Sometimes I reminisce the beautiful days of my life spent in Mumbai. I was staying as paying guest with a wonderful Sindhi family and during those 6 months, I was lucky enough to enjoy the lovely Sindhi cuisine almost everyday! This wonderful mixed vegetable curry can be enjoyed with rice or rotis. It is healthy nutritious and packed with flavors and good nutrition. Sindhis love food!…and the variety of food they can indulge in can for sure take anyone for a culinary roller coaster ride. I was doing night shifts and just before leaving for office, aunty used to serve delicious Sindhi food for lunch. Often frequently it would be Sai bhaji with hot rotis and Dal. Today as I sit on my couch remembering the days, I feel nostalgic and kind of miss the intoxicating aroma that used to waft from aunty’s kitchen.
I prepared Sai Bhaji for dinner last night. It is a delightful vegetable curry cooked with lentils (usually chana dal / Bengal Gram). Everything is mashed up in this dish. It is creamy aromatic bursting out with flavors and is a powerhouse of nutrition. I used spinach, potatoes and eggplants but as a matter of fact, the best part is that you can use use literally any veggie of your choice! For greens, you can also add fenugreek and dill leaves. It is best to use a pressure cooker for this recipe, but if you do not have one, you can still go ahead in a pan, just that it will take a little longer as the veggies need to be soft enough to be mashed up evenly. But the results are absolutely worth it!
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida – 1 tsp
Onions – 2 (finely chopped)
Garlic – 2-3 cloves (finely chopped)
Ginger – 1 small piece (finely chopped)
Tomatoes – 2 (finely chopped)
Eggplant – 2 (Cut into small cubes)
Potatoes – 2 (cut into cubes)
Spinach leaves – 1 bunch (thoroughly washed)
Chana dal – 1/2 cup (washed and soaked for 30 mins)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 2 (finely chopped)
Salt – as per taste
- Take some oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds. Let them crackle. Then add the hing and stir for few seconds.
2. Then add in the chopped onions. Fry until translucent.
3. Add the chopped ginger and garlic. Mix well and fry until the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
4. Next add in the chopped tomatoes. Mix well and saute for 1 min.
Then add the diced eggplant. Saute for a min.
5. Add in the diced potatoes. Mix well and saute for a min.
6. Add the washed and soaked chana dal. Mix well and saute for a min.
7. Add in the washed spinach leaves. Mix well and saute for a min or until the leaves start to wilt.
Also mix in the chopped green chillies.
8. Then quickly add in all the spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder. Give it a good mix until everything is combined well.
9. Add a little water just enough to cover the veggies.
10. Pressure cook on high for the first whistle and then on low for around 10 mins. Once the pressure is down, give it a mash using either the back of your spatula or a potato masher. Add salt and give it a good mix.
Serve Sindhi Sai bhaji with hot home-made rotis or rice. Enjoy!!