Having grown up with Sindhi neighbours and studying engineering in a Sindhi college, I have grown to love Sindhi food. So far the only Sindhi Recipe on my blog is that of Koki and I hope to remedy that soon. I am making a start with this wonderful recipe for Sindhi speciality called Aani Basar that is presented by my friend and colleague, Nikita Jhanglani.
Nikita often gets wonderful Sindhi specialties for lunch (sometimes for breakfast as well) and is always sharing them with all of us. When I requested Nikita for a recipe, she agreed immediately and made this wonderful dish called Aani Basar for me. Essentially fried chickpea patties in a tangy tomato-onion gravy, I found that I could have Aani Basar all by itself.
Aani in Sindhi means the fish roe and is one of the preferred delicacies among Sindhis. The besan aani (or the chickpeas flour dumpling) in this dish is the vegetarian version of the fish roe.
Khus khus (poppy seeds)
1 + 4
Finely chopped onions
Finely chopped tomatoes
Finely chopped green chillies
1 + 2 tsp
Red chilli powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Oil for the dough
Method to Make Aani Basar
Mix finely chopped onions with salt, red chilli powder, and finely chopped green chillies. Let this mix sit for about 10-15 minutes, till the onion softens a little.
When the onion has softened enough, add the besan and khus khus to the mix. You need to add three tablespoons of oil for each cup of besan. Because we’ve taken 2 cups of besan, we’ll be adding 6 tablespoons of oil.
Sprinkling only a few drops of water, combine this mixture into a smooth but hard dough.
Divide the dough into two halves and make a roll out of each half.
Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each roll.
Now, cut each roll into 2” X 1” pieces. These are the aani.
Deep fry the aanis and keep them aside.
In the same pan, retain about 3-4 tbsps. of oil and drain out the rest.
In this oil, add the remaining finely chopped onions, salt, turmeric powder. Red chilli powder, coriander powder, and garam masala.
Just when the onions start to turn transparent, add the finely chopped tomatoes.
Keep stirring the onions and tomatoes frequently so that they don’t burn.
When the onions and tomatoes are half-cooked, add the aanis.
Mix well and keep the pan covered on a low flame.
Keep stirring frequently.
When the onions have cooked properly and the aanis have turned soft, remove the pan from the flame.
Sprinkle a pinch of garam masala over it, garnish with chopped coriander, and serve with hot phulkas.
Anybody growing up in India in the 1980s would remember Vijaya Butter’s jingle that went:
“Gimme gimme gimme, Vijaya Butter On idli-dosa even samosa,
Makki di roti te sarson da saag Wah ki swaad!”
I knew of Makki di Roti and Sarson da Saag even before that but it was this ad that made me want to eat it. And savour it soon I did because of the generosity of Kapoor Aunty. (For my non-Indian friends, we Indians address all older friends and neighbours as Uncle and Aunty or the Indian equivalents such as Mama-Mami, Kaka-Kaki, etc. etc. :-))
Kapoor Aunty lived in the same apartment complex as us and it is from here that we learnt some of the finer points of Punjabi cooking.
I have had Sarson da Saag many times after that but have never attempted to make it. Last Sunday, I was just completing my walk when I saw my regular sabzi-wala unloading fresh greens of all sorts. I was actually looking for Gongura but could not find any. Then I spotted Sarson, Bathua, Methi, and thought why not make Sarson da Saag.
I am glad I gave in to the impulse because I was able to make this delectable curry along with Makki di Roti. The perfect meal on a wintery Mumbai evening!
While the name is Sarson da Saag (or Curry with Mustard Greens), this dish as so many other greens (fenugreek, radish, goosefoot, and spinach) that not only is it super-delicious, it is also super-healthy!
Serves: 4 to 6
Time: 45 Minutes
Sarson or Mustard Greens – 1 Large Bunch (~20 large leaves)
Palak or Spinach – 1/2 Large Bunch (~ 8 Large Leaves)
Mooli ke Patte or Radish Leaves – 1/4 small bunch (~ 4 Large Leaves)
Methi or Fenugreek Leaves – 1 Packed Cup
Bathua or Goosefoot Leaves – 2/3 Packed Cup
Tomato – 2 Large
Onion – 2 Large + 1 Small
Garlic – 8 Cloves
Ginger – 2″ Knob
Green Chillies – 2
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Hing or Asafoetida – 1 Large Pinch
White Butter – 1 tsp (optional)
Ghee – 1 tsp (Vegans can use oil)
Maize Flour (Makki Atta) – 2 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Finely chop the small onion and set aside.
Roughly chop the onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chillies and all the greens.
Pressure cook the onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chillies and all greens with about 3 cups water.
Let the greens cool.
Drain the excess water, if any. Save about 2 cups of the water.
Grind the greens to a coarse paste.
Add maize flour, red chilli powder, asafoetida, and salt.
In a heavy-bottomed vessel, cook the greens paste along with 1 cup of the water saved in step 5.
Bring to a simmer.
In a wok, heat the ghee.
Add the chopped onion and stir-fry till the edges start to brown.
My father and brother are fond of eggs. Apart from the regular omelettes and boiled eggs, I try to make assorted curries with eggs to have at lunch or dinner. This is a recipe similar to the one my mother used to make and is great with both rice and roti.
Eggs – 6
Tomatoes – 2 Medium
Onion – 3 Medium
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Boil the eggs till they are hard boiled.
Peel, cut in halves, and set aside.
Peel and dice the onion.
Grind to a smooth paste.
Puree the tomatoes.
In a kadai, heat the oil.
Add the onion and ginger-garlic pastes.
Fry for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add tomato puree and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add red chilli, coriander, cumin, and turmeric powders.
Mix well and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add about 1 Cup water and salt.
Simmer till the gravy thickens.
Gently place the boiled egg halves in the gravy, sunny side up.
Cover with some gravy and let simmer.
Garnish with freshly cut coriander leaves.
Serve hot with rice or roti.
You could lightly fry the whole boiled eggs in some oil, before halving them. 🙂