Undhiyu, a seasonal Gujarati specialty is generally made in the winter months. It is made in winter as the vegetables used in it are available in India only during winter. During my recent trip to an Indian store, I happened to find all the vegetables at this time of the year. So be it! Undhiyu in July.
Undhiyu was traditionally made in an upside down clay pot, mixing seasonal greens and vegetables with spices and flavorful garlic greens. That's where the dish derives it's name, overturned meaning Undhu/उन्धू /ઊંધું in Gujarati. Served with Puri and shrikhand, this dish is a sure find at all Gujarati weddings in the winter months!
The recipe consists of three parts: Methi Muthiya, preparing vegetables and greens and final assembly.
Mix 1 cup of wheat flour with 1/4 cup of gram flour. Add 1/2 cup chopped methi (fenugreek leaves), few sprigs of chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp. haldi powder, 1 tbsp. chilli garlic ginger paste, 1 tsp. sesame seeds, 1 tsp. carom seeds and a tsp. of oil. Mix everything well. Add 1 cup water slowly, and knead into a firm dough. make either round or log shaped muthiya and keep aside. These can either be deep fried and added to the undhiyu, or shallow fried to avoid excess oil.
The following vegetables are used in undhiyu:
- Greens like Lilva Tuvar, Val Papdi and Surti Papdi 1/2 cup each
- Baby potatoes-10, Purple Yam-1/2 cup, White Yam(ratalu)- 1/2 cup, Baby Eggplant-6, Sweet Potatoes-1/2 cup
- Green masala prepared below
- Shredded coconut-1 cup
- Methi leaves finely chopped-1/4 cup
To make the green masala, add 1/2 cup green chillies, 1 inch ginger piece, 5-6 garlic cloves, a bunch of green garlic shoots along with the garlic, 2 cups cilantro, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp. carom seeds, 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, 1 tsp. sugar in the blender. Add as little water as possible and make a thick green paste. Keep aside.
Next, take the baby potatoes, deskin them and slit them with a '+' shape on one side. Ensure it is not cut through the other side. Repeat for baby eggplants. Cut the remaining vegetables into cubes, about the same size as the potatoes and eggplant.
Mix the green masala with shredded coconut and use 1/4th of the masala to stuff the potatoes and eggplant.
Heat 5 tbsp. oil in a big and deep pan. If the muthiya is to be shallow fried, use this oil to shallow fry and make the undhiya in the same oil. This gives the oil an extra flavor!
Once muthiya is crisp and golden brown on the outside, remove from the oil onto a kitchen towel. Add a tsp. each of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds, sesame seeds and a pinch of asafoetida in the oil. Once the mustard seeds pop, add half of the remaining green masala and let it sizzle for a minute or two. Then add all the greens to the oil. Sprinkle little salt and sugar on them, to avoid discoloring.
Next layer the potatoes, yams and sweet potato. Put the remaining green masala on the top and finally add the eggplants and muthiya. Top the mixture with fenugreek leaves and some shredded coconut.
Make a mixture of 2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar and half cup water. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the undhiyu and cover it. Let it cook for 30-35 minutes till the vegetables are soft.