Category Archives: Asian Cooking

Undiyu (Gujarati mixed vegetable curry)

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As part of Writing 101, our prompt today is to choose a place that we would like to be transported to. This could either be some place in the past or a place I would like to one-day visit in the future. I decided to pick a recipe from childhood, probably because nostalgia is such a strong thing. The recipe I’m sharing today is called Undhiyu. It’s a Gujarati vegetable curry consisting of interesting winter veggies from India. This dish is usually made during the winter months since it is quite a hearty dish or on special occasions (read guests coming over). I’ve always eaten Undhiyu when we used to visit my aunt’s family, who are Gujarati. My aunt’s mother used to make delicious Undhiyu, and serve it thali style, accompanied with thin and fluffy phulkas (a kind of Indian bread) and thick mango juice in a cup beside the bread. As I write this recipe, I think back about the fun afternoons we shared at my aunt’s, enjoying delicious food, playing in the park with my cousins and finishing it up with some fun card games. This recipe is requires some preparation, especially procuring different veggies that lend a unique take to this dish. Also, the traditional recipe is time consuming but I made pressure cooker version that helped cut down my cooking time. This was the first time I tried making this dish and I was very happy with the result. The H approached it gingerly, as he would with any unfamiliar dish, but he liked it as well, so I was happy with the experiment and the effort.

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The recipe:

Source – Bhavna Patel + my aunt

Preparation time – 30 minutes

Cooking time – 15 minutes

Serves – 4

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the muthiyas

  • 1 cup methi (fenugreek) leaves
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • ¼ cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • A pinch of fruit salt
  • Salt to taste
  • A few tbsp oil to fry

For the masala

  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • 6 green chillies
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 inch piece ginger
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ cup crushed peanuts
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp crushed jaggery or sugar
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Veggies

  • 1 cup tender Indian beans (surti papdi in Hindi, avarekalu in Kannada and mochaika in Tamil)
  • 1 cup cubed yams (I used purple yam like they traditionally do in Gujarat)
  • 6 baby eggplants
  • 2 baby potatoes
  • 1 cup green peas

For tempering

  • 1 tsp carom seeds
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

How to make it

Undhiyu

Muthiyas

  1. Mix all the ingredients listed under ‘muthiyas’ above, using a little water if required to form a stiff dough.
  2. Break small balls and shape them into cylinders as shown in the picture.
  3. Shallow fry on medium flame until golden brown on the outside. Make sure not to have the oil too hot, to ensure the inside is cooked as well. Remove from the oil and pat dry on a paper towel.

Making the masala

  1. Grind the chillies, ginger and garlic into a coarse paste.
  2. Add it to the chopped coriander. Mix with all the other ingredients listed under ‘For the masala’.

Preparing the veggies

  1. Slit all the baby eggplants from the side up, keeping the top in tact. Do the same with the baby potatoes
  2. Now take some of the masala which you’ve just prepared, add a tbsp. besan to this and mix well.
  3. Use this to stuff the baby eggplants and potatoes and keep aside.
  4. Wash and peel most of the Indian beans. If using very tender Indian beans, you can add them in whole like I did.

Making the curry

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker. Once hot, add carom seeds and reduce the heat.
  2. Add the masala paste followed by the stuffed baby eggplants and baby potatoes
  3. Add the rest of the veggies and stir gently, making sure not to disturb the stuffed veggies.
  4. Add the fried muthiyas, which were prepared earlier.
  5. Add a cup or water and close the pressure cooker. Cook until you hear 3 whistles on medium heat (the Indian beans might take a little time to cook until tender).
  6. Open the cooker once it is cool. Mix everything together and give it a taste test.
  7. Serve hot with rotis or steamed rice. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Additional notes:

  1. My recipe is not traditional, since I did not use all the veggies that this dish normally calls for. Other veggies that can be added include sweet potatoes, regular yams, fresh tuvar beans and plantain and fresh garlic leaves.
  2. Undhiyu is traditionally served with cut pieces of ripe banana on top of the curry. But I’m not a big fan of banana, especially in savory dishes; hence I’ve eliminated this.
  3. This was my first attempt at Undhiyu and I did not want to stray too far away from the recipe and hence I fried the muthiyas. But I’ve been reading that it’s also possible to steam them. So the next time I will try that technique.
  4. I used frozen Indian beans and purple yams due to lack of fresh counterparts. But this helped to cut my preparation time. 🙂 If you area using fresh veggies, preparing and dicing some of the veggies might take slightly longer.
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Lettuce wraps (Vegetarian)

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I was introduced to this tasty, crunchy snack at a friend’s party and ever since I’d been meaning to try making them at home. Thanks to Lekha requesting a recipe with Lettuce, I decided to get down to business and make them. I found this authentic and elaborate recipe which makes lettuce wraps like P.F. Chang’s here. I borrowed some elements, but finally made a much simpler version at home. This dish makes a great evening snack/salad and it also works well when entertaining people at home, since it can be left as a DIY dish. Here’s a picture that was once again snapped on my phone.

Lettuce wraps filled with stir fried tofu

The Recipe:

Source: Based on P.F Chang’s recipe

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Makes: 5-6 wraps

Here’s what I used:

  • Iceberg lettuce, use the inner hearts preferably
  • 1 cup of medium firm tofu (paneer may also be used)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 inch of ginger (thinly sliced)
  • 2-3 sprigs of coriander (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • soy sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)

How to make it:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and stir fry the onions, ginger and garlic, until the onions are translucent or just brown. Add the chilli powder and soy sauce.
  2. Add the firm tofu, crushing it with your hands as you drop it in. Use a fork and break the tofu in bits, like you’d scramble an egg.
  3. Add in the salt and sugar and mix well and let it cook a little until most of the water from the tofu evaporates (may be 5 – 7 minutes).
  4. Peel the required number of lettuce leaves, wash and dry them. Add  a couple of spoons of the tofu mixture on to the lettuce wraps. Sprinkle the chopped coriander and your lettuce wraps are ready to be eaten.

Note:  Super easy huh? I know! 🙂 And the best part is they’re healthy too. You can get creative and add all sorts of fillings. Just replace tofu with egg or paneer. Add some other vegetables like capsicum or mushrooms. May be even use corn and cheese for a filling. The possibilities seem to be endless and are tickling my stomach just as I type this out. So enjoy and let me know if you have other filling ideas. 🙂

N.B:  My mini marathon of blogging has taken a back seat as a result of my new found love of hiking in the weekends. The summer is great time to spend outdoors and I’m trying to do just that. I will try to post recipes as often as I can, but I’m calling of the marathon for now, so that I don’t compromise on the quality of my posts. 🙂