Undhiyu is a traditional Gujarati dish that is made with a variety of winter vegetables and fenugreek dumplings. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for the cold season. Undhiyu is usually enjoyed on festivals like Uttarayan (kite flying festival), Diwali, and special occasions like marriage parties. In this blog post, we will explore the authentic undhiyu recipe and some of its variations. We will also learn how to cook undhiyu in a simple and easy way. Let’s get started!
What is Undhiyu?
Undhiyu is derived from the Gujarati word ‘undhu’, which means ‘upside down’. This is because the dish is traditionally cooked in earthen pots, called ‘matlu’ or ‘matka’, which are sealed and placed upside down in a fire pit dug inside the ground. The slow-cooking in the earthen pot gives the dish an earthy and rustic flavor.
Undhiyu is a one-pot vegetable casserole dish that is made with seasonal fresh produce that the winters in India bring along. Some of the common vegetables used in undhiyu are:
- Surti papdi: These flat green beans are alternatively referred to as Indian broad beans or hyacinth beans.
- Tuvar lilva: These are fresh pigeon peas or green peas that are exclusively available during the winter season.
- Brinjal: These are small or baby eggplants that are purple or green in color.
- Baby potatoes: These are small potatoes that are peeled or unpeeled.
- Sweet potato: These are orange-fleshed tubers that add a sweet flavor to the dish.
- Purple yam: Also known as “kand” or “ratalu” in Gujarati, these tubers feature a purple flesh.
- Plantain: These are unripe green bananas that are peeled and chopped.
- Fenugreek leaves: These are fresh green leaves that have a bitter taste and are also known as methi leaves.
Apart from these vegetables, undhiyu also has fenugreek dumplings, called methi muthia, which are made with gram flour, fenugreek leaves, spices, and oil. These dumplings are either fried or steamed and added to the dish.
The vegetables and the dumplings are cooked in a special masala, which is made with coconut, peanut, sesame seeds, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chili, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and oil. The masala adds a rich and aromatic flavor to the dish.
How to Cook Undhiyu?
There are different ways of cooking undhiyu in different parts of Gujarat. Some of the popular variations are:
- Surti undhiyu: This particular style represents the most commonly employed method for preparing undhiyu. Here, the vegetables are skillfully stuffed with a fragrant masala and then cooked either in a pressure cooker or a large pot. This approach offers convenience and saves time, making it a favored choice.
- Kathiawadi undhiyu: For those seeking a spicier rendition of undhiyu, Kathiawadi undhiyu fits the bill perfectly. In this version, the vegetables are not stuffed individually but instead mixed with a tantalizing masala before being cooked in a pressure cooker or a large pot. This method is not only effortless but also expeditious in producing a delectable outcome.
- Matla undhiyu: When it comes to authenticity, Matla undhiyu reigns supreme. This traditional method involves cooking the vegetables in an earthen pot over an open fire, imparting a distinctive smoky and earthy flavor. Although this technique demands more time and patience, the resulting dish is truly worth savoring.
To cook undhiyu in a simple way, you can follow these steps:
- Prepare the methi muthia by mixing gram flour, chopped fenugreek leaves, red chili powder, turmeric powder, baking soda, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and oil in a bowl. Knead it into a soft dough and shape it into small balls. Deep-fry them in hot oil until golden and crisp. Drain them on paper towels and keep aside.
- Prepare the masala by grinding grated coconut, roasted peanut powder, sesame seeds, chopped coriander leaves, green chili ginger garlic paste, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a blender or a mixer. Transfer it to a bowl and keep aside.
- Prepare the vegetables by washing and peeling them if required. Cut them into small pieces or slit them slightly if they are whole. Stuff some of the masala into the brinjal, potatoes, sweet potato, purple yam, and plantain. Keep some masala aside for later use.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker or a large pot over medium-high flame. Add carom seeds (ajwain) and asafoetida (hing) and saute for a few seconds. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and garam masala powder and saute for a few more seconds.
- Add the stuffed vegetables, surti papdi, valor papdi, tuvar lilva, green peas, and water. Mix well and sprinkle some salt over it. Cover the cooker or the pot with a lid and cook for 3-4 whistles or until the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Open the lid and gently stir the undhiyu. Add the fried methi muthia and the remaining masala and mix well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the gravy is thick and well-coated on the vegetables.
- Garnish with some grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with roti, puri, or rice.
If you want to try some different flavors of undhiyu, you can experiment with these variations:
- Winter undhiyu: This is a seasonal variation of undhiyu, where you can add some more winter vegetables like ivy gourd (tindora), green garlic (hara lahsun), and fresh fenugreek pods (methi dana) to the dish. These vegetables add more crunch and flavor to the dish.
- Vegetarian undhiyu: This is a vegan-friendly variation of undhiyu, where you can skip the frying of the methi muthia and steam them instead. You can also use less oil in the cooking process and use vegan-friendly ingredients like coconut oil or peanut oil.
- Undhiyu with a twist: This is a creative variation of undhiyu, where you can add some other ingredients like paneer, tofu, mushrooms, corn, cheese, or nuts to the dish. You can also use different spices like curry leaves, kasuri methi, chaat masala, or amchur powder to give a different taste to the dish.
Tips and Tricks
To make your undhiyu more delicious and perfect, you can follow these tips and tricks:
- Choose fresh and seasonal vegetables for making undhiyu. Avoid using frozen or canned vegetables as they may not have the same texture and flavor as fresh ones.
- Cut the vegetables into similar sizes so that they cook evenly and do not get mushy or overcooked.
- Do not overstuff the vegetables with the masala as they may burst open while cooking. Use a toothpick or a skewer to seal the openings if required.
- Do not overcook the undhiyu as it may lose its color and flavor. Cook it until the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape and crunch.
- Adjust the amount of water according to your preference. If you like a dry undhiyu, use less water and simmer it until the gravy is thick. If you like a gravy-like undhiyu, use more water and cook it until the gravy is well-coated on the vegetables.
- Adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste. Sugar helps to balance the bitterness of fenugreek leaves and the spiciness of green chilies. You can also use jaggery (gur) instead of sugar for a more natural sweetness.
Undhiyu is a delicious and nutritious dish that is a must-try for anyone who loves Gujarati cuisine. It is a great way to enjoy the winter vegetables and fenugreek dumplings in a rich and aromatic masala. You can make it in different ways according to your preference and taste. You can also try some variations of undhiyu to spice up your meal. Undhiyu is best served hot with roti, puri, or rice.
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