If time is of the essence, you can take many shortcuts with this recipe. Many of these vegetables (especially the hard to find fresh papdi) are easily available frozen in many Indian grocery stores. Even the muthiya are now available ready made or frozen as well. The recipe may seem a bit daunting at first, but I really encourage you to try this dish. Trust me; you will be well rewarded for your efforts!
UNDHIYO (Gujarati Mixed Vegetables)
5-6 baby potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), peel if desired
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
4-5 baby Indian eggplants
1 cup of papdi (Indian broad beans or use green/string beans), cut into 1” pieces
1 cup of yam pieces (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 large raw green banana or plantain, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 inch piece in ginger (peeled and rough chopped)
3-4 large cloves of garlic, rough chopped
3-4 small Thai green chilies (to taste)
½ cup of freshly grated coconut
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp ground coriander powder
½ tsp ground cumin powder
pinch of asafetida (hing)
salt & pepper, to taste
oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut for garnish
For the Muthiya:
½ cup besan (chickpea or gram flour)
1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, (methi or you can use baby spinach), chopped
½ piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3-4 small Thai green chilies, finely minced
salt to taste
oil for shallow frying (vegetable, canola or peanut)
In a small blender or food processor, grind together the ginger, garlic, green chilies, coconut and ½ cup cilantro leaves into a coarse thick masala paste adding water as needed. Set aside.
Traditionally, the outer skin of the raw banana or plantain is left on but this is optional. It is softened and edible after cooking but some people find it a bit too fibrous. Wash and prepare the baby potatoes, baby eggplants and raw banana (or plantain) pieces by cutting them only partially through into wedges (make a partial “X“ cut). Remember to leave the stem or end intact, so you can stuff the vegetables with the coarse masala paste.
Stuff the vegetables, sprinkle liberally with lemon juice to prevent any browning or discoloration and set aside until needed.
To make the muthiyas, combine the chopped fenugreek (or baby spinach leaves) with the besan, green chilies, salt, ginger and enough water to make a thick firm dough. Form into an inch thick roll (snake) and cut off 1.5 inch pieces. In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add enough oil to shallow fry. When hot, add the muthiya and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain well on absorbent paper, set aside until needed.
In another large deep skillet on medium high heat, add 1-2 tbsp of oil. When hot, carefully add the mustard seeds. Add a pinch of the asafetida and then add the papdi. Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the carrot and yam pieces. Then add the spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper) and mix well. Continue to stir fry for 3-4 minutes and then carefully add the stuffed baby potatoes, baby eggplants and raw banana (or plantain) by arranging them in a single layer. Reduce the heat to low, sprinkle with a little salt, add ½ cup or so of water, cover and let cook 15-20 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and cooked. Add the fried muthiyas, cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and grated coconut. Serve immediately with warm chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
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