The first time i tasted sai-bhaji was in school. We used to have a monthly event in where each grade 6-10th would be assigned a month..where they would get food from home and sell it in school for generating money to be used for the hostel run by our convents for children in their boarding school. The purchase was an accident and to be honest..the bhaji was pretty bad. I was pretty pissed on losing my Rs.5 to an inedible dish..but oh! well..i threw it out. i was off this bhaji for a while. When someone would say sai-bhaji..i would gag..seriously!! it shook me to the core ;D...but now as i am an adult who is obsessed with food..i decided to give it a go few years back from a recipe in Deccan Chronicle. The bhaji was delicious and i have to say it does feature quite regularly at my place.
Now...i just follow the guide-lines of the bhaji..but add in couple of ingredients i have at home..instead of shopping for it. Jeeves is hardly at home..and i think i am refusing to go to the grocery stores..as the freshly baked bread keeps calling my name..so i do make do with what i have at home...and the bhaji received the same treatment.
Here is the bhaji my way...as Ina Garten would say 'with the volume turned up'..just kidding :)
Baby Spinach - 1 10 oz bag
Lima Beans - 1 cup
Asparagus - 1 bunch (dispose the extremely woody part)
Green beans - 1 cup
Peas - 1 cup
Brinjal - 1 cup
Onions - 1
Tomatoes - 2 diced
Chana Dal - 1/2 cup (soak for an hour before cooking)
Tamarind - small lemon (need not soak it prior to making the bhaji)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp.
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch
Oil - 2 tsp.
Salt - as needed
1. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste. (i use a mortar-pestle)
2. In a pressure cooker..add the oil...then the cumin seeds..then fry the ground ginger-garlic paste...add the onions and fry for a few minutes.
2. Add the rest of the veggies..tamarind,salt, chilli powder,turmeric and saute for a few more minutes...the add the chana dal..2-3 cups of water and pressure cook this for 12-15 mts.
3. When the pressure cooker cools down...open it and mix the bhaji well so that the whole thing comes together. Adjust for salt and serve it with rice..rotis or bread.
The original sai-bhaji in the recipe called for Spinach..Khatta palak (can use gongura),Brinjal,Carrots,Potatoes,Gavar-beans as the veggies....