Winter Fiesta

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Winter means time for Undhiya , Umbadiya and green vegetables specialities , Specially for Surtis like me. In western Gujarat , the dish that warms cold bodies is undhiyu. And Surat, which has a place in the shastras for Tapi nu jaman (food from near the river Tapi), is famous for its version of the dish.

In Surat, undhiyu is a semi-dry stew whose main ingredient is a green pulse pod called papdi – a vegetable that grows on creepers in Katargam ,the suburbs of Surat. Important to mention here that Katargam is no more as it was years ago. A sleepy deserted suburb’s wadis are gone and new shabby , C grade constructions haas taken place there but still the papdi is tagged with Katargam .
“The quality of the papdi is most important aspect of this preparation, ” points out Sonali Saraiya , a homemaker “The papdi from Katargaam is the most tender and naturally sweet. It has three beans in a pod and can be stripped of its strings in one go, unlike the papdi grown in Bharuch and other areas (where pods are thicker and have four to five beans). ” Many homemakers cook undhiyu in the pressure cooker to save time. But traditionally, undhiyu is best prepared in a thick bottomed pittal (brass) vessel covered that’s covered with an aluminium lid. The domestic version is spicier and less oily thats the best thing about homemade Undhiya.

The papdi is peeled and its strings are removed. Both the beans and the pods are tossed along with pieces of purple and yellow yam (Ratalu), stuffed brinjals, skinned potatoes and sweet potatoes (sakkaria) in their jackets into sesame oil in which asafoetida and ajwain have been cooking. Spiced with chilli and ginger paste along with a heaped dose of roasted and powdered dry coriander, the dish is topped with methi muthiyas – steamed fenugreek dumplings – and a generous sprinkle of finely chopped lilu lasan or green garlic pods and freshly grated coconut.

A meal of undhiyu and puri along with Matho (fresh hunged cream with sugar and flavour , is considered as the ultimate meal of Surti cuisine.

The farm labourers from the Vapi to Tapi river belt prepare a version called umbadiyu. The umbadiyu is a darker, smoky cousin of undhiyu. It’s made with wild black papdi (kadva vaalni paapdi) that’s only available in Bhata village along with yam, sweet potato and brinjal, and the vegetables are marinated in a basic ginger and chilli paste and then baked in a clay pot, which is sealed with aromatic leaves of kaler and camboi.

This pot is buried in a hole in the ground and covered with hay and cow dung cakes that are burnt for about 40 to 45 minutes. A small portion of this delicacy is put in an earthen kullad at the mouth of the matka to check when it’s done. This sampler is fondly called a daakan, which means witch. Umbadiyu is served with coriander chutney and buttermilk.

Surprisingly, undhiyu also has a couple of nonvegetarian avatars prepared by different communities in Gujarat. Parsis from Udvada toss boiled eggs with their shells on and pieces of chicken into a similar mix of vegetables and call it aradhiyu Prepared by farmhands in an earthen pot without any oil, the aradhiyu, like umbadiyu, is smoked and made on special occasions.

The Khatris of Surat make khadiya-mundi mutton. Their version of undhiyu is a simple papdi ma ghos or papdi cooked with mutton. The dish is accompanied by lasan nu kachu, sprigs of fresh garlic greens.
please note that Undhiyu and Ubadiyu seems quite similar but completely different way for preparation.

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Recipe for Umabdiyu :

Potatoes 4-5 big

Small eggplant 4 pieces

Purple Yam (ratalu) 1/2 lb

Sweet potatoes 2 pieces

Surati papdi 1 bowl

Tuvar lilva 1 bowl or fresh Vatana (green peas) 1 bowl

Green chili 7-8 pieces

Ginger 2 inch piece

Ajwain 1 tb spoon

Salt 2 tb spoon

earthen pot

Few cabbage / lettuce leaves, generally bhaji of Kaler or Camboi is used but cant find it easily .

1. wash and peel the sides of surti papdi. Leave it whole , don’t cut it.

2. chop Vatana (green peas) or Tuvar lilva (pigeon peas), green chilli and ginger in chopper, Make sure you don’t make paste and mix it with surati padi.

3. Now cut potatoes in four pieces, make two cross slit on the eggplant ( ravaiya) and cut Ratalu ( purple Yam) in big pieces.

4. Add salt, ajwain and one tea spoon oil and mix together very well.

5. Now arrange some cabbage leaves on the bottom and sides of earthen pot.

6. Add surati papdi mixture as first layer.

7. Now add potato, eggplant and purple yam mixture for the second layer.

8. Add surti papdi mixture final layer.

9. Now cover all the mixture with cabbage leaves/ lettuce leaves.

10. Now put the clay lid on the pot.

11. Seal the lid and pot with flour paste. So the moisture with stay in.

12. Now prepare for fire.if you don’t have that option then you can put two bricks side by side and put wood block in the middle and make fire.

13. Let it cook for 45-50 minutes. Don’t worry about burning. Little bit burning will give you that authentic smokey taste.

14. Remove the seal with knife and open the lid. Ubadiyu is cooked now. You can keep the whole pieces but traditional mesh everything, dont remove the skin.

15. Now add sessame oil, green chuteny, garlic chuteny and kotha chuteny ( if you don’t have kotha chuteny then you can use tamerind chuteny) in it.

16. Serve it with Chhash (Buttermilk ).

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