Servings: 6 people
I refer to this dish as a Fondue of the East but it has nothing to do with cheese! Fondue was invented for times of confinement, when fresh items were difficult to obtain and meals were prepared from leftover cheeses and stale breads. This same principle can be applied to making ondhwo! Use leftover cooked rice, or leftover cooked shaak and/or stale vegetables.
For the Batter
- 250 g Ondhwa flour Buy from any Indian(Gujarati) store
- half cup yogurt stale yogurt will give a nice tangy taste
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 tspn salt or to taste
- 2 tbs ginger chili paste
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 200 g grated doodhi(any type of squash) Can substitute for any other water rich vegetable like, cabbage, courgette, onions etc.
- 50 g cooked rice (optional) Added rice will give a soft result.
- Extra water to make a runny batter
- 2 tsp lemon juice(optional) Only add if the batter tastes bland.
- 2 tsp ajwain
- 2 tsp sugar(optional)
- 2 tspn baking powder or eno or an equal mixture of baking powder and sodium bicarbonate. If using sodium bicarbonate on its own, reduce the amount by a quarter.
For the Vaghaar
- 3 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 pieces cinnamon sticks
- 1 piece dried red chili
- 2 cloves
- 2 tsp rai mustard seeds
- 2 tsp sesame
- pinch asofoetida
- 2 extra tbs sesame To sprinkle on top before baking.
Preparing the batter
Soak the flour at least 8 hours before cooking. Use mixer of the yogurt and water. Ensure that the flour is completely covered with the liquid.
After 8 hours(or more) add the oil, salt, chili ginger paste and garlic.
Add the ajwain, sugar and lemon juice.
Add the vegetables and rice if using.
Add extra water if required to make a loose batter
Add the raising agent, stir thoroughly and transfer to a deep baking tray. The batter should be around 5 cm deep. A thinner layer will give a crispy ondhwo and a thicker layer will require longer time in the oven and give you a more cake like texture.
For the Vaghaar
Heat up the vaghaar oil and when the oil is hot, add the vaghaar ingredients in the order listed, adding the asofoetida at the end. Pour over the top of the batter in the baking tray.
Ensure that the surface is covered with a thin layer of oil. Sprinkle the extra sesame on the top.
Bake this batter in a preheated oven at 210 °C. Bake for about 35 mins until the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. If after 35 minutes, the top has turned brown but the ondhwo is not fully cooked, reduce the temperature by at least 20° and bake for a further 10 minutes. To stop the top burning, it is a good idea to cover the top with some grease proof paper.
Remove from oven. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Cut into 5cm square pieces. Traditionally ondhwo was consumed in the evening and accompanied by a glass of cold milk. Or a nice cup of masal chai too would be a great accompaniment.
Can be eaten hot or warm with a glass of milk or a cup of masala chai.