A potpourri of Indian winter vegetables unique to Gujarat

This is one of my favourite ways to eat vegetables. Undhiyun is usually made in the winter season in India, and originates in Saurashtra (Southern Gujarat), using a unique combination of fresh winter vegetables. This Indian state has two streams of cuisine – Kathiawar and Surat schools. Surati preparations tend to be sweeter, due to the addition of jaggery or sugar.
I confess I usually skip the first prep step, but if you have the time to fry these little dough balls, go ahead! If you choose not to, just sprinkle a teaspoon of some dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) while cooking the vegetables, and it’s flavour will penetrate the vegetables. This is a very important ingredient, so make sure you do either of these things!

For the methi (fenugreek) ghatta
1 tbsp. fresh ground coconut
100 gms. methi leaves, chopped
2 cups coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp curd
1/2 cup gram flour, sieved
1 tsp chilli powder
4 tbsp. oil
salt to taste

Vegetable Mix:
1 cup small red wax potatoes, halved.
1 cup small papdi beans, stringed, split into two each.
1 cup gms peas
1 -2 cups small Indian eggplants, slit into quarters, with stems intact.
1 large green plantain, unpeeled, cut into three pieces each
1 – 2 cups elephant yam (‘suran’>) or sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
2 tbsps coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp. ginger, ground
1/2 tsp. garlic
4 green chillies, crushed
1 tbsp. wheat flour
1 lemon
2 tsps jaggery or sugar
1/2 tsp soda bicarb
1 tsp ajwain (caroway seed)
A pinch of asafoetida
Salt to taste

This is ‘Garbarero‘ from my CD A New Leafdrawing inspiration from 6/8 garba rhythms from Gujarat heard during the festival of Navratri in India. Fernando Huergo (bass) stirred in his own twist to the rhythms – a 6/8 version from his native Argentina – the chacarero.

A New Leaf

A New Leaf

It was a no-brainer that the tune be christened ‘Garbarero’. Catch the brilliant Esperanza Spalding scatting nimbly over modal harmonies here.

Like it? Purchase the CD here

  • Methi ghattas: Mix all ingredients (with one tbsp. of oil) to make a stiff dough. Shape into small ovals and fry in 4 tbsp. of oil till brown. Drain and set aside
  • Vegetables: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chilli, ginger, garlic, coriander and make a course paste
  • Rub the vegetables with oil and above paste and let marinate for 30 minutes
  • Using the oil that you previously used to fry ghattas, add asafoetida, ajwain and soda bicarb
  • Then add all the root vegetables and banana, coconut, spices, methi ghattas & salt and stir well. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add papdi, turmeric, wheat flour (if there is a lot of vegetable juice in the pan) and the jaggery
  • Cover and cook on a low fire till the yam is done
  • Just prior to serving, garnish with fresh chopped coriander, lemon juice.
  • Serve hot with puris or parathas

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