The Sindhi people are originally from the Sindh region now located in central Pakistan. The Sindhis are well known for their generous hospitality and love of food. Their cuisine reflects their passion and zest for life.
Sai Bhaji is a popular vegetarian dish that is nutritious and healthy. It is a delicious combination of vegetables and dal simmered together low and slow for a rich taste.
SINDHI SAI BHAJI Recipe
1 cup yellow split gram (chana dal or dried split chickpeas)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, split in half lengthwise
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, medium dice
½ Japanese eggplant, cubed
12-15 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin round pieces
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup of cauliflower florets
1 cup of frozen baby peas or edamame
10 ozs fresh baby spinach
1 bunch fresh dill (leaves only), finely minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp tamarind concentrate (or 2 tbsp tam powder)
¼ cup heavy cream or yogurt, optional
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
In a medium size bowl, soak the chana dal in enough cold water to cover for at least 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds and stir fry for just a minute. Then, add the onions, green chilies, ginger and garlic. When the onions are just starting to brown, add the drained chana dal. Stir well and let cook for a few minutes before adding the spices (salt, pepper and turmeric). Stir fry for a few more minutes and then add the carrots and potatoes. Stir to mix well, let cook for 4-5 minutes and then add the green beans and the eggplant. Stir and let cook for an additional 4-5 minutes before adding just enough water to barely cover (1.5-2 cups). Bring the dal/vegetable mixture to a gentle boil, cover, reduce the heat and let simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. The dal and vegetables should be softened but not mushy.
Remove about 1-2 cups of the “stew” (including both dal and vegetables) into a large mixing bowl and using a potato masher or a large slotted spoon, mash the vegetables and dal into a thick paste. Return this back to the stew and slowly stir in to combine. This will naturally cause the stew to thicken.
Now add the spinach, dill, green bell pepper, cauliflower florets, tomatoes and frozen peas. Add the tamarind concentrate and stir to combine well. Continue to cook uncovered for an additional 8-10 minutes. The dish should have very little liquid but not be completely dry; the vegetables should be tender and delicious. Finish the dish with a little heavy cream or yogurt for a creamier version if desired.