This is a traditional Gujarati dish and one I promise myself to make more regularly every time I eat it. It is full of flavor and a comforting autumnal dish, In the old days in Gujarat, it was made in a huge pot with the vegetables slashed at regular intervals, with the masala stuffed inside these tight crevasses to flavor them from the inside, and layered in accordance to their cooking time. It was cooked really slowly so that the veggies were cooked to succulent perfection. I almost left the traditional recipe unchanged for us non-Gujarati cooks, but I couldn't help myself. It is such a wonderful dish that I wanted to simplify it as much as possible to entice everyone to try it. It is fantastic just as it is, as part of an Indian meal or as an accompaniment to a roast dish. Fresh or frozen coconut is best, but you can use about 10 tablespoons of unsweetened dried coconut flakes instead. Lastly, for the full monty, add the fenugreek dumplings from the Lamb and Dumpling Stew on page 136 of the book with the rest of the vegetables.
For the masala, using a blender, make a paste of the ginger, garlic, green chiles and lemon juice with a splash of water. Add most of the fresh cilantro (reserving a little for garnish) and pulse to shred finely but not completely pureed. Stir in the remaining ingredients for the masala. Taste and make sure it is slightly over-seasoned as the vegetables will absorb some of it.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the asafoetida and fry for 20 seconds. Follow with the mustard seeds and, once they start to pop, add all the masala. Give the pan a good stir, Add all the vegetables except the beans or peas and stir into the spice paste for a few minutes. Add about 3/4 cup water and bring to the boil. Cover and cook over a low heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Once the vegetables are just soft, around 20-25 minutes, add the beans or peas, cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve garnished with the remaining cilantro and coconut.
This page created January 2011
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