Sindhi Aisi bhaji/sabji (spinach and Ridge gourd)

Todays Delicious recipe is in memory of my dear mother in law, who made this particular version of spinach and turaiya, whenever I had given birth to my children. Supposedly very good for lactating mothers. She made sure I ate this sabji every second day for 40 days after child birth. It had to be turaiya every day, either mixed with spinach or made plain with only cardamom, which we sindhis call as phote bhugun turiyuoon And to be frank I loved eating both these variations. She sometimes served it with plain chappatis and sometimes with mitho lolo( sweet flat bread).The only thing that she omitted was chillies. Aisi, otherwise would mean only spinach cooked plain with out the addition of any other vegetables. But, this version of mummy is really very tasty..😊

The way this sabji is cooked is almost like the famous sindhi saibhaji, but the addition of turaiya gives it super silky texture. We cook it in the pressure cooker and mash it towards the end till everything is one beautiful green smooth sabji. Adding garlic once while cooking and once as a tadka just enhances the taste.

Spinach was not my favourite vegetable when we were growing up, but as an adult it definately has a special place in my list of favourite vegetables. I remember my mother making tikkis out of left over saibhaji, just by adding boiled potatoes after drying out the sai bhaji as much as possible by cooking it further. She always panfried the tikkis which were yummy… A close cousin to the hara bhara tikkis which we relish at Indian restaurants.

Do try this simple recipe and serve with any simple pulav or phulkas.

Ingredients

350 gms peeled and chopped turaiya/ ridge gourd

150 gms chopped spinach

1 big onion finely chopped

2 tomatoes sliced

4 green chillies finely chopped

2 tbsps chopped garlic

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp methi seeds

1/2 tsp hing..asafoetida

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

3 tbsps oil

Method..

Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pressure cooker and add methi seeds, cumin and hing. Saute till fragrant.

Add chopped onion and saute till golden brown.

Add 1 tbsp of garlic, ginger and green chillies.

Add tomatoes, corriander powder, turmeric, salt

When tomatoes are pulpy, add chopped turaiya and cook till the turaiya start letting out water.

Add the chopped spinach and 1/4 cup of water.

Close the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 whistles.

Open the lid, and churn with a wooden hand churner( mandiro) or an electric whisk.

Lastly heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan, add 1 tbsp chopped garlic and fry till pale golden. Add this tadka to the sabji…mix well and serve.

The complete Sindhi meal with Basar jo pulav, ( onion pulav) sookha aloo( potatoes with dry spices) Boondi raita, some fryums and onion carrot achar.

Pahadi aloo sabji

Todays recipe is based on potatoes which are cooked in the hilly regions of north india. I came across this recipe years ago and since then its been marked as a favourite in my diary. Simple to cook and made in a jiffy. Best eaten with a soft phulka, the aromatic flavours of saunf( fennel seeds) just hit your palatte in a burst of tasty goodness. I have used baby potatoes in this dish as I find they hold their shape well after steaming or boiling.

Potatoes in any form are a favourite all over the world and adapt so well to any cuisine. Be it the american hash browns, french fries , mashed potatoes.. or the swiss pototo rosetti..or our own Indian cuisine. From the delicious aloo ka parantha in the north to poshto aloo made with poppy seeds in the east to pao wada in the west upto the aloo sabzi stuffed in crispy dosas in the south.

Memories of the humble potato ruling my mothers kitchen still linger. Sundays normally meant having fried potato tikkis in the evenings for snacks while door darshan played some old bollywood movies on our black and white tv sets. Of course the tikkis were served with slices of white bread and fresh mint chutney. And most often than not this snack was filling enough not to have anything more for dinner. Only to wait eagerly for the jelly and custard which was a favourite dessert at home. Left over uncooked tikkis were sometimes made into aloo toasters. Sandwiched between two slices of bread buttered on the outside to be toasted manually on the gas stove in a quaint sandwich toaster. This served with tomato ketchup was good to go for breakfast. No one was fussy about carbohyderates or calories..life was fun and happy go lucky…simple pleasures of life were the norm….oh those good old days….

Do try this recipe, team it up with sindhi dal makhni or any of your favourite dal.

Ingredients

Pahadi aloo sabji

250 gms baby potatoes boiled, peeled and halved.

( or normal boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp saunf ( fennel seeds)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsps freshly ground saunf powder

2 or 3 dry red chillies broken

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 sliced onion

2 tbsp thick tamarind paste

2 tbsp honey

Salt to taste

Chopped corriander leaves

2 tbsps mustard oil

Method

Heat oil in a pan, and add cumin seeds and saunf.

Saute till fragrant.

Add ginger, garlic, dry red chillies and sliced onion

Now add the potatoes and salt

Saute for few mins

Add saunf powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder

Finally add tamarind paste and honey

Mix well…and serve hot , garnished with chopped corriander leaves and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Jhatpat cabbage sabji

One of the most humble and quick cooking vegetable. Cabbage can also be used raw in salads like coleslaw where purple and white cabbage leaves are mixed with mayonaise and carrots…served cold this is an amazing summer salad. Todays recipe is an amazingly quick sabji, have this with phulkas, and a raita. Based on gujrati cooking, I have added crushed peanuts for added crunch, and besan to absorb the water let out when our cabbage is cooking.

Growing up in Pune, I remember my mom making cabbage in sindhi style, which she always served with pan fried boiled eggs. Then it was not my favourite vegetable. I started loving this humble vegetable after I ate coleslaw at a restaurant, when it was served as a side dish with burgers.

Years later, it has found a niche in my kitchen where it is used in stir fries, soups and yes in my Indian cooking also. True to my love of regional indian cooking, this recipe has a permanant place in my cook book. Do try it.

Ingredients

200 gms finely sliced cabbage

1 finely sliced green paprika

1 boiled, peeled and cubed potato

1 tbsp besan, ( chick pea flour)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp hing

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsps mustard oil

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsps roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts

1 tsp kitchen king or pao bhaji masala

1 sprig curry leaves

Chopped corriander leaves.

Method

Heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Next add hing, curry leaves and garlic.

Saute well

Add the cabbage, paprika and saute for a minute.

Add the boiled potato, sugar, lime juice, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, pao bhaji masala and stir till cabbage lets out water and becomes limp…about 5 mins. Now add the besan and stir.

Lastly mix in peanuts and chopped corriander leaves.

Serve piping hot with chappatis/ phulkas and a raita.

Vegetarian fish seyal

When I say vegetarian fish, its the way this unique dish is presented. Making use of cabbage leaves to make rolls filled with a besan(chick pea flour) paste, and then deep fried , causing the cabbage to look like the skin of a fish.

Many years ago, I found this recipe in THE VEGETARIAN COOK BOOK BY SADHU VASWANI CENTER. Over the years I have made this dish frequently and with good results. It does require a little extra time, but the results are worth it.😊

Besan ki sabji is made in many different ways, the Rajhasthani people call it gaathe ki sabji, where in besan is mixed with spices, oil and water to form a dough, which is then made into small balls or cylindrical logs. These balls are then boiled in water , to be cooked and then added to delicious gravies.

We sindhis also make a delicious besan sabji, called besan ji ani. But the shape given to the dough is normally like small tikkis. These tikkis or anis are either steamed or fried, and added to different gravies.And the gravy to go with this is normally a seyal onion tomato one. Seyal gravy normally lets the onions turn just a light golden instead of brown. Its one of the basic gravies sindhis use.

The recipe I will share with you today uses besan and cabbage leaves. Do try this delicious sabji with hot phulkas…

Ingredients for the rolls

5 cabbage leaves, thick vein removed.

1 cup besan( chickpea flour)

2 tbsps chopped onion

1 tsp whole corriander seeds

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red chillie powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsps chopped corriander leaves

1/4th to 1/3 rd cup water

Thread to tie the rolls..

Method

Soften the cabbage leaves by putting them in boiling water for a minute. Remove and pat dry.

Mix the besan, cumin seeds, red chilli powder, salt, corriander seeds and onions along with the water to make a thick paste.

Take a cabbage leaf, apply the besan paste, roll up the leaf and tie with a thread to keep it secured.

Deep fry the cabbage rolls, discard the thread and keep aside.

The cabbage after being fried looks like the skin of fish…hence the name.

Ingredients for the seyal gravy

2 finely chopped onions

3 tomatoes pureed

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tbsps chopped ginger

1/2 cup yogurt

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsps red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 tsp shah jeera…caraway seeds

1/2 tsp ajwain

Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan, add onions and salt .

When onions turn a pale golden brown, add cumin seeds and ajwain, and ginger, garlic.

Saute well, add red chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala.

Now add pureed tomatoes and let cook for a while, when oil seperates, add beaten curd and chopped corriander leaves.

After 5 mins, add the fried cabbage rolls.

Cover and cook for 5 mins.

Serve hot with phulkas.