Uttarayan celebrated on January 14th in Gujarat, is a time for kite-flying in and gorging on some delicious undhiyu, poori, jalebi and til chikki
My neighbour makes some amazingly crisp chikki with peanuts and sesame and I always get my share during Uttarayan...
Ahmedabad is almost distinctly divided into the old city or the walled area and the new Satellite area. The old area has houses that go up vertically, literally with one room on a floor, landing up in an open terrace. The shops in this area are big enough to hold in the shopkeeper and 2 customers, maybe. The new area has plush bungalows, high rise apartments and huge shopping malls sprouting everywhere.
All traditional festivals are celebrated with great gusto in the old area, as compared to the new areas. I have managed to go into the old areas twice during Uttarayan. Its like a different world out there, everyone is up on their terrace, with music players, dhols (drums) and whistles, or more recently, the vuvuzela look alikes...
Everytime someone manages to cut somebody else's kite, the music and whistling gets louder and the victorious shouts of 'kaipo che', which means 'we cut the kite' echo around...
If you have seen the Salman Khan starrer 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam', you know what I am talking about...
The mood is really upbeat and the radio channels have contests all thru the week that win you 100 kites !
Anyway, back to the favourite topic of any self-respecting Amdavadi - Food !!
Undhiyu is a delicious mix of vegetables, mainly root vegetables, some beans and muthias cooked in a green masala. The traditional ones are cooked in an earthen pot over firewood, the ones in restaurants float in a lot of oil and here's my version which I learnt from a Gujarati friend here...
Here's what went into my Undhiyu - sweet potatoes, purple yam / kand, banana, baby potatoes, small brinjals, papdi / stringed flat beans, tuver dana the green masala and of course, the muthias from this post
Most of these vegetables are seasonal, and many may not be available outside of Gujarat. I have mentioned alternate vegetables that are more easily available, which can be used instead. And there are a whole lot of vegetables used, so a little of each makes quite a bit of undhiyu !
Undhiyu / Undhiya
What you need -
1 cup stringed broad beans / surti papdi
1 purple yam / kand or use yam or raw banana instead
5 baby potatoes
5 small brinjals / eggplants
1 sweet potato
1/2 cup tuver dana / fresh pigeon peas or use peas instead
1/2 cup fresh broad bean seeds / Papdi dana / avarekai
1-2 ripe bananas (try not to leave this out, it adds a lovely taste)
8-10 methi muthia
5-6 tbsp oil
1 tsp ajwain / carom seeds
salt to taste
1.5 cup fresh grated coconut
1 cup cleaned and chopped coriander leaves
3-4 stalks of garlic chives / hara lasan (use garlic or can omit)
4-6 green chillies
1" piece ginger
1 tbsp dhania / coriander seed powder
1 tbsp jeera / cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
What you do with it -
For the green masala
Chop and clean the green chillies and ginger and pulse without water to make a coarse paste. If using garlic cloves, grind along with the green chillies and ginger
Chop the green garlic if using mix all the ingredients listed under green masala and keep aside
Peel the purple yam / raw bananas, sweet potato and the baby potatoes
Chop the yam and sweet potato into large chunks. Rinse well and keep aside
Note: If you are using the purple yam, please peel, wash in a colander, without touching the yam, drain and keep aside. Washing the yam with your hands can cause a lot of itching
Cut the ripe banana with the skin on, into thick slices
Rub the green masala on the purple yam and sweet potato and ripe bananas and allow it to sit in the masala for about 10 mins
Wash the brinjals and the make 2 cuts, like a criss-cross on one end of the brinjals and baby potatoes
Use the green masala and stuff the potatoes and brinjals and keep aside
Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a deep bottomed pan or a pressure pan / cooker. If you have the oil that you fried the muthias in, then that's the best to use here
Add the ajwain and then the papdi
Add the tuver dana / peas and avarekai sprinkle some green masala over this
Stir once or twice
Layer it with the yam and sweet potato
Then the stuffed potatoes and brinjals
Right on top, add the ripe bananas and methi muthias
Spread the remaining green masala, 1/2 tsp salt over this and then a tbsp or two of oil over it
If you are using a pressure cooker, then you layer it in this order, so the ones that need least cooking are right on top
In a pan, you may need to add each layer, cover and cook for about 5 mins before you add the next
Do not stir the vegetables at any point
Sprinkle a little water if needed at any point, but keep it to a minimum
I made this in a pressure pan and allowed it to cook for 1-2 whistles over a low flame
It could take over 20 mins in a deep pan
Once it done, spoon it out into a serving dish and serve hot with puris
You may land up with quite a bit of leftovers if its not too many of you eating this. To re-heat, I put mine in a pre-heated oven for about 5 mins. Tasted really good !