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Sai Bhaji - A comforting leafy, lentil and vegetable stew

I think I am an ‘Obsessive Foodie’ because I don’t know what else to call myself. I obsess about food a lot. And the obsession grows even stronger when I stumble upon a dish that I love or that has many memories associated with it. Which effectively means that I am in a constant state of obsession as far as food is concerned.



As I flick the pages of a good cookbook or watch a chef enthrall me with his or her words and the food they cook, or I just check out a recipe online, there is a constant desire to try that dish. And if the dish is something special, I obsess, and I obsess, and oh my god I still obsess till the cows come home. And I will only rest when I end up making the object of my fixation and devouring it happily.


And if we take the time and the effort to make something different, something special, something resonant of a time gone by, we must then take the time to go the whole way to complete the dish. Like the wholesome Sindhi specialty of “Sai Bhaji” that I made the other day. A healthy and nourishing stew made with leafy greens, vegetables, and lentils. One so delicious that you can't get enough bowl after bowl.




Every Sindhi worth his Poppadom will tell you, and we know they eat a lot of them, that 'Sai Bhaji' is a dish that is incomplete without the accompaniments that go with it. It is basically greens cooked with vegetables and lentils in Ghee. It is traditionally served with 'Bhuga Chawal', Rice tempered with Cumin seeds, Bay leaves, and a few extra additions. 'Aloo Tuk', which is twice fried Potatoes and in my case Baked Potatoes with Indian spices and not to forget 'Boondi Raita' which is Yogurt with small fried gram flour balls. A delicious meal that is a hearty one to have with all the little sidekicks thrown in together. Because let me tell you if there are no half-measures in love, there should be none in food.

Recipe (Cooking Time 60 minutes)


Ingredients:

  • 250 gm spinach

  • 1 cup sorrel

  • 2 medium chopped onion

  • 1 cup soaked chana dal

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot

  • 1 cup Dill leaves

  • 12 cloves garlic

  • 3 chopped tomato

  • 1 chopped green chili

  • 1/2 cup chopped eggplant/ brinjal

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon Red chili powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp Ghee

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add garlic and green chilis. Saute till garlic turns light brown.

  2. Add onions and saute till they turn transparent. Add tomatoes and saute for a minute.

  3. Add chana dal, spinach leaves, dill, and sorrel. Add all spices and mix well. Add carrots and Eggplant.

  4. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes or 3 whistles before turning off the heat. Open the lid only after the pressure has been released.

  5. Mash all the vegetables lightly with the back of a wooden spoon or blitz it with a hand blender so everything is mixed well.

  6. Bring to a boil and serve hot with Ghee.


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