Kobichi Koshimbir| Maharashtrian Cabbage Salad

Kobichi Koshimbir refers to a delicious cabbage salad from the state of Maharashtra. Juicy and fresh and full of flavours, this salad is an absolute delight. It has been one of the most requested recipes on my Instagram page lately.

I have been sharing pictures of my daily home-made meals on my Instagram stories, in an endeavour to keep myself motivated to eat clean. I am thrilled with the attention they have been receiving, readers writing in to say how much the simple dishes cooked with seasonal ingredients have inspired them. It has been a pleasure to see more people cooking healthier meals, getting fitter in a little way. After I shared a snippet about Kobichi Koshimbir a few days ago on Instagram, many asked for the recipe – so here I am! Scroll down for the detailed proceedure.

Kobichi Koshimbir or Maharashtrian Cabbage Salad

Kobichi Koshimbir – ingredients and a little backstory

Kobichi Koshimbir, like I mentioned above, is a cabbage salad from Maharashtra. Fresh cabbage is chopped up, mixed with finely chopped coriander and green chillies, salt, a dash of sugar, coarsely crushed roasted peanuts and lemon juice. The peanuts provide the crunch factor to this mildly spiced and lemony salad.

I follow the recipe taught to me by Richa Chitgopekar, a passionate and talented cook and regional food enthusiast. Richa says, and I agree, “Use tender winter cabbage for this salad. The type that is green on the outside.” Mature cabbage just doesn’t cut it.

Some families add a bit of grated coconut to this salad, too, as well as mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves tempered in a little oil. I usually don’t, as I prefer to keep it oil-free.

Now that I have prepared the Kobichi Koshimbir a few times, vague memories of my grandmother making it at home are starting to come back. My paternal grandmother, N Paati, was a Marathi food lover, and would cook several dishes from the cuisine. She was my first point of introduction to the brilliant repertoire of dishes that Marathi cuisine has to offer. Shevgyacha Shengachi Amti, Aambe Dal, Tendli Masale Bhaat and Dadpe Pohe are some other Maharashtrian recipes on the blog.

Kobichi Koshimbir isn’t very different from Thai salad, come to think of it. The ingredients used are almost the same, and so is the flavour profile. Well, whatever the origin, I can definitely vouch for the fact that this is one lip-smackingly delish thing!

How to make Kobichi Koshimbir

Here is how to put the salad together, a process that takes well under 20 minutes. I have reproduced Richa’s recipe here, with her permission.

Ingredients (serves 1-2):

1. 2 cups fresh cabbage, chopped medium fine

2. 2 tablespoons peanuts

3. 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste

4. Salt to taste

5. 1 green chilli or to taste

6. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

7. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right, below top right, bottom right and bottom left: Step 2

1. We will start by roasting the peanuts. Dry roast the peanuts in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till they start getting dark spots. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

2. In the meantime, take the chopped cabbage in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and sugar to taste. Rub nicely with your hands for a couple of minutes, so the salt and sugar get well incorporated into the cabbage.

Top and bottom left: Step 3, Right top, centre and bottom: Steps 4, 5 and 6

3. When the roasted peanuts have fully cooled down, transfer them to a small mixer jar. Coarsely pulse them and add to the mixing bowl.

4. Chop the green chilli very finely and add to the mixing bowl. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.

5. Add in the lemon juice.

6. Mix everything well together. Your Kobichi Koshimbir is ready. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes for all the flavours to meld together, then serve immediately. This salad can be had on its own, but it also makes for a lovely accompaniment to rotis. It can also be served as part of a full-fledged Maharashtrian thali meal.

Is this salad vegan and gluten-free?

This Kobichi Koshimbir is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free as well.

Tips & Tricks

1. For best results, use cabbage that is tender and fresh. Mature cabbage does not taste the same.

2. I prefer chopping the cabbage finely. You can even chop it into long slivers if you so prefer.

3. Make sure the peanuts are well roasted before adding them to the salad. Take care to ensure that they do not burn while roasting.

4. The roasted peanuts should be crushed coarsely and not ground to a fine powder – use the ‘Pulse’ feature on your mixer to do this.

5. Adjust the quantity of salt, sugar, green chillies and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.

6. Make sure the green chilli is chopped really fine, so you don’t get big bites of it while eating the salad.

7. I have used regular refined sugar here. It gets well integrated into the cabbage when you rub it with your hands. You may use powdered sugar if you so prefer.

8. You can add a tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves to the salad if you want to. I didn’t, because I wanted to keep it oil-free. Avoid the asafoetida in case you want to keep the salad gluten-free – this is because most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent.

9. Some families add about a tablespoon of fresh grated coconut to the salad too. I have skipped this.

10. Do not let the Kobichi Koshimbir sit around for too long after making it. This causes the salad to become watery. It is best served after about 10 minutes of making it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

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Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu| Lentil Balls In Tamarind Gravy

Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu is a traditional recipe from Tamilnadu. It refers to lentil balls cooked in a tamarind-based gravy. It is an absolutely delectable thing, especially blissful when mixed with some hot rice, drizzled with sesame oil (‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil).

This is an interesting dish, full of flavours and textures. Just the right amount of sour, mildly sweet and spicy, Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu is a real treat to the tastebuds. The coarseness of the lentil balls contrasts beautifully with the smooth texture of the tamarind gravy. You must try it out to truly understand what loveliness this dish is!

Different families make different variations of the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu. Today, I am about to share the way it is made in my house.

Delicious Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu

Looking for other heritage recipes from Tamilnadu? Check out this Vepampoo Pachadi, Elumicchaipazham (lemon) Rasam, Thavala Dosai, Vendhaya Dosai, Sigappu Keerai Kootu, Ezhu Thaan Kootu and Paal Payasam.

Ingredients used in Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu

The lentil balls here are made of chana dal. Unlike koftas or pakoras in gravy, though, these balls of lentils are steamed and not deep-fried.

The steamed balls are cooked further in a gravy made using tamarind. We use home-made sambar powder to spice it up, along with freshly ground coconut and a dash of jaggery.

Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu is quite similar to the Vattalkozhambu that we make, yet different in taste.

Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu recipe

Here’s how we make it.

Don’t be daunted by the long-winded recipe. It is fairly simple to follow. I have broken down the proceedure into sections, so it becomes easy to understand and replicate.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1. 1/2 cup chana dal

2. 3 dry red chillies + 2 more for tempering

3. A small gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind

4. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander (optional)

5. Salt to taste

6. 1 tablespoon sesame oil

7. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

8. 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

9. 1 sprig curry leaves

10. 2 pinches of asafoetida

11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

12. 1 tablespoon sambar powder or to taste

13. Red chilli powder as needed (optional)

14. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or as needed

15. 3 tablespoons fresh coconut pieces

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left and centre: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

We will begin by doing some basic prep work needed for the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu.

1. Wash the chana dal well under running water. Drain out all the water.

2. Soak the washed and drained chana dal and 3 dry red chillies in enough water to cover the lentils completely, for 2-3 hours.

3. In the meantime, soak the tamarind in some boiling hot water to soften it. Allow it to cool down enough to handle.

4. When the chana dal and dry red chillies have soaked, drain out all the residual water from them. Break up the dry red chillies roughly with your hands. Transfer the drained chana dal and broken dry red chillies to a mixer jar. Grind these together coarsely, without adding any water.

5. Transfer the coarsely ground mixture to a mixing bowl. Add in salt to taste and finely chopped coriander (if using). Mix everything well together.

Top left: Step 6, Top centre and right: Step 7, Below top right: Step 8, Bottom left: The lentil balls, after steaming, Bottom centre and right: Step 9

Next we will prepare the lentil balls and do some more prep work.

6. Keep water in a steamer and place it on high flame. Let the water come to a boil.

7. When the steamer is ready, make small balls out of the lentil mixture. Place the balls in the steamer. Steam on high flame for about 12 minutes. Switch off gas.

8. When the tamarind has cooled down enough, extract all the juice from it. You can add more water as needed to help with the extraction, but don’t make the extract too watery. I had about 1 cup of semi-thick tamarind extract.

9. Take the coconut in a small mixer jar, along with a little water. Grind together to a mostly smooth, slightly coarse paste.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 10, 11 and 12, Below top right: Step 13, Bottom right: Step 14, Bottom left and centre: Step 15

Now, we will start preparing the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu.

10. Heat the sesame oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Then add in the asafoetida, fenugreek, curry leaves and 2 dry red chillies for the tempering. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds, without burning.

11. At this stage, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Mix well.

12. Add a little salt and the turmeric powder. Mix and cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind has gone completely.

13. Add in about 1-1/2 cups of water, or as needed to adjust the consistency of the gravy. It should be slightly watery at this stage – the gravy will thicken up later as the lentil balls cook in it.

14. Add sambar powder and red chilli powder, if needed. Mix well.

15. Mix in the jaggery powder. Taste and adjust salt, red chilli powder, sambar powder, jaggery and/or water as needed. At this stage, the mixture should taste tangy (but not overly so), fragrant from the sambar powder, as spicy as you want it, and mildly sweet.

Top left and right: Steps 16 and 17, Below top right: Step 18, Bottom right: Step 19, Bottom left: Step 20

Now, we will cook the lentil balls in the gravy.

16. Continue to keep the flame at medium. Add the steamed lentil balls to the pan, gently.

17. Let the balls cook in the tamarind gravy for 7-8 minutes on medium flame. By this time, the gravy would have started to thicken and the lentil balls would have been cooked and floating on the surface.

18. At this stage, add the coconut paste to the pan, constantly stirring with one hand. The flame should still be at medium. Mix gently.

19. Cook the mixture for a minute or so more, on medium flame. Switch off gas. The Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu is ready. Keep it slightly runny at this stage – it will thicken up further with time.

20. Serve the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu when warm, along with rice and sesame oil.

Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?

Many South Indian dishes are inherently vegan, like this one. There are no animal products used in this dish, thus making it suitable for those following a vegan (plant-based) diet.

If you want to make this Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. The sambar powder I use contains asafoetida – you need to make sure you use one without. Most commercially available Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to some extent, and it is therefore better to avoid the same when one is following a gluten-free diet.

This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe too.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m part of this wonderful group of food bloggers called the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, and am sharing this recipe in association with the same.

The members of the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge showcase recipes based on a pre-determined theme, each month. The theme this month is ‘Vegan Dishes’, chosen by Radha of Magical Ingredients. She prepared this divine Vegan Jackfruit Kofta Curry for the challenge.

The group members are divided into pairs for the challenge. Each pair decides upon two secret ingredients which they will use to make their dish of the month. A picture of the completed dish is posted in the group, and all the other members try to guess the two secret ingredients each pair has used.

My partner for the month was Rafeeda of The Big Sweet Tooth. Rafeeda suggested I use the ingredients ‘curry leaves’ and ‘coconut’, and I decided to make this vegan Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu. Rafeeda made this amazing-looking dessert, Mango Bango, using the two secret ingredients of ‘coconut milk’ and ‘sugar’ that I gave her.

Tips & Tricks

1. Some families use a mix of chana dal and toor dal to make the lentil balls. We use only chana dal.

2. The use of red chilli powder is completely optional. If the sambar powder you are using is spicy enough, you can omit the red chilli powder completely.

3. Adjust the quantity of water depending upon how thick you want the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu to be. It might initially look watery, but tends to thicken up with time.

4. I have used a steamer to cook the lentil balls. You could also do the same in an idli steamer.

5. Do not grind the chana dal into a fine paste. For best results, it needs to be coarsely ground. Do not add any water while grinding.

6. Adjust the quantity of tamarind as per personal taste preferences. A small lemon-sized ball of Double Horse tamarind (which is quite sour) works perfectly for us.

7. Don’t miss the jaggery. It doesn’t make the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu overly sweet, but rounds off the other flavours beautifully.

8. Do not overcook the lentil balls, or they tend to become hard. Steaming for about 12 minutes and then cooking in the tamarind gravy for 7-8 minutes is good.

9. Ensure that you keep the flame at medium while adding the coconut paste and stir constantly, so that it gets mixed evenly into the tamarind gravy.

10. You may drizzle some sesame oil over the Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu, once it’s ready. This takes the flavour quotient up by several notches.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Quick-Fix Boondi Masala| Boondi Chaat

Boondi Masala is a simple appetiser, a tasty snack that you can fix in a matter of minutes. Also, it needs just a few ingredients. Perfect for your evening hunger pangs or even for a party!

Delicious Boondi Masala. You should definitely try this out!

What is Boondi Masala?

For the uninitiated, boondi refers to droplets of spiced gram flour batter dropped into hot oil and deep-fried till it is crispy. It isn’t the healthiest thing, but I know many who adore it, myself included. Actually, everyone in our house is a boondi fan – we love eating it as is, in raita, or sprinkled over bisi bele bath.

When I saw this recipe for restaurant-style Boondi Masala on my friend Preethi’s blog, I knew I had to make it. Just as I had known it would, it was an instant hit at home. All of us loved it so, so much!

Boondi Masala is a sort of bhel made using boondi. With finely chopped onions and tomato, a dash of lemon juice, garnished with fresh coriander, Boondi Masala is surely a delight to the tastebuds. Making boondi at home is a tedious process and one that requires considerable skill, but if you happen to have it on hand, this Boondi Masala is an easy-peasy snack to put together. Here, I have used store-bought boondi.

How to make Boondi Masala

I have used Preethi’s recipe as the base, and made the Boondi Masala with a few variations of my own. Here’s how I went about it.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

1. 1-1/2 cups of salted boondi

2. Black salt to taste

3. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder

4. 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar

5. 1 small onion

6. A small piece of carrot

7. 1 small tomato

8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

9. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom right and left: Steps 3 and 4

1. Take the boondi in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add in black salt to taste, powdered sugar and roasted cumin powder.

3. Peel the onion and chop finely. Peel the carrot and grate medium-thick. Chop the tomato finely. Add the chopped onion and tomato and grated carrot to the mixing bowl, along with the finely chopped coriander.

4. Add the lemon juice to the mixing bowl.

5. Mix everything up well. Your Boondi Masala is ready. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used store-bought boondi here. You can make your own at home instead.

2. The boondi I used had red chilli powder and roasted peanuts added to it. If you are using plain boondi, you could add red chilli powder or finely chopped green chillies. Dry-roasted and crisp peanuts can also be added. Roasted cashewnuts would also make a great addition.

3. To make roasted cumin powder, I dry roast a few tablespoons of cumin seeds on medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pan, till they become fragrant. I allow these to cool down completely, then coarsely grind them, and store the powder in a dry and air-tight bottle. I always have a batch of this roasted cumin powder at hand, which I use as needed.

4. You can add finely chopped capsicum and/or grated raw mango to the boondi too.

5. Adjust the quantity of black salt, sugar, roasted cumin powder and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.

6. This Boondi Masala needs to be consumed immediately after making it. If it sits around for too long, the boondi will lose its crispiness.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Vella Payasam| Rice Kheer With Jaggery

Happy, happy new year, people! I hope you had a lovely holiday season. 🙂 We sure did, and I’m now finding it so tough to get back to my regular routine! Anyhow, I’m here to tell you about this lovely Vella Payasam we enjoyed for New Year’s Eve.

Payasam or kheer is somewhat of a staple in our house on every festive occasion. Figures, because it is such an easy dessert to put together and you can have so many varieties! Vella Payasam – or Rice Kheer with jaggery (‘vellam‘ is Tamil for ‘jaggery’) – is one of our favourite types. I’m going to show you exactly how we make it at home, in this post. Do make it this festive season and share your feedback!

Most kheer varieties we prepare use sugar. The jaggery used in this Vella Payasam gives it a unique colour and taste. I use powdered organic country (Nati) jaggery which has a dark brown colour. You can use any other type of jaggery you prefer in the same recipe – Nolen Gur (liquid date palm jaggery from Bengal) or Karupatti (blackish palm jaggery from Tamilnadu) make for wonderful substitutes.

Vella Payasam or Rice Kheer With Jaggery

Other kheer varieties on the blog

There are quite a few different versions of kheer on my blog. You might be interested in checking them out:

What goes into Vella Payasam?

This is a very easy payasam to make, requiring only a handful of ingredients. In fact, there are just 5 basic ingredients that are used in this recipe – full-fat milk, ghee, rice, jaggery and cardamom powder!

We prefer keeping this kheer very simple, and do not use raisins or nuts. You could, if you want to, but there’s really no need – the flavours of the jaggery and thickened milk together make this a very special dessert as it is.

It is quite common for milk to curdle when jaggery is added to it. However, there’s a technique to prevent that from happening while making Vella Payasam – read on to know!

How to make Vella Payasam

Here’s how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 1/2 tablespoon ghee

2. 2 tablespoons rice

3. 1 litre full-fat milk

4. 1/3 cup jaggery powder or to taste

5. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom right: Step 3, Bottom left: Step 4

1. Wash the rice well under running water. Drain out all the water from it, then place it on a cotton kitchen towel and rub out all the moisture.

2. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the rice. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute for about 2 minutes on medium flame or till the grains of rice puff up slightly.

3. At this stage, add in the milk to the pan. Mix well.

4. Still keeping the flame at medium, allow the milk to come to a rolling boil. Reduce flame to low-medium now.

Top left, top right and below: Step 5, Bottom right and left: Step 6

5. Allow the milk to cook on low-medium flame till the grains of rice turn soft and break between your fingers, as shown in the picture above. This might take 30-45 minutes. Keep stirring intermittently, scraping down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan back into the milk. By the end of 30-45 minutes, the milk would have thickened considerably. Switch off gas at this stage.

6. Allow the milk to cool down till it is slightly more than lukewarm in temperature. Now, add in the jaggery powder and cardamom powder. Mix well. Do not add the jaggery while the milk is still hot – this can cause curdling.

Your Vella Payasam is ready – serve it warm or at room temperature.

Related event: Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The participants are divided into pairs, and each pair secretly exchanges two ingredients, unknown to the rest of the group. These two ingredients are used by each pair to prepare a dish that fits into the theme of the month. Looking at a picture of the finished dish, the group members try to guess the two secret ingredients that each pair has used.

The theme for December 2022 was ‘festive foods’, which was suggested by Priya Vijayakrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty.

I was paired with Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds for the theme. I suggested she use ‘asafoetida’ and ‘ginger’ as her secret ingredients, and she did so beautifully in this Tri-Colour Quinoa Pongal. Kalyani gave me ‘milk’ and ‘rice’ to work with, and I chose to use them in this family favourite Vella Payasam recipe.

Tips & Tricks

1. Always use a heavy-bottomed pan to make this payasam.

2. We use Sona Masoori rice to make this Vella Payasam. Basmati, Kollam and Gobindobhog rice are some other substitutes which work well too.

3. Jaggery powder is nothing but powdered jaggery, commonly available in several departmental stores. This melts easily, and is perfect for making the Vella Payasam. I have used the Nati variety, which has a dark brown colour. If you are using regular jaggery blocks, make sure it is well chopped before adding it to the milk. Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per taste.

4. Full-fat milk is an absolute must, for a rich and creamy payasam.

5. It is very important to allow the milk to cool down before you add in the jaggery. If you do not allow time for this, the milk might split when the jaggery is mixed in.

6. The right consistency of the milk mixture when the flame is switched off is thick and creamy, but still runny. Remember that it thickens up further with time. If the mixture has become very thick at this stage, add in some more full-fat milk as needed and cook for 7-8 minutes.

7. Do not vigorously heat the Vella Payasam after the jaggery has been added in. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

8. Keep checking on the rice intermittently while the milk is cooking. The grains of rice should break between your fingers when done.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Surti Sev Khamni| Gujarati Sev Khamni Recipe

Surti Sev Khamni is a snack from the state of Gujarat, more particularly from the Surat region. It is a unique dish, made with chana dal, extremely delicious and dearly beloved to the people of Gujarat.

In today’s blog post, let us see the Gujarati Sev Khamni recipe.

My favourite Surti Sev Khamni, all decked up and pretty, ready to be indulged in!

What exactly is Surti Sev Khamni?

The city of Surat in Gujarat is famous not just for diamonds and textiles, but also for its food. Surat boasts of a robust cuisine all its own, along with a vibrant street food scene. Vati Dal Na Khaman, Rassawala Khaman, Undhiyu, Locho, Ghari, Dabeli and Sev Khamni are some popular dishes.

Sev Khamni is made with chana dal, soaked and then cooked with lots of garlic, ginger and chillies, some jaggery for sweetness, and soured with lemon. The soft and crumbly chana dal is served topped with a generous dose of sev, fresh coriander and pomegranate pearls. Can you imagine the burst of flavours? It is a dish that is filling and hearty, not too difficult to put together, almost healthy barring the sev and jaggery.

I love food that explodes with flavours in my mouth, so it is no wonder that I adore Sev Khamni. I remember Dad getting home these small packets of Sev Khamni on his way home from work, growing up in Ahmedabad – they would cause such a commotion in the family, and rightly so! It would be garlicky, fiery, mildly sweet and tangy, and simply beautiful. I learnt from Gujarati friends of mine how to put together the dish, a skill that I have honed over the years.

Is Sev Khamni the same as Amiri Khaman?

Often, Sev Khamni and Amiri Khaman are believed to be the same – one is passed off as the other. However, living in Gujarat for long has taught me that that’s not the case. These are two different dishes!

Sev Khamni, as I was saying, is made with soaked chana dal that is ground and cooked to a crumbly texture along with a few other ingredients. That’s the way it is authentically, traditionally, cooked in Surat.

Amiri Khaman, on the other hand, is nothing but refurbished khaman – leftover khaman crumbled up and served with a variety of toppings. The khaman may be an instant version, made with gram flour (besan), or a mix of semolina (sooji) and besan, or Vati Dal Na Khaman that is made with a fermented chana dal batter.

Sev Khamni and Amiri Khaman can look and taste quite similar, but there are subtle differences in the texture, taste and technique of both the dishes. But, hey, both dishes are absolutely delectable!

Gujarati Sev Khamni recipe

Here’s how Surti Sev Khamni is made.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 1 cup of chana dal

2. A 1-inch piece of ginger

3. 2 green chillies

4. 5-6 cloves of garlic

5. 1 tablespoon oil

6. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

7. 2 pinches of asafoetida

8. Salt to taste

9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

10. 1/2 cup of milk, boiled and cooled

11. 3 tablespoons of jaggery powder or to taste

12. 2 heaped tablespoons of finely chopped coriander

13. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste

Toppings:

1. Fine sev, as required

2. Pomegranate arils, as required

3. Finely chopped coriander, as required

Method:

Left top and bottom: Steps 1 and 2, Right top and bottom: Steps 3 and 4

1. Wash the chana dal thoroughly under running water. Drain out all the water. Then, soak the chana dal in enough fresh water to cover it, for at least 3 hours.

2. When the chana dal is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer to a mixer jar. Grind coarsely, preferably without adding any water. If needed, add very little water for grinding. Keep aside.

3. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop the ginger and green chillies roughly. Transfer these to a small mixer jar.

4. Grind together the ingredients in the mixer jar to a paste, using very little water. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left: Step 10, Bottom right: How the mixture looks when it is cooked and ready

5. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida and let it stay in for 2 seconds.

6. Reduce the flame to low-medium, and add in the green chilli-ginger-garlic paste, followed by the coarsely ground chana dal. Mix well, and cook for a minute.

7. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on low-medium flame for 4-5 minutes.

8. At this stage, add the milk to the pan. Mix well. Continue to keep the flame at low-medium.

9. Cover the pan and cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes. Uncover in between to stir and ensure that the mixture is not burning at the bottom.

10. At this stage, add in the jaggery powder and mix well. Cover and cook on low-medium flame for 2-3 minutes more or till the mixture attains a dry but soft and crumbly texture. Switch off gas.

Left top and bottom: Step 11, Top right: The crumbly texture the mixture gets when it has cooled slightly, Bottom right: Surti Sev Khamni, ready to serve

11. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to cool down till it is barely warm, then the Surti Sev Khamni is ready to assemble.

12. To serve, crumble up the mixture gently and place some in serving bowls. Top with fine sev, finely chopped coriander and pomegranate arils as needed. Serve immediately.

Tips, tricks and variations

1. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery powder I have used here. I prefer using jaggery powder. Adjust the sweetness as per personal taste preferences.

2. You may skip the garlic if you do not prefer it. Personally, though, I prefer it with loads of garlic – that’s the way I have grown up eating it.

3. You may top the Surti Sev Khamni with some finely chopped onions and grated coconut. I usually skip these.

4. You may use some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney to top the Surti Sev Khamni. I usually don’t.

5. Adjust the number of green chillies you use depending upon personal taste preferences. The same goes for lemon juice.

6. Do not skimp on the coriander, pomegranate and fine sev. These are the three main pillars of a good sev khamni and need to be used generously. Use the freshest of coriander and pomegranate for best results. Use only the fine variety of sev – the thick variety doesn’t suit well. I have used store-bought fine sev here.

7. The milk adds a nice texture and taste to the Surti Sev Khamni. However, if you don’t prefer using it or want a vegan version, use water instead.

8. Do not grind the chana dal to a fine paste. For best results, keep the mixture coarse. Do not add too much water while grinding.

9. Cook the mixture till you get a soft, crumbly texture. Most of the moisture should evaporate, but the mixture should feel soft and not too dry. This is the perfect texture that one should aim for.

Looking for more Gujarati recipes? Check out my posts on Gujarati Khatti Meethi Dal, Gujarati Kadhi, Undhiyu, Dal Dhokli, Methi Na Gota, Dabeli and Handvo.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!