Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tavsali / Goan Style Cucumber Cake

Tavsali is a healthy, egg less, low fat (or fat free if ghee is omitted) Goan Style Cucumber Cake.
I love the beautiful green specks of grated cucumber (skin n all)distributed all over the light brown colored cake.
Tavsali is prepared using cucumber/kakdi that are called "taushe" in konkani.
I remember my mom had made this cake for me when she had come to the US to help me during my first pregnancy.
My grandma and mom used to prepare this cake without any oven. A tava or thick bottomed skillet was kept on a stove, then the cake pan was kept over the skillet. Next a lid was kept on the cake pan and the lid was covered with a layer of hot coals. Thus creating an oven kind of condition for the cake to "bake".

This cake can be prepared in 2 ways either using rava/semolina or using goan rice powder, each gives a different taste and texture to the end result.
Goan rice is called "ukade tandol" or rosematta rice in US & Canada. The rice is dry roasted then ground to a fine powder and used instead of rava.
The tavsali made using the ukade tandol powder tastes better then the rava one but still both are equally delicious.

This is a simple egg less cake not overly sweet with dominant flavours of cucumber, coconut, cumin and peanuts.
No, it is not a typo, indeed jeera/ cumin seeds are used to make this sweet. In fact many Goan konkani sweets are flavoured with jeera powder like tavsali, poss, and some varieties of kheers.
2 cups grated cucumber/kakdi,
1 and 1/2 cups grated jaggery or brown sugar,
1 and 1/4 cup rava/suji/cream of wheat/semolina,
1 cup grated coconut,
2 tsp jeera /cumin seeds (unroasted and ground to a fine powder),
4 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts,
2 tbsp chopped raisins,
1/2 tsp cardamom powder/ elaichi,
2 tbsp sesame seeds,
pinch of salt.

  • Roast rava (dry or in 1 tsp butter/ghee) and cool.
  • Mix all the rest of the ingredients and pour the batter in a 8 x 8inch baking pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F and bake the cake in the oven for 30 minutes till cooked through.(prick a toothpick in the cake and check to see if it comes out clean).
  • Broil the cake for 5 minutes so that the top also gets a nice golden color.
  • Take out of the oven cool, cut and serve.

I sometimes add 2 tbsp oats flour and 2 tbsp flax seed meal to the batter for additional nutrition.
Usually this cake is prepared the previous night and the flavors allowed to blend well and it is served for breakfast the next day.
This cake can be refrigerated for up to a week. To serve just reheat in the microwave for a minute or 2 and enjoy warm cucumber cake.
Add almonds & cashew nuts if desired.