Monsoons make me nostalgic about the hiking and trekking trips to the Western Ghats and Forts. One of the my earliest hikes was to the Sinhagad Fort near Pune.
Growing up in Maharashtra, we learnt a great deal about Maharashtra’s famous son, the great Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Reading about his exploits, especially the guerrilla tactics he employed in battle was thrilling. Not only was Shivaji Maharaj a valiant warrior, he was ably supported by some equally courageous and clever lieutenants.
One such Maratha warrior was Tanaji Malusare, who helped recapture the Kondana Fort (as the Sinhagad Fort was earlier know) from the Mughals.
The story of how Tanaji Malusare recaptured the Sinhagad Fort (aka Kondana Fort) is stuff that legends are made of. Sinhagad was extremely well-guarded which made a direct attack impossible. The only unguarded approach was a steep (almost vertical) cliff. However, scaling this cliff was beyond human capability. This was when Tanaji Malusare came up with the idea of tying a rope to a Ghorpad or a Monitor Lizard and sending it over the walls of the fort and then using the rope to scale up the cliff to the fort.
Tanaji chose a moonless night and sent up a pet monitor lizard named Yashwanti with a rope tied around its body. The soldiers who reached the fort then sent down more ropes for other soldiers to climb up. The rest, as they say, is history. Sinhagad was captured though, sadly, Tanaji died fighting Udaybhan Rathod, the keeper of the fort. Shivaji was said to be devastated by the loss of Tanaji and was said to have commented that “Gadh Aalaa Pan Sinha Gela (The fort was conquered but the lion is lost).” It was Shivaji who renamed Kondana fort to Sinhagad in honour of Tanaji Malusare.
Read more about the Battle of Sinhagad.
Apart from the wonderful trek, some memories I always cherish is having hot tea, kanda bhaji (onion pakoda), and Pithla-Bhakar at the summit after the trek.
With monsoons in full force acoompanied by nostalgia, I made Shevgyachya Shenganche Pithla | Drumstick Pithla this week.
How to Make Shevgyachya Shenganche Pithla | Drumstick Pithla
Time: 30 Minutes
- Drumstick – 3 to 4
- Besan or Chickpea Flour – 2/3 Cup
- Water – 2.5 Cups
- Onion – 1 Large
- Green Chillies – 3 or 4
- Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric – 2 Large Pinches
- Chopped Coriander – 2 tbsp
- Hing – A small pinch
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Salt to Taste
Method to Make Shevgyachya Shenganche or Drumstick Pithla
- Basic Preparations:
- Peel and chop the onion into fine pieces.
- Cut the green chillies vertically
- Preparing the Drumstick:
- Chop the ends off the drumstick.
- Cut the drumstick into 2″ pieces and set aside.
- Boil 1 cup of water with about 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Add the drumstick pieces and cook till the pieces just soften (but do not fall apart).
- Drain the water and set aside the cooked drumstick pieces aside.
- Preparing the Besan Batter:
- Dry roast the besan till it just starts to change colour.
- Set aside to cool.
- Add the turmeric to the besan and mix well.
- Sieve together the besan to ensure there are no lumps.
- Place the besan in a large vessel.
- Gradually, add 1.5 cups of water while mixing continuously to avoid lumps.
- Ensure you have a smooth batter.
- Making Shevgyachya Shenganche Pithla
- In a kadhai or wok, heat the oil.
- Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
- Add cumin seeds and wait till they just start to change colour.
- Add the chopped onion and green chillies.
- Fry till the onion pieces turn transparent.
- Add the asafoetida and mix well.
- Add the cooked drumstick pieces and mix well.
- Turn the heat to low.
- Slowly add the besan batter while stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
- Over low to medium heat, cook till the batter is cooked and thickens. Add some water, if required.
- Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped coriander.
- Serve Shevgyachya Shenganche Pithla immediately with rotis, steamed rice, or Bhakri.
- Be sure to stir continuously while making the besan batter and after adding besan batter to the pan. Besan tends to lump quickly.
- Pithla has the consistency of a thick batter.
- Serve the Pithla immediately because it tends to congeal on cooling. If it does cool, then heat it up and add some water and mix well.