Fresh flavoured, dry curries are done so well by Gujaratis. It’s all about taking simple ingredients and packing in as much flavour as possible.
From thalis (3 course meal plates), to dhokras (steamed savoury cakes) and mistan (Indian sweets), the simplicity and variety of Gujarati cuisine is a huge attraction for vegetarians.
Around three-quarters of the population of Gujarat are vegetarian for an assortment of reasons. Among religious, economical and health reasons, many Gujarati’s believe that the abundance of nuts, beans and leafy greens available in their region neutralises the need to eat meat. Having said this, Gujarati food is simple, family cooking which can coax the most radical meat-eaters into enjoying a vegetarian meal.
This dish is just one of those typical Gujarati specialities which can be adapted according to what produce is in season and available at the time. Chickpea flour curries are great with okra, fresh fenugreek leaves and even whole chilli peppers! That is if you’re feeling brave enough. Why not check out my recipe for Turnip and Spring Onion Curry?
Dry roasting the chickpea flour on a skillet brings out a wonderfully aromatic nutty flavour and clings to the vegetables brilliantly. You could also try this with leeks, capsicums, broccoli or cauliflower.
Serve with hot, buttered chapattis and sizzlingly hot garlic chutney. Conveniently, this recipe will be the subject of KO Rasoi’s next post. I do spoil you, don’t I?
Potatoes and Spring Onions Sautéed in Chickpea Flour
5 cups spring onions (scallions), chopped in 1-inch pieces including the green part
1 ½ cups new potatoes, quartered
2 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 hot green chillies, minced
1 ½ cups passata (sieved tomatoes). You could also use fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ cup sunflower oil (wholly necessary) + 1 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp asafoetida
½ tsp turmeric
1 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp cumin seed powder
2 tsp coriander seed powder
¼ tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
1. Heat a large non stick skillet. Combine the chickpea flour, cumin seed powder, coriander seed powder and turmeric. It would be a good idea to add a pinch or two of salt to this.
2. Heat ¼ cup sunflower oil while you do step 3. Don’t take your eye off of it.
3. Dry roast the mixture, moving all of the time until it becomes a pinkish, nutty colour. Remove from the heat, add the baking powder and ¼ cup hot sunflower oil. It will spit and sizzle so be careful. Stir this until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and set aside.
4. Boil the new potatoes in plenty of salted boiling water until tender (I added an extra pinch of turmeric to these to give them a pretty colour). Drain and set aside.
5. In a large wok, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the garlic, ginger, chillies, asafoetida and spring onions. Stir fry on a medium heat for a minute, then add the tomatoes. Cook this for 2-3 minutes on a high heat.
6. Add the tender new potatoes and sprinkle over the chickpea flour mixture. Combine thoroughly and stir carefully on a high heat for a further 2 minutes, taking care not to break the potatoes.
7. Finish with a spritz of lime juice and season with a little bit of salt and pepper if you wish.