Handvo with Barnyard Millet

Traditionally made using a fermented batter of lentils, rice, and chopped vegetables, handvo is a savoury cake from Gujarat.

This recipe, developed by chef volunteer Ankita Jain from the Millet Cooking Lab, substitutes rice with barnyard millet. Through multiple trials and errors, Ankita has found the optimal ratio of barnyard millet to lentil mix. Fresh out of the oven, this savoury cake is both crispy and spongy, and makes for the perfect snack, best enjoyed with a cup of tea.

Ankita has many fond memories of enjoying this handvo with her grandmother. As a chocolatier, Ankita is often very busy during Diwali. In a consistent act of care, her nani began the yearly tradition of sending her some handvo during the festive season. Ever since she lost her nani 7 years ago, Ankita has continued the tradition of making this dish every Diwali to celebrate her grandmother's memory.
Baking soda ¼ teaspoon
Salt ¾ teaspoon
Ginger green chilli paste 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
Sugar 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice 2 teaspoon
Chopped coriander ¼ cup
Kasuri methi ¼ cup
Sour curd ¼ cup
Horse gram dal 1 tablespoon
Chana dal 1 tablespoon
Urad dal 2 tablespoon
Tur dal ¼ cup
Barnyard millet ½ cup
Hing ⅛ teaspoon
White sesame seeds 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds ¼ teaspoon
Oil 3 teaspoon

A large cake tin, greased with oil, and lined with butter paper lined; an oven, preheated to 375°F (190°C).


For the batter, start by washing the lentils and millet, and soaking them for at least 6 hours. Strain and blend the mix into a smooth paste in a mixer-grinder. Add curd to this mixture and let it rest overnight. This will allow the mixture to ferment.



Once the batter is fermented, and looks light and bubbly, add the salt,  kasuri methi, chopped coriander, lemon juice, sugar, chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, green chilli paste, salt, and baking soda, and give the batter a quick mix.


For the tempering, start by heating the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, white sesame seeds, and hing in oil, until they start crackling. Pour the tempering over the batter and give it a quick mix.



Pour the batter into the greased cake tin and bake it at 180 ℃ in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Once done, let it rest in the oven for another 10 minutes.



Remove the cake tin and allow the handvo to cool completely. Once cooled, demould the handvo, and cut it like a cake. Serve with green chutney or tomato ketchup.


Tips and variations

You can replace the barnyard millet with little millet or foxtail millet.


You can also add chopped vegetables like onion, carrot, or french beans. 

Chef Ankita Jain has spent more than 15 years working as a chocolatier. While she enjoyed shaping the kitchen at Harsh Chocolates, her passion for healthier food led her to start Bicycle Kitchen. Over the past three years, she has experimented with millet-based recipes and perfected them.


This recipe is part of the Millet Revival Project 2023, The Locavore’s modest attempt to demystify cooking with millets, and learn the impact that it has on our ecology. This initiative, in association with Rainmatter Foundation, aims to facilitate the gradual incorporation of millets into our diets, as well as create a space for meaningful conversation and engagement so that we can tap into the resilience of millets while also rediscovering its taste.


Rainmatter Foundation is a non-profit organisation that supports organisations and projects for climate action, a healthier environment, and livelihoods associated with them. The foundation and The Locavore have co-created this Millet Revival Project for a millet-climate outreach campaign for urban consumers. To learn more about the foundation and the other organisations they support, click here.

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