Sunday, July 04, 2010

Getting Fresh at Home

As the title suggests, this had nothing to do with the sutra of flirting but the fact that I am grounded at home on a Sunday, banned by my surgeon to step out of the house lest I make unnecessary use of my eye (yes, I did undergo eye surgery on a nice Friday afternoon, and she punned royally with that statement of her - feisty !) and no, it's perfectly alright for me to sit in front of the computer with a break every 15 minutes.

I too am not allowed to cook, but I begged and pleaded and the doctor pitied my plight and gave me these huge plastic goggles which resemble a welders mask, but its a fair trade, as I get to do what I best like to do on a Sunday, especially since I have nothing better do.

Coming back to my attempt for the day, I love to reminisce about an oft made Gujarathi staple - Sambharia, its a typical dish which one could call home cooked and tastes like what your Mom would dish out or pack for you, complete with all the love and affection thrown in for free. Of course, all you non-Gujarathis might be savouring this dish at various restaurants specializing in Thalis, but you could make this right in your own kitchen, any-time.

The dish consists of garden fresh vegetable, available world around, a special masala which is used as a stuffing and then cooked together over low heat allowing the vegetable and masala to get fresh in their simmering hot tub... Alright back to earth !

The original recipe is quite simple and one dimensional but this version adds a bit of kick with garlic, spices, tang and a dash of sugar to sweeten things up. Spicy, covert & a hint of home - it will leave you craving for more.

You may use any four - or all for the matter depending on your liking

Capsicum (Green Bell Pepper)
Baby Onions
Baby Brinjals
Cabbage Leaves
Lady Fingers (Bhindi)


1 cup Dessicated Coconut
1/2 cup Gram Flour (Channe Ka Atta)
1 Lemon (juice)
6 cloves Garlic (grated)
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tablsp Coriander-Cumin Powder (Dhania-Jeera)
1/4 cup Coriander (finely chopped)
1 tsp Mango Powder (Amchur)
1 tablsp Sugar
1 tablsp Green Chillies (finely chopped)
Salt to taste

4 tablsp - Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Asafoetida (Hing)

Prepare the vegetables by washing througly and then wiping dry with a cloth. With a knife, slit a cross on the top of the potatoes, capsicums (de-seeded), onions, brinjals, alternately make a slit in the lady fingers on one side, the cabbage leave can be kept as is.

Prepare the Masala by combining the coconut with the flour and coriander and salting it, mix well and add the rest of the ingredients except the oil, mixing thoroughly and adding a tsp of oil, you should get a coarse mix, so ensure you do not mix with the palms of your hands as though binding dough. check for salt and sweetness and keep aside.

Lift the stuffing with your fingers and carefully stuff the slit vegetables. Place a little stuffing on a cabbage leaf and roll. Keep a little stuffing aside to be used later.

Heat the remaining oil in a deep bottomed vessel, add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter, ad the asafoetida (hing) and place the stuffed potatoes at the bottom, followed by the Brinjals, onions, and the rest of the vegetables, except the cabbage rolls. Cover the vessel with a lid (ideally a plate with sides), turn the heat to medium low and pour half a cup of water on the lid. Once the water on the lip evaporates lift the lid and toss the vegetables with a large flat spoon, ensuring not to break the vegetables and the stuffing.

Sprinkle the balance stuffing and the cabbage rolls on top of the vegetables and cover once again and let cook  on low for another fifteen minutes. Check if the potatoes are done by piercing with a fork, once these fork goes in clean and the potatoes are soft the vegetable is ready to be served.

Serve hot with Rotis, Phulkas or Rice.  

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