Winter means Undhiyu; basically, it’s the season of all these amazing green vegetables you see in the market to make this versatile dish. Roughly, that’s Undhiya for you. It’s all about bringing people together because I remember, when it was made in my house, our tasks were divided; we’d sit in our family kitchen together and each would do one task at least-be it of peeling, separating the leaves of the methi, chopping, rolling etc. And, usually the first Undhiyu of the season would be packed in dabbas & sent to my relatives & friends.
After having grown up eating the kathiawadi version (yes, there are three kinds of Undhiyus, if you broadly categorise), my knowledge was pretty limited about the other kinds. But, I think every household has a different way of making this traditional dish. So, let me share with you some information that intrigued me
Types of Undhiyus
It is basically the green masala Undhiyu with vegetables like potatoes, yam, raw banana, papdi etc where vegetables are stuffed with coconut & peanut masala. Living in Mumbai, being a Gujarati & a foodie too, Undhiyu doesn't originate from here so gathering all the ingredients or looking for a place that serves an amazing one is a little difficult. I'm amazed that during the winter season, the Surti papdi beans are brought all the way from Surat to Mumbai on a train! You know you're eating an authentic Surti Undhiyu when you see kand (purple yam), sakariya (sweet potato), lilwa dana, kaccha kela & arya kakdi (often mistaken as zucchini) in this elaborate dish with a green masala.
The colour of the Undhiyu says it all, it’s not an entirely green undhiyu because the masalas used come from the ground spices. In this particular kind of Undhiyu, the brinjals & potatoes are not stuffed with masala. But, in my family, we do stuff the vegetables and also include bharwan green chillies (the bhavnagri ones that are not spicy at all). We also do not use coconut in the mix, which distinguishes it from the Surti version. So, it safe to say that an Undhiyu recipe differs every 100 metres in the state. I love pairing it with either Bajre Ki Roti, Puri or fulkas drizzled with ghee.
This technique is quite popular in South of Gujarat where all the vegetables are cooked in a claypot or a matka. The word ‘Undhiyu’ comes from this very technique where the matka is put upside down, which literally translates to ‘undhu’ in Gujarati & buried in the ground and set fire from above to cook it. This village-style Undhiyu usually doesn’t have spices or the green masala, just some ajwain & salt is added to boil the vegetables in this earthen pot. While the Palanpuri Undhiyu has mustard oil, sesame seed oil plays a key ingredient in this recipe, which is then drizzled over the Undhiyu & savoured with green chutney & steamed rice. The Undhiyu from Valsad region is called Umbadiyu which is made out of the same recipe.
Got a recipe!
Recently I learnt this recipe from my neighbour, a sweet old lady, (of my grandmother’s age) which was outstanding & I’m going to share it with you. And, guess what, this has no garlic, no onion & no coconut kind of a recipe. And, when I asked her why? She laughingly said, “Because I want to devour it slowly over a period of 4-5 days. If I add all those ingredients, it’ll get spoilt.”
So, let’s start.
First you need to start with the Muthiyas:
Combine all the ingredients forming a soft dough. Roll out the small dough balls & steam it. And, then pan fry them getting a crispy coat on the outside.
To make the rest of the Undhiyu:
How To Make:
1. Cut the potatoes and brinjals into segments taking care not to separate them at the base.
2. Fill the masala mix in the potato & brinjal segments. Keep it aside.
3. In a thick and broad based vessel, add mustard seeds.
4. When it starts crackling, add the green beans, along with the green pigeon peas and split pigeon peas.
5. Add a pinch of soda bicarbonate to it.
6. Add salt, carom seeds, ginger and crushed green chillies, coriander and ginger powder, half the green garlic and the remaining half masala.
7. Mix the flat green beans when it starts simmering.
8. Arrange the brinjals, potatoes, purple yam, diced sweet potatoes and green peas all around the simmering beans.
9. Add the remaining masala and cover with a lid with a little water on top of it.
10. Add the methi na muthias.
11. Be careful as not to stir the veggies rigorously as the sections tend to break.
12. Cook on a slow fire.
13. When done, add the diced bananas and coriander and cumin powder, and cook for five minutes.
You can serves Undhiyu with Puris, fulkas, rice or bajre ki roti and some gud or jaggery on the side. Hope you make & enjoy this amazing Undhiyu recipe on this #NationalUndhiyuDay! Happy Cooking.
Think of her as a delicacy. She could be a red sauce penne pasta or refreshing strawberry smoothie. A little sweet, quite tangy and unapologetic on the palate. Her soul is that of a gastronome, mind of an illustrator and heart of a writer. She uses these ingredients to plate up tasty stories about food at India Food Network as an Associate Editor. Be it her blogs, articles, reviews or food shows; she promises a wholesome affair.