Western India includes Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. While I’ve had some amazing food from Maharashtra, I’m not too big a fan of Rajasthani food (mainly because it’s too hot). However one region I find that has an amalgamation of lots of cultures is Gujarat. Here one can find hot, spicy, sweet, sour and even bitter tasting food eaten with relish.
I grew up in Kutch, Gujarat where cultures blend together beautifully. Kutch boasts of population that mainly consists of Sindhis (people who came to Kutch as refugees from Sindh region), Kutchis and Gujaratis among others. As a consequence, Sindhi food made its presence felt in my early days. I remember these aunties in the neighbourhood who used to cook mouth-watering food. They’d always bring some to cute little me. 🙂
Here are two recipes I decided to try my hand at yesterday. While the first is a healthy dal mixed with a bit of green and can be eaten with any kind of bread or rice, the second is a flat bread. You could eat it any time when you’re feeling a bit peckish– tea-time, for lunch with curries and other veggies, you could spread some jam or butter over it and eat it and so on. I remember eating this bread mostly with a bit of sugar sprinkled on top. Enjoy!
1) Sai Bhaji
Prep Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2.5 hours
- 3 Tbsp. Split Bengal Gram, washed and soaked in warm water for 2 hours
- 2 bunches English spinach, roots cut off, washed and chopped roughly
- 1 handful of fresh dill leaves
- 2 large tomatoes chopped fine
- 1 handful fenugreek leaves (if you are unable to find fresh leaves, you can buy a packet of “Kasuri Methi” and follow the instructions given on the packet before adding it to the recipe. Available in Indian stores.)
- 1 large potato cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 large onion cut into 1″ cubes (to be used later and not mixed with the rest of the vegetables to boil)
- 1 cup chopped (1″ cubes) eggplant/aubergine (optional)
- 8-10 French beans, tops and tails cut off and strings removed (optional)
- 1 carrot cut into 1″ thick circles (optional)
- 1 cup chopped (1″ cubes) elephant yam (optional)
- 1/2 Tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 Tsp. coriander powder
- 1″ piece of ginger grated
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 Tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 finely chopped green chillies
- Salt to taste
- Fresh Coriander leaves to garish
Mix the Bengal gram, vegetables, coriander powder, turmeric powder and ginger in a deep pan/pressure cooker. Add ½ cup water and cook till is done. The hint of the dal being done is when you can mash it to a pulp. Do NOT use the blender to mash it, but do it gently with an egg beater. It is meant to be a thick dal but if you feel it is too thick or dry, add some water and stir it for a bit. Add salt to taste and stir. Leave it aside for the time being.
In the meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan on medium low heat. Add garlic and let it pop until it turns golden brown. Now add cumin seeds to it along with green chillies. Cover it with a lid and let it pop for about 10 seconds or so. Add onions to it and fry them till well done. Add this mixture to the resting dal and stir to blend well. Garish it with coriander leaves and serve it piping hot with Chapattis.
2) Koki Roti (Onion flatbread):
- 2 cups – Wheat Flour
- ½ cup Zucchini (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 2 – Onions
- 2 – Green chilly
- Coriander Leaves
Chop onions finely and add finely cut green chillies, small cut pieces of Zucchini & coriander leaves. Add them all to the wheat flour along with salt to taste and 5 Tbsp. oil. Mix all the content properly and add a bit of water to it from time to time as you knead the mixture. Make sure the dough is soft but not too soft. You can store this dough in the fridge for about 3 days.
Take it out 30 minutes before you plan to make Koki flatbread. Divide the dough into small rounds and roll them with a bit of flour into about an inch thick round bread one by one.
Take an omelette pan heat it on low flame. Place one rolled bread on to it and flip it when one side is done. Spread a bit of butter on the done side and wait for the other side to be cooked. When the other side is done as well, flip it again and spread some butter on this side too. Now take it down and place it on a plate and roll the next Koki to cook. The entire process of cooking the Koki roti takes not more than a minute once it’s rolled.
Serve it with curd/ pickle/ poppadum/chutney/butter/tea/ cooked vegetables/dal, etc.
*Thanks to Sindhirasoi.com for the Koki photo*