Firstly, I’m going to make an attempt at guessing what you’re thinking;
“What the heck are sev and where do I get them from?”
These are great questions, great questions to which I don’t have great answers. I know that’s not very helpful however, I’ll do my best to explain the deliciousness of this mysterious ingredient.
Because you need to know.
Sev are a Gujarati snack, closely related to ‘gathia’ in the way they’re made from chickpea flour and fried. They come in all different sizes and are classed as a ‘farsan’ or savoury snack.
They’re best described as crunchy, nutty and great for sprinkling on top of cassava dishes and spiced yogurts.
In this classic Gujarati recipe I’ve re-created à la KO I’ve used jinni (small) sev which is very traditional and also very cute. The tiny little strands soak up the sweet, tangy and spicy flavours of the rich tomato base.
I used cherry tomatoes because that’s what I had, but you can use any variety of fresh tomatoes you have. A sprinkle of ground cinnamon kisses this dish with the flavours of Gujarat, essential if you’re in the mood for an atypical Indian dinner.
You see Gujarati cuisine is beaming with fresh ingredients and sweet, spicy flavours. Sev tameta nu shaak is a one pan meal and so comforting you hardly need to chew (a sign of amazing comfort food, of course). All in all, it’s very quick, very simple and very satisfying – just how I like it.
You can buy sev in Indian farsan stores, most Indian grocery stores (it will be near the gathia, chakris and other savoury snacks). I’ve also seen them popping up in the supermarket more often, so keep an eye out. If you can’t find them in stores, order them online.
Quick Sev and Tomato Curry (sev tameta nu shaak)
325g fresh tomatoes, roughly pureed
140g jinni sev (small sev)
120g onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
2 tsp concentrated tomato puree
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon powder
4-6 tbsp water
Salt to taste
Handful of chopped coriander to garnish
1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds (wait for them to pop) and then add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, concentrated tomato puree and onions. Saute until the onions become translucent, and then add the pureed fresh tomatoes.
2. Season with chilli powder, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and sugar. Allow to cook down to a fairly thick mixture, and then adjust the texture with around 4-6 tbsp water. Turn the heat off.
3. Just before you’re ready to serve, add the sev to the piping hot sauce and give it a quick and gentle mix through. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve immediately.
I love to serve this with hot, buttered chapattis and absolutely nothing else. However, it’s also great with naan, paratha and puri. Wash it all down with a tall glass of salted lassi and feel your belly release a deep sigh of gratification.
Visit my collection of Gujarati recipes for more classic dishes and recipe inspiration.
For more nuggets of information on regional Indian cuisine, read my article, Unveiling the Magic of Indian Food on foodnetwork uk.