Tavsoli Recipe (Crunchy Cucumber Flatbread)
This particular recipe is a specialty from my family’s hometown of Belgaum (which is actually now located in Karnataka state). It is called “Tavsoli” – basically it’s a savory cucumber thalipeeth. My tavsoli is made using rice flour, which makes it very crispy. Throughout Maharashtra, it is fairly common to find cucumbers in savory preparations that are not salads or koshimbir (Indian salads). This dish is a wonderful example of using cucumbers in a unique way.
Cucumbers, known as “kakadi” in both Marathi & Hindi, are part of the melon & squash family. Although they do contain a lot of water, cucumbers are also high in both Vitamin C and Vitamin K. They are also thought to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease & certain cancers as well. In addition, cucumbers possess both anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, this is my grandmother’s recipe with a few minor adjustments. Traditionally, tavsoli is made with cream of rice (tandlacha rava, fine variety). But since the fine variety of cream of rice (tandlacha rava) was not available here in the US back when I was a child, my mother substituted rice flour instead. The texture is smoother & it’s what we are used to eating now, but you can use whichever you have on hand or whichever is available in your area. Also traditionally, tavsoli/thalipeeth is only cooked on one side – but we all like it super crunchy so I flip it & let it cook on both sides.
Tavsoli/thalipeeth can be eaten anytime of the day; for breakfast, lunch, brunch, snack or even as a light meal. It is best eaten right away though ☺.
TAVSOLI (Savory Cucumber Thalipeeth/Flatbread)
2 cups of rice flour (or cream of rice/tandlacha rava, fine variety)
1 medium size cucumber, peeled & grated
2-3 small Thai green chilies, finely chopped
¼” piece of ginger, peeled & grated
½ tsp ground cumin powder (jeera)
pinch of asafetida (hing)
salt to taste
handful of cilantro leaves, finely minced
½+ cup of milk, as needed
2+ tbsp vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour with the grated cucumber (also add any cucumber liquid), green chilies, ginger, ground cumin, asafetida, salt & cilantro leaves. Mix together to make a soft & pliable dough (it should be spreadable with your hands, like pizza dough consistency) that comes together easily to form a nice round ball. If there is not enough liquid from the cucumber, add enough milk to mixture to get the proper consistency described above. Mix well & then divide the dough into 4 roughly equal portions. Roll into small round balls and set aside until needed.
The easiest way to do this is to actually make the tavsoli in the same pan you will be using to cook it. I prefer using a cast iron tawa or flat top griddle, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. A good frying pan will also work well. If it’s the non-stick variety, even better.
Lightly oil the pan and add a portion of the dough (one ball) to the center of the pan. Using your fingers, press the dough out into a flat circle approximately ¼” in thickness. Then make a small dime size hole in each quadrant to allow for even cooking.
Place the pan with the formed thalipeeth on a medium high flame, cover and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Flip and cook for just a few minutes on the other side. Serve with a small dollop of butter or yogurt, along with your favorite Indian pickles and chutneys.
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