Sunday, January 23, 2011

Khandeshi concoction Shev Bhaji

Bright Red Spicy curry!

I think it was about 10 years ago I had this first time at a friend's place. And to be frank enough I did not enjoy it much. It was extremely spicy, I could only taste chili powder and nothing else. Soggy shev/gathiya was something that I did not have appetite for. Fast forward 6 years and my husband decided to make it for me. He is from Khandesh and its a favorite dish from that region like Misal is from Kolhapur. The red color again scared me but I decided to give it a try just because I had seen him making it and the time he spend cooking. This time I could taste different kinds of spices blend together and even though the gathiya were soggy it was not too bad. This is one dish I only help out to measure the ingredients, make chapatis and then set the table. The reason is his friends! They call him with a farmaish at least once in six months. He loves making it and also enjoy eating it. I have learned to make it with him but haven't had chance to make it yet :)


My mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law and my co-sister all have their way of making Shev bhaji. All of them use almost same ingredients but the proportions change and sometimes the roasting technique is different. Here is how my husband makes it -

2 tsp Poppy Seeds
2 tbsp Dale (Roasted Chana Daal)
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
2 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp Coriander Powder
2 Star Anise
1/2 Cup Dry Coconut
2 tsp Black Peppers
4 Cloves
3 Bay leaves
2" Cinnamon Stick
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
9 Flat Red Chilies (Less Hot Variety)
2 Large Onions (Approximately 2 cups sliced onion)
4 Cloves Garlic (Approximately 2 tbsp)
1/2" Ginger
1/3 cup Oil (or more)
Salt as needed
Water as needed
1/4 cup Cilantro

2 cup Spicy Bhavnagari Gathiya

Spice Galore for ShevbhajiGround Masala Paste for Shevbhaji

Preperation - 
Dry roast all the spices separately. Let them cool down and grind together to make fine powder.
Thinly slice onions.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add sliced onions.
Roast it on medium to low heat until fully done and browned but not burnt.
Cool the roasted onion.
Grind together onion, garlic, ginger, ground masala. Use as little water as possible to grind it make a thick paste.
Now heat oil in a thick vessel. Add mustard seeds and hing. Add masala paste when mustard seeds start sputtering.
Roast masala on medium heat until the oil separates and masala is fully roasted. It takes up to 15-20 minutes.
Now add about 4-5 cups of water, mix it well. Lower the heat and let it cook without covering. The masala should cook well and oil should start floating in top of curry.
Remove the rassa from heat and add chopped cilantro.
Mix in about 1.5 cups of gathiya.
Serve hot in a bowl, squeeze lemon juice and enjoy with chapati.


Tips - 
  • My brother-in-law uses 2 large tomatoes to the masala paste to make it little less spicy. 
  • Traditionally it is eaten with chapatis but I also like it with sourdough bread. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Makarsankranti - Feast 1

After many years, I am celebrating Makarsankranti this year. Celebration = cooking traditional food and enjoying with family and friends! We Maharashtrians celebrate 3 days of this festival. On the day one, called Bhogi, we make mixed vegetable with 'Bajarichi teel lavaleli bhakari' (Millet flatbread with sesame seeds). Day two, called Sankrant, sesame and jaggary mixture cooked together to make brittle. We give these brittles to everyone who comes home that day and say 'tilgul ghya goad bola'! And day three, called Kinkrant, we eat leftovers from day one for lunch.

Makarsankranti marks the transition of the Sun from South towards North. Its a belief that the days start becoming longer by one sesame seed worth. This is the season for lots of winter vegetables like fresh garbanzo beans, Val Papadi, Surati Papadi, Carrots, Eggplants and many many more. It is winter time in most part of India so its good to eat something oily and so its a tradition to eat sesame seeds in any form is a recommended. They say Millet (Bajri) produces heat in the body so its advised to eat that during winter as well. As a child, I remember eating sugarcane, ber during sankranti festival. Newly married girls wear black sarees or black dresses, kids are showered with ber, chocolates, murmure, tilgul. All in all its a festival that celebrates the season with all its bounties.

Today I made mixed vegetable with whatever fresh and frozen vegetables I could find. I have plenty of Jowar flour in the freezer so decided to make Jowar bhakri instead of Bajari. I will write that recipe some other time. Lets see the mixed vegetable recipe -

Mix Bhaji

1/4 each Val Papdi, Val beans, Lilva toor, fresh garbanzo beans (I used all frozen)
1 Japanese eggplant (or 2-3 small eggplants)
1-2 Carrots
2 tbsp Roasted Peanut Powder
1 tbsp Roasted sesame seed powder (black or white)
2 tsp Goda Masala
2 tsp Red chili Powder (or per taste)
Salt per Taste
1 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp each Mustard Seeds, Cumin seeds, Turmeric Powder
Water as needed
Chopped Cilantro for garnish

Preparation - 
Thaw all the frozen vegetables for at least 30 minutes.
Wash and chop the eggplant(s) in 1/2 inch cubes.
Peel and trim the ends of carrot(s) and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes.
Heat oil in thick bottom pan then add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add turmeric powder when seeds start spluttering.
Now add all thawed beans and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add carrots and saute for another minute.
Saute for couple more minutes after adding eggplants.
Now add about a cup of water, salt, goda masala and chili powder.
Mix well cover and let it cook for 8-10 minutes on low to medium heat.
Make sure there is enough water for vegetables to cook. Check couple of times and add more water if necessary.
Cook till the beans are fully done and then add peanut powder and sesame powder and mix well.
Now let most of the water dry out till there is very little sauce left in the pan.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Bhakari or Chapati.


Tips - 
  • You can use the Undhiyo mix vegetable pack if you do not want to bring all the frozen vegetables separately. 
  • Eggplants usually become pretty mushy in this making the sauce thicker and tastier. 
  • My mom uses thistle seeds powder with peanut and sesame seed powder. 

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