Gujarati / Surti Undhiyo Puri – a winter special and Uttarayan (Sankranti ) signature dish : a rustic mix vegetable dish that celebrates the season’s freshest and best produce. A winter special dish and in Gujarati homes, no Gujarati meal will be complete without this soulful bowl of undhiyu and crispy fried pooris.
No one can understand this undying love for simple and rustic mix vegetable dish, called undhiyu than a Bengali, because we are literally the champions of mix vegetable dishes, we can make any combination of mix vegetables possible (see here our famous Chapor Ghonto) and we will make them appetizing and flavorsome too . So at the beginning of the winter season, when my Instagram feeds was peppered with undhiyu, I knew I had to try this soon.
So what better would be than making this Gujarati signature dish on Uttarayan / Sankranti?
Makar Sankranti – it’s that time of the year when entire country celebrates this transmigration of sun from one zodiac to another, which announces the end and beginning of seasons. Since the dawn of civilization mankind has always prioritize Sun and its movement, the change of seasons and so on.
Different regions of India celebrates this celestial event , this is also one of the most important harvest festival of the country too and called it by different names – sankranti / poush sankranti/ uttarayan / bhogali bihu / Lohri / Pongal / Maghi / etc and prepares plethora of dishes that has become synonymous with the festival.
This year I had tried something different. I had tried to recreate some of the regional varieties of Sankranti dishes, other than our own Bengali Poush Parbon Pithe-Puli spread.
In the picture below you can see some of the regional favourites that is widely prepared during this festival time – Lemon rice / Nimbekayi Chitranna from Karnataka, Kootu (a mix vegetable curry prepared during this time without onions and garlic and all the three southern states has their own versions of this special curry) , Shakarkand ki puri which is largely enjoyed in northern states, Til gud ka paratha / obattu and its regional variations is enjoyed in Maharashtra, Andhra, Karnataka, and Haryana, Punjab.
Pongal – ven pongal and chakkarai pongal both the dishes has become synonymous with this festival and off course our very own til ke laddu that actually unifies the entire country because this is the one dish in laddu or in barfi / chikki / form is enjoyed by the entire India irrespective of the regions.
The idea behind to curate this festive spread is not to showcase one’s culinary skills but to asserts the fact that in this turbulent times, when ideological differences turns friends into foes, divides the families, all we need is little bit of LOVE & RESPECT for each other, for each other’s culture and traditions. Ignoring the fact that Sun showers its blessings equally to each and every corner of the mother Earth. We etches boundaries on it, creates borders, differences, prejudices. Aren’t we all same under the mighty SUN who rules our lives.
There are regional variations of Undhiyu, mine is perhaps more aligning to Surti style.
What will you need to make a hearty bowl of Undhiyu?
1. Winter season
2. Clay pots to make. That’s how Undhiyu is actually cooked, clay pots filled with seasons’s freshest and best produce are sealed inside the pot, then turned upside down (that’s why it is called undhiyu, meaning ulta, turned upside down) and buried in slow burning embers.
3. Methi Muthia – they are the backbone of undhiyu dish. I first had it without muthia and then again had it at one of the Gujarati Pop up curated and cooked by a talented homechef. So I precisely know what difference it can bring to the dish.
4. Coconut. Do not skip it. Undhiyu cooked without coconut will not have that texture, flavour and taste.
5. Vegetables I have used – baby brinjals , baby potatoes (try to get the new potatoes, possible only in winters) , Kandh / root vegetable (since I don’t eat yams of any kind, I have substituted it with sweet potatoes and this substitution had worked far better for me) , Raw banana, Flat Beans.
Beans- there are primarily three types used here .
Surti Papdi and Valor Papdi both are variety of flat beans and are available in plenty during winter season. Chop the tender beans and shell the mature ones. The seeds gives such a nice texture to this dish and vital to Undhiyu.
Other than this Tuvar Lilva or fresh pigeon peas, also one of the important ingredient of undhiyu, is available only during the winters and that too for very short time.
6. Undhiyu Masala – Fresh green peas, coriander leaves, green chillies, green garlic, ginger, roasted peanut powder, toasted sesame seeds, jaggery and grated fresh coconut.
How to make Undhiyu ?
1.Undhiyu Masala is prepared first. You can make it a day ahead.
2. Methi muthias are prepared usually a day ahead. You can prepare it same day too. Just to shorten the overhead you can prepare it and store it in fridge too.
3. Eggplants and potatoes are stuffed with undhiyu masala.
4. Rest of the vegetables are cut into big chunks. Shell the fresh pigeon peas, flat beans. You can do it a day ahead too.
5. Final stage -assemble and cook the Undhiyu.
Gujarati Undhiyu / Mix vegetable dish is a the most celebrated dish of winter season and for sankranti festival too.
- 1 1/2 cup Methi leaves (chopped)
- 1/2 cup Wheat flour
- 1/3 cup Besan / chickpea flour
- 1 tsp each of turmeric, cumin , coriander, red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp seasame seeds
- 1/4 cup Roasted Peanuts (crushed)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Ginger and green chilli paste
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- Oil for frying
- Salt as per taste
- 3/4 cup Fresh Green Peas
- 1 cup Coriander Leaves , chopped
- 2-3 Green chillies
- 1/4 cup Green garlic (chopped, if not available, skip this one)
- 1 inch Ginger piece
- 1/2 cup Grated coconut, fresh
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 pinch Hing / asafoetida
- 2-3 tsp Red chilli powder, ground cumin and coriander powder
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- salt as per taste
- 6-8 Baby Brinjal
- 6 Small Potatoes, get the new ones
- 1 Raw Banana
- 2 Sweet Potato (in place of yam)
- 150 gm Surti Papdi (Small flat beans)
- 1/2 cup Valor Papdi seeds (seeds of flat beans)
- 3/4 cup Tuvar Lilva (fresh pigeon peas)
- 1/2 cup Fresh Green Peas (optional)
- Freshly grated coconut for garnishing
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Coriander powder, freshly ground if possible
- 11/2 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Red chilli powder (I use kashmiri powder)
- 2 tbsp jaggery, grated
- 1 tsp Carrom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 pinch Hing / asafoetida
- 2 tbsp sesame
- Salt as per taste
- Oil as required
Wash and clean the methi / fenugreek leaves under running water thoroughly.
Chop the leaves.
In a bowl add all the ingredients listed under the methi muthiya. Squeeze out the water from the leaves and add it to the bowl.
Mix all the ingredients together and the leaves. With the help of little water , add step by step as required, make a dough. Leave it for 10 minutes.
Pinch out small balls out of the dough. You will get around 10 small balls.
Heat a deep bottom pan for frying. Add enough oil. When the oil is smoking hot, carefully slide in the balls and fry them on medium low heat till done. Slot them out from the oil and keep them separated.
Wash and clean the coriander leaves. Roughly chop them. Chop the green chllies and ginger too.
In a mixer jar, put all the ingredients together and pulse them into very coarse mix. Use little water if requires.
Wash and clean all the vegetables. Make a criss cross cut into the eggplants and potatoes to stuff them with the undhiyu masala.
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes and raw banana into big chunks.
Remove the strings from the surti papdi ( flat beans). Shell the fresh pigeon peas (tuvar lilva), and the valor papdi (flat beans).
In a flat pan, heat some oil. Gently fry the stuffed potatoes and brinjals. Slot them out and reserve, once the brinjals are lightly brown from all sides.
In the same pan, add little more oil and fry the sweet potatoes and raw banana. Slot them out and reserve the vegetables
In a deep bottom kadhai , heat some oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the carom, sesame and mustard seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the chopped surti papdi / flat beans, fresh green peas, fresh pigeon peas and seeds of flat beans. Lightly fry them. Add the hing and other spices listed under spices. Lightly fry them.
Arrange the lightly fried sweet potatoes and raw bananas over the flat beans. Add half the undhiyu mix masala and spread it evenly.
Layer and arrange the stuffed potatoes and brinjals over the raw bananas and sweet potatoes. Spread the remaining undhiyu mix masala. Add 1/4 cup water . Tightly close the lid and cook on low heat. Undhiyu should be steam cooked.
After 20-25 minutes, remove the lid and check for the doneness of the vegetables. If require add little water, add the methi muthiya and close the lid and cook till done. Undhiyu is a semi dry vegetable dish.
Once done, mix the undhiyu very gently. Garnish with chopped coriander and freshly grated coconut.
Serve warm with poori or roti.
This recipe of Undhiyu has been adapted from Jcookingodyssey
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