We make Gujarati food at home but not ‘authentic’ enough for my tastes, claims my mother, which is why I am accused of running off to my friend Ashutosh’s mother for Gujarati recipes. And when I come home stuffed from her lunch invitations, I whine at my mother “why don’t you make stuff like Veena Aunty does?” and get the dirtiest looks and a defensive nose in the air. Ooh, this rivalry between mothers…!
Actually, it’s true. I never miss a chance to eat Veena Aunty’s fabulous food and I quiz her for recipes each time I get invited over for her wonderful, indulgent meals. The fact is that my family doesn’t make a lot of the recipes she does and that is perhaps true of all families within the same community. Not all families will make the exact same dishes as another family because over the years, culinary likes and dislikes, dietary needs etc. dictate what a family eats and certain traditional recipes are relegated to the back burner.
When I’m not picking Veena Aunty’s brains, I turn to another Goddess of Vegetarian Cooking, Tarla Dalal. Her recipes are clear, precise and look so easy to do, it has me won over. Recipes from my mom’s kitchen which I never even attempted because I felt they were too difficult or involved seemed like a breeze when I followed a Tarla Dalal recipe.
The Methi kofta in dahi kadhi has been adapted from her recipe, with my own two bits added in and it turned out simply delicious. It’s not something my mom makes so I made it for her and while we were at the dining table, devouring bowls of it, I looked up and asked mom with that twinkle in my eye… “Ma, why don’t you make stuff like this for us?”. But this time she was just too busy eating.
Recipe : Steamed Fenugreek Dumplings in a Tangy Yoghurt Curry
Methi kofta in dahi kadhi
For the Fenugreek Dumplings
1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves chopped and salted
2 tbsp bajra (pearl millet) flour
1tbsp whole wheat flour
1tbsp roasted semolina (rava)
2 tsp Green chilli paste
1 tsp fresh ginger paste
2 tsp Lemon juice
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tsp
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate
For the Yoghurt Curry
2 cups Sour yoghurt
1 tbsp heaped, gram dal flour/ chickpea flour
2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Garlic paste
Salt – to taste
1 tbsp Ghee
½ tsp Cumin seeds
¼ tsp Asafoetida
8-10 fresh Curry leaves
- Rinse the chopped, salted fenugreek leaves and squeeze all the excess water away.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the fenugreek, bajra flour, whole wheat flour and roasted semolina. Add the green chilli paste, ginger paste, lemon juice, salt and oil.
- Mix thoroughly with a light hand till the mixture well mixed but not lumpy. Kind of like the crumble topping for an apple crumble. Add the soda bicarb at this stage.
- Start adding a little water and mix it to form a soft pliable dough, like a roti dough. Shape into dumplings and steam for about 8-10 mins. When done, keep aside to cool.
- For the curry, mix the yoghurt, gram flour, sugar, garlic paste and 150 ml water to a smooth paste.
- In a pot, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds and let pop. Add the asafoetida and the curry leaves. Immediately add the yoghurt mix to temper.
- Bring to a slow boil and add salt as required. Remember to add the salt only after tempering the curry or else the yoghurt will split and the curry will turn grainy.
- Slowly add the dumplings one by one and let simmer for 10 minutes before serving.