Friday, January 27, 2017

Undhiyu (modified and simplified.) A Winter Specialty.

On Sundays, my mother and I, or sometimes, my father and I would walk to the bus stand and eagerly wait for bus number 63 (my favorite as it was a double decker) or bus number 61 to take us to Dadar B.B. We would get down at 'Plaza Cinema' stop and walk to Saurashtra stores or DadarSurati Farsan mart.
My mom or dad would carry a big  steel dabba , with a tight fitting lid. We would then join the line, a long line and wait impatiently for our turn to buy Undhiyu.

This Gujarati winter specialty is well loved by many but since it is labor intensive, no wonder the lines were serpentine. 
When it was our turn, we would get the Undhiyu and some little snack for me and head back home. My parents were careful when carrying the heavy container. It was full of the most delicious smelling Undhiyu and oh-so-greasy! 

I would pick out my favorite bits, potato, yam and the deep fried muthiyas leaving out the eggplant and banana.

I always wished for a better version of Undhiyu, one that wasn't SO dripping with oil and sans eggplant and soft squishy bananas.

So now, with a little help from my friend, Sonali, I have the recipe I like and will make often.
The plus is, I used my EPC (Electric Pressure Cooker ) and it was a breeze.
This time, I was able to take step wise pictures (iPhone), hopefully these will help.

The traditional version has Surti Papdi, fresh peas, suran (Elephant foot yam), Konphal ( purple yam), potato, ripe but firm bananas cooked in a coconut spice mix in a ton of oil.

My version is simplified to what is most easily available and of course, you can add eggplants if you wish. I will add the method to include these as well.

To begin with, you need:

1 large potato ( I used a Russet) 
2 slender Purple Yams
1 regular Yam
3/4 packet of Frozen Surti Papdi ( a quarter bag was used when i made something else, so if you like, use the entire packet)
1 cup Frozen Toovar Lilva
11/2 Tsp Carom seeds /Ajwain, divided.
1/4 cup Oil ( you will need a good amount of oil, it's still a lot less than the original amount) don't skimp!

Peel and cut the tubers into large chunks. Soak in cold water to avoid discoloring.

For the Spice Mix ( the chutney) 

approx. 1 cup Shredded coconut (fresh or frozen) 
1 bunch of Cilantro ( leaves and tender stalk), finely chopped
2-3 fresh Green Chilies (+/- to taste)
1 inch knob of Ginger
Fistful Fresh Green Garlic ( if unavailable, use 3-4 fat cloves of Garlic) 
1 heaped tsp. Coriander powder
1 tsp Garam Masala ( I use Badshah Rajwadi Garam masala)
1 tsp Kashmiri Red chillies powder ( or a blend of a spicier powder and kashmiri, if you want to amp up the heat) 
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lime ( my addition)
2 tsp Sugar 

Make a paste of the ginger and green chilies. If using whole garlic, add that to the ginger- chilies mix. If using fresh green garlic, add the garlic 'bulb' and chop the greens fine. 
Mix all the ingredients listed above and set aside. 

Methi Muthiya:

1 small bunch Fresh Fenugreek leaves, washed in several changes of water and chopped fine
1/2 cup whole wheat flour ( atta)
1/2 cup Besan 
1/4 tsp EACH, Turmeric and Red chilies powder
Salt to taste
Big Pinch Sugar
Pinch Baking soda ( I used Eno Fruit salt) 
1/4 tsp Red chilies powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Oil


Do the prep.
Peel and chop the vegetables and soak in cold water. If you like, add 2-3 small, round eggplants. Cut the stem and make a cross cut half way through the eggplant (X) but ensure that you do not make pieces. The eggplants will be stuffed with some of the spice blend. 


I used my Electric Pressure Cooker to make the Undhiya so let me detail the procedure Sonali shared with me and later I will also suggest the regular pressure cooker method. 

STEP 1:
To begin, Rinse the frozen Surti Papdi and Toovar Lilva in water (to get rid of ice) and add it to a pot. Add salt and the Ajwain, mix.
In the steel inner pot of the EPC, add 2 cups of water and place the papdi and lilva pot on a trivet and set the EPC to 'Manual' mode for 10 mins.

STEP 2:
While the Papdi cooks, make the muthiya, 
Mix all the ingredients for the muthiya, adding just enough water to make a smooth dough.Divide into 10-12 equal sized balls and deep fry.  
I made my dough a bit wet and shaggy and used my appe pan / abelskiver pan to shallow fry them. Once done, keep the aside. We need them towards the end.

STEP 3:
Now,  back to the EPC and the papdi/ lilva , once the pressure has released remove the pot, drain the water in the inner pot and set it on 'Sear'  / 'Saute' mode.
Add oil to the inner pot and let it heat a little. 
Add remaining 1 tsp Ajwain and all the spice blend / Masala and saute.
Sauteing the spice mix

At this point, I scooped out half the masala and decided to add it on top of the mound of vegetables. It is entirely optional.
Add the vegetables on the masala.

That's the surti papdi and toovar lilva.
Then the root vegetables.
Add the scooped out masala on top and mix gently.
If using eggplants, stuff them with some of the masala ( like 1 tsp/eggplant) add them now. Because the eggplants get squishy, do not add them to the bottom, they will be over cooked and pulpy.
If using bananas ( ripe yet firm to the touch), cut the bananas in half and then make slits and stuff them,like you did in the eggplant and add them on top of all the veges.
Sprinkle in about 1/2 cup water.


Close the EPC, set it to 'sealing' mode and set on manual for 10 minutes and let the pressure subside naturally.

Remember the muthiya? STEP 4:


Add the muthiya to the cooked vegetables  and close the lid again. I just let it sit for a good 10-15 mins, let the flavors meld.


Mix gently and garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Regular Pressure Cooker Method:

Everything remains the same, what we will do here is: 
Heat oil in the cooker and add the ajwain.
Add the vegetables in the order mentioned (except the eggplant and bananas, if using) and the masala, mix well.
Now layer in the eggplant and bananas. Sprinkle with water and seal the lid, with the whistle.
Cook for 2 whistles and let the pressure subside naturally. 
Add the muthiya and seal the lid. At this point, the cooker may hold pressure again, that's ok, it won't spoil anything, in fact the muthiya will naturally soften and the flavors will come together well. 

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve. 

The methods of using either pressure cooker are similar and if you are wondering what makes the EPC my choice or even otherwise a popular choice is that it eliminates the guesswork. In my case, I dislike guessing how many whistles are needed to cook it just right. No waiting around and counting how many whistles...
The EPC settings do the job perfectly. 

Notes:

Do not cut down the oil (unless you have medical issues). This is made only during winter season and is probably a one or two time thing, so you can indulge.

We prefer eating Undhiyu  just as it is, no accompaniments. 

Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Undhiyu reheats beautifully in the microwave.  


That's it from me. Have a wonderful weekend, folks! 

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