Many many moons ago I had Cucumber cake/Dhondas(Kakdhicha) during Ganesh Utsav at a friend’s place. Cucumber Cake ??? It was unacceptable and how can one make a cake out of Cucumber ??…. just as it has proven to be for many of you here on this forum. However it tasted yum and I ate it and forgot about it…..but it is a traditional dessert in Konkani Cuisine.
A few days back, was watching “Coastal Curries” by Michelin Chef Vikas Khanna and it was an episode on Ratnagiri and it’s cuisine. And there he was making this cake in his own westernized style. For me this was unacceptable as this is a Traditional Indian Dish, made mostly in the Coastal areas of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka and of indigenous ingredients. It was then and there I decided to make it asap and in the typical Indian way………..
So, armed with all the necessary ingredients I made it in the Appe/Paniyaram pan ( one of the ways it is made). It was a success and everyone who tasted it liked it. The next day I had to make a larger quantity and had to bake it in the OTG .
Also, the variety of cucumbers actually used to make this is seasonal and not found everywhere in India. So, I made them with the light green ones we use for salads, here in Mumbai. While making the cake, you can’t afford to have bitter ones, can you ?? So, do check on that aspect before proceeding with the grating 🙂
3 Cups Grated Cucumber( do not drain its water, that lends more taste, will help moisten the cake and prevent it from becoming dry)
2 Cups of Rawa/Suji
2 Cups of Jaggery ( now depending on the sweetness of the jaggery , do reduce or increase the amount)
2 Cups Freshly Grated Coconut
1 Tsp Cardamom Powder
Handful of Broken Cashewnuts
½ a Cup of Raisins ( I didn’t add them)
Pinch of Salt
2 1/2 Tbsp of Ghee
1 Tsp of Baking Powder
½ Tsp of Baking Soda
Pre-heat the oven at 160 degrees. Grease your pan with ghee and dust with a pinch of baking powder and keep aside.
Mix the cucumber, rawa, jaggery and coconut with your hands till the jaggery has melted well into the mixture. Then add ghee, cardamom powder, salt, cashewnuts, raisins.
Keep aside for the rawa to absorb the liquids for about 10/15 mins.
Add the baking powder and baking soda and mix lightly but well.
Bake in the oven for about 40/50 mins. Since the baking time for different ovens is different, do keep an eye on the cake. It is done when it has got a nice brown colour and when pressed the cake springs back. Let it cool a while before demoulding it. And when demoulding be gentle and patient as the jaggery at the bottom will not allow the cake to come off as easily as in the case of Flour cakes
Serve when totally cooled without any garnishing or sauces to enjoy the authentic taste of this Dhondas/Cucumber Cake 🙂
– Sandipa Nitin Tombat