Thursday, 1 January 2015

Undhiyo - a seasonal speciality from Gujarat

Tis the season to be Jolly, and Undhiyo is one of the reasons that makes this season even more special.

But first, an embarrassing confession....

I have been living in Mumbai for than ten years intermittently but never really ‘knew’ of Undhiyo.  I remember eating this amazing dish a few times, but then for me everything in a Gujarati Thaali is simply amazing – and I keep eating these thaalis so often, wouldn’t notice any new dishes... (yes, thats the uber-refined, sophisticated me with an ever-enlarging waistline :-))

(But for me, then, that's the heartening thing – the positive ray of light in this darkness of unawareness – that there’s so much more for me to know about Gujarati cuisine)

I discovered ‘Undhiyo’ as in the name for this absolutely fabulous curry only two years back when I ate a Gujarati Thaali at one my favourite restaurants in Mumbai – Chetana at Kaala Ghoda. The sheer ambience of the location and the restaurant help uplift and blow out any dark looming clouds in your day.

The restaurant had advertised that they had sold Undhiyo by the Kilo, and i was wondering what this was, when the waiter came to serve this curry into my thaali, and I then remembered that  this was the very same curry that I had grown to fall in love with sooo many times and occasions but
didn’t know what to call it.

I immediately packed one for home and another for my office. Well, in the office the team wolfed it down within the hour, and at home my wife simply loved it, and decided to make it herself. This video below helped us in attempting it.

So what really is Undhiyo? Also called Surati Undhiyo as it seems to come from the region of Surat, Undhiyo is one wonderful dish that can also be treated as a meal in itself.  It is packed with all the seasonal green vegetables from India with deep fried potatoes and sweet potatoes thrown in, along with a deep fried nugget – and all of this stewed with a little bit of water, and a sweet n spicy mixture along with a bit of coconut. 

The result is this fabulously crunchy yet soft and lip smackingly tasty dish that can be eaten by itself. (you really can’t stop once you have had a bite). You can also eat this a a curry accompanying chappatis and rotis but by itself its amazing.  In a way it is almost like preparing a simple pickle of green vegetables and potatoes etc. And this can be eaten within a few days once its prepared in a large quantity.

The dish is a celebration of winter, and to utilise all the goodness of the green vegetables that are available in this season.  Plus, the entire process is so elaborate, timeconsuming and labour intensive, that it also serves as a family or community ritual where all the ladies gather and cut the vegetables, prepare the dough for the nuggets, grate the coconuts, spice mixture etc. Etc. And the tasks are shared right from the previous to the stirring, cooking, steaming, and then of course  sharing this across all the homes.

So, If you are in India in winter, do reach out to the closest Gujarati/ Rajasthani restaurant or ask for this from your
Gujarati friends. 

Or better still prepare this yourself, with a few frie.nds or your entire family sitting at the table – the experience and the resulting dish will make this extra special and tasty

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