leaves and turn off the heat.
After ten minutes the batter will have set. Using the back of a knife cut 1 1/2 inch strips along the width of the pans. With lightly oiled fingers and a very gentle touch, you should be able to roll the called batter into small rolls about 1/2 inch thick and no more than two inches long. Place them on a serving plate in little stacks. Garnish with the fried mustard and sesame and cilantro and grated coconut. If the yogurt was not sour enough, drizzle a bit of lemon juice on the cilantro before using them to garnish.
Serve at room temperature or chilled with hot tea and some biscuits or scones and or fresh berries.