While Kokani Muslim cuisine may come across as a gastronomy bending towards non-vegetarian fares, yet it has umpteen vegetarian dishes that are unique in their own right. Most of the vegetarian preparations were devised depending upon vegetables that grew in the home's backyard in the typical village houses. These included different types of gourds, beans, greens and much more. While in cities we may not have the luxury to have our own backyards nevertheless we source these traditionally used vegetables from the local market.
Right from the whole vegetable itself to its peels to its leaves different parts of the vegetable are brought in use for different dishes.
So this #SubziTarkariDin here is a glimpse of the vegetables and their preparations that are regularly seen in my kitchen.
1. LAAL BHOPLA
The pumpkin is one of the most used vegetables in the Kokani Muslim Kitchen. The pumpkin peels (bhoplyachya katrya) are not discarded, rather they are cut thick intentionally with a small strip of the pumpkin for a sweet flavour to make a dish called BHOPLYACHYA KATRYANCHI TILKUT. These are then boiled in water to soften them up and mixed with chopped onions, green chillies and tilkut (a dry coarse powder comprising of toasted black sesame seeds, dry red chillies, roasted dried coconut and garlic). The pulp is used for preparing bharta/bharit.
2. SAFED BHOPLA
Different varieties of bottle gourd are clubbed under this term. Most of them utilised in different ways to make sumptuous sweet dishes. One such dish being KAACHACHI SHAAK that is prepared usually for breakfast. To arrive at this dish cubes (kaach) of bottle gourd are cooked in jaggery syrup flavoured with green cardamom, cinnamon and coconut milk.
3. SHEGTACHYA SHENGA
Moringa tree is a common sighting in the Konkan belt and it's drumstick pods, leaves are a nutritional powerhouse and are used to prepare some wonderful dishes. One such dish relished in the community is SHEGTACHYA SHENGACHA SAALNA or curry. For this dish sautee onions, green chillies in turmeric & fennel powders and fry the drumsticks. When tender add coconut milk and wheat flour to obtain a thick curry.
4. DAAR CHI BHAAJI
Health and calories on your mind then this is the go to vegetable in the Kokani kitchen. These red amaranth leaves are cooked in a very minimal way to keep their nutritional value intact by simply making a broth flavoured with onion, green chillies and salt.
This is one of the varieties of turai or also known as ridge gourd that is a popular vegetable in Kokani Muslim kitchens, to the extent we don't even let it's peels go waste.
TALELYA KATRYO is a simple stir fry where chopped up peels are sauteed with onions and green chillies. And the pulpy part of the gourd is churned into a mushy consistency vegetable called SHIRELA BATATA by combining it with potatoes, onions, tomatoes and frying with spice powders.
This is yet another type of turai but has smooth edges. As it's pulp is sweet, the vegetable is often added to preparations of other vegetables to enhance sweetness. GHOSHELA BATATYACHI BHAAJI being the most common dish in the community with this gourd.
Otherwise known as karela or bitter gourd, this veggie is made into a semi dry preparation called KAARLYACHI SHAAK in our Kokani Muslim kitchen. In this recipe, the bitter gourd pieces are first cured with sea salt to mellow down their bitternes. These are then sauteed in onions and a paste of fresh turmeric, dry red chilli and coconut.
Also known as gawaar or cluster beans, this vegetable is used to make a very flavourful dish called UKHARI BAWCHI. The vegetable pieces are cooked with onion, green chillies, a dash of fennel powder and coconut milk to arrive at a very subtly flavoured dish.
Popularly known as baingan, this vegetable is cooked in myriad ways. My favourite way of using it is to make a dish called KAALYA TILANCHI BHARLYALI VAANGI. For this dish coarsely powdered toasted, black sesame seeds are mixes in an onion-coconut-dry spices masala that serves as filling and doubles up as gravy too for the eggplants.
Known as ghevda or dolichos beans and these are used to make a stir-fry called GHEVDICHI CHANVACHI BHAAJI where the beans are sauteed in onion, flavoured with turmeric, green chillies and finished off with freshly scraped coconut.
Do let me know what locally produced vegetables are your favourite.
Till then, HAPPY COOKING...
- Regional Indian Food & Travel enthusiast