The Sindhi kitchen revisited! Sindhi food is rather simple to make , in the sense that basically onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and chillies is what would be required to start cooking and dish, we normally don’t have complex pastes made of various spices and the usage of cream or nuts is kept to the minimum while cooking. All the recipes handed down in my family are very simple and sometimes I myself get surprised when the food turns out to be delicious in its simplicity. Growing up in Pune , where most of my mom’s family used to live, we frequently visited my mami kala’s home, which was the headquaters of the mohinani family, many beautiful memories are attached to the nanaron( nani’s home) at kanyashala road.. those lazy afternoons where all the aunties and cousins gathered for scrumptious lunches arranged by my aunt, the wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen where the cooks (bhaiyas) literally cooked up a feast, everyone just laughing and talking,memories of that bygone era are beautiful .Those were the days when the only way to have a group chat was to meet..:) and of course the admin was aunty kala. The snacks were more often than not fried, but no one cared, we just enjoyed the delicious food and company.
Today I would like to share a recipe of beehyan ja pakora with you , which is not commonly served nowadays. This snack is quite simple to make and is my mothers recipe, making use of lotus stem or beeh as we call it in sindhi. My amma(paternal grandmom) was fond of this snack and would ask my mom to make it. This vegetable was served on special occasions at home, especially when some important guests were invited for lunch and dinner. Mom always cooked it in a rich onion gravy, topped with raw onion slices and a squirt of lime and some sev sprinkled over the curry, and served it with bread buns or pao, to make it easier to dunk into the delicious gravy. Lotus stem on its own is a rather bland vegetable , but it blends and adapts the taste of any spice that it is cooked with.
Lotus stem is easily available here in Jakarta because a lot of chinese people also use it for cooking. In Pune it was a seasonal vegetable, because i remember the man who used to bring lotus stem and pabharees( seeds of the lotus plant) all the way from Pimpri a small satellite town of pune. Nowadays it is more easily available throughout the year. In those days I was not really too fond of the vegetable but have grown to rather like it. so here is the recipe, do try it and enjoy it.
Bheeyan ja pakora
Ingredients for the besan batter(chick pea flour)
1 cup besan ( chick pea flour)
1 tsp each cumin seeds/ ajwain(thymol seeds)
1 tsp red chillie powder
salt to taste.
1/8 th tsp of soda bi carb
Make a smooth batter of all above ingredients by adding cold water, make sure the batter is smooth and of dropping consistency. keep aside for half hour.
Ingredients for the beeh wada
I beeh stem about 25 cms long, peeled , cut into thick circles and boiled till tender.
1 tsp each ginger/ garlic/ green chilie paste
finely chopped corriander leaves
1 boiled and peeled potato
1 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp amchoor powder
1 tsp shah jeeri
salt to taste
Take a big bowl and roughly crush the boiled potato and the boiled beeh(lotus stem) , the beeh(lotus stem) and the potato should be chunky, add all the dry spices, salt and the ginger, garlic and green chilie paste and the corriander leaves
Make small balls and keep aside
Heat a wok half filled with cooking oil.
Now, dip the lotus stem balls in the besan batter( chick pea) and slide gently into the hot oil.. fry the balls until just light golden in colour, remove and keep aside.
When you want to serve the snack, press each ball gently between your two palms until flattened and cracked.. now deep fry the flat wadas till golden brown and crisp.
Serve hot with cold mint chutney.