Saturday, January 27, 2007


This is perhaps "the" Gujarati dish. A delicious medley of spring vegetables slow-cooked to perfection.

On a personal note, the CC never liked this as a kid, but age even if it doesn't bring wisdom, does indeed bring more things to eat. Hurrah!

The dish quite literally means "upside down". A whole slew of delicious vegetables, spices, and prepared foods were tossed into a clay pot, the whole ensemble was sealed; the pot was placed upside down in a pit, and a fire was built on top of it. The embers surrounded the entire pot, and the dish was slow-cooked.

Needless to say, this is quite literally impossible in the modern kitchen (although if anyone is willing to do the work, the CC will fly to anywhere within the 48 states with the ingredients.)

The dish crucially relies upon "green garlic" (a.k.a. "spring garlic",) and no! substitutions may not be made.

Most of the ingredients listed below are reasonably exotic in the US (although one can easily get them in Indian grocery markets in spring and summer.) Thankfully, someone has had the wisdom to provide them in frozen form which while not quite ideal, is not bad.

The whole recipe is going to take the better part of half a day to cook (if you want to do it right, and the CC knows you do!)

The uncommitted need not apply.

There are many parts to this recipe so the CC is going to present the recipe sectionally. Commentary is added in italics for your delectation.

Please don't forget the final goal. Dump the entire melange into a pot, and slow cook.


Methi muthiya

1 bunch fenugreek leaves finely chopped(methi)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (the Indian fine-ground kind not the supermarket one.)
3/4 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 tbsp green chilli-ginger paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Mix all the above, and knead into a soft dough. Add some water if needed.

Divide the mixture into 20-25 portions, and shape each like miniature American footballs.

It's a joy to watch experienced cooks shape these balls. They work so fast that it's hard to believe!

These need to be fried. Pan-fried is fine with a thin layer of oil as long as you keep rotating them. Drain on a paper towel, and keep aside.

The Spices

1/2-3/4 cup fresh green garlic (chopped)
4 tbsp dhanajeeru (roasted cumin-coriander seeds powdered)
2-3 tbsp green chilli-ginger paste
3/4 cup cilantro (finely chopped)
1/4 cup fresh coconut grated
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp carom seeds (ajwain)
1 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

You can just use the food processor for this. And, "frozen grated coconut" is available in Indian grocery stores. This is the ultimate modern convenience since freezing doesn't affect the texture.

The Vegetables

2 cups surti papdi
2 cups purple yam (kand), diced into cubes
2 cups yellow yam (suran), diced into cubes
2 cups "new" potatoes
1 cup sweet potatoes, diced into cubes
4-5 small eggplants (the tiny, round Indian ones)
3 plaintains

1/4 tbsp asafoetida
4-5 tbsp green chilli-ginger paste

Here are some of the ingredients:

green garlic


surati papdi

The eggplants and the plaintains need to be cut in a special way since they are going to be stuffed with the spices above.

Some pictures are worth a thousand words:

See the slits? That's where the spices from section 2 are going to get stuffed into.

Heat 8 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the asafoetida, followed by the green chilli-ginger paste and fry for a bit. Add the eggplants, and the plaintains, and fry till the eggplant is just slightly tender.

Add all the stuff to the pot, and seal the pot. Traditionally, this is done using dough but foil will do in a pinch.

Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and cook for roughly 40-50 minutes. Don't open it!

(Alternately, you could just put the whole thing in the oven at 400F for about an hour.)

1 comment:

naper271 said...

nice photos!