Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti refers to the Maharashtrian version of dal, made using moringa pods aka drumsticks in local parlance. Mildly spicy, with hints of sweet and sour, this dal is comfort food at its best. My grandmother used to make this wonderfully well, and I learnt it from her. It’s her recipe – which I have made several times over the years – that I’m going to share with you all today.
#MeeMarathi at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of is celebrating Marathi recipes this week. This is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme every Monday.
Priya Vijaykrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty suggested #MeeMarathi as the theme for this Monday, and I zeroed in on this Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti recipe for the same. It’s a delicious, delicious dish and a big family favourite, after all.There are many beautiful Maharashtrian recipes on Priya’s blog. I would love to try out this Kothimbir Vadi that she has shared for the theme!
What goes into my Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti?
I love having my lentils in many different ways. I often make a simple Dal Tadka or Dal Fry, or in Tamilnadu-style sambar. Sometimes, the more elaborate Dal Moradabadi or Dal Makhani find their way to our dining table. At least once a week, it’s Gujarati Dal or Maharashtrian Amti that stars on our daily menu.
There are several ways in which Amti can be prepared, made with different lentils like urad dal, toor dal and chana dal. There’s the Katachi Amti, prepared from the stock strained after cooking chana dal after making a sweet dish called puran poli. This Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti is made using toor dal, with the addition of drumsticks as stated above.
The flavour in the Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti comes from the use of goda masala, a unique spice blend that includes ingredients like stone flower (biryani phool), dry coconut, nutmeg, cardamom, poppy seeds, cinnamon, dry red chillies and coriander seeds. A dash of jaggery adds a touch of sweetness to the amti, with the sourness coming from the use of tamarind and/or lemon juice. There’s a mild heat that comes from the use of red chilli powder.
Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti recipe
Here’s how we make it.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1/2 cup toor dal
- A small piece of tamarind
- 2 large drumsticks
- 2 green chillies
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- A sprig of curry leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 pinches of asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3/4 tablespoon goda masala or to taste
- Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
- 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1. Wash the toor dal thoroughly in running water. Drain out the water.
2. Transfer the washed and drained toor dal to a wide vessel. Add in enough water to submerge the toor dal completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Cook for 7-8 whistles on high flame or till the toor dal is thoroughly cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Let it cool down.
4. Remove the tops and ends of the drumsticks. Chop them into finger-length pieces. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the curry leaves and lemon handy too.
5. When the tamarind has cooled down enough to handle, extract a thick paste from it. Keep aside.
6. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it thoroughly. Keep aside.
7. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, slit green chillies, curry leaves and chopped ginger. Let these ingredients stay in the hot oil for a couple of seconds.
8. Now, add the chopped drumsticks to the pan, along with a little water. Add in a little salt and the turmeric powder too. Mix well.
9. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook covered on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the drumsticks are cooked through but not overly so. Uncover intermittently and check on the drumsticks when they are cooking, adding a little more water if it has dried up. The drumsticks are done when you are able to open a piece and separate the kernels within. (See picture below.)
10. At this stage, add the cooked and mashed toor dal to the pan. Also add in water as needed to adjust the consistency, 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Mix well. Keep the flame at medium.
11. Add in salt to taste and goda masala. Mix well.
12. Taste and add red chilli powder if required. Mix well.
13. Add in the tamarind extract.
14. Now, add in the jaggery. Mix well.
15. Let the mixture cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till it thickens and reaches the consistency you desire. Switch off gas at this stage.
16. Mix in lemon juice to taste (if needed).
17. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Shevgyachya Shengachi Amti is ready. Serve hot, with cooked rice.
Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?
This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet.
I have used Bedekar’s goda masala here, which includes compounded asafoetida and is, therefore, not gluten-free. If you plan to use store-bought goda masala in this recipe, do make sure it suits your dietary requirements. Also, to make the above recipe gluten-free, you would need to avoid the asafoetida used in the tempering.
Tips & Tricks
1. Don’t overcook the drumsticks. They should be just cooked through.
2. Make sure the toor dal is well cooked, soft and mushy before adding it to the pan.
3. I have used store-bought goda masala by Bedekar here. You can use any brand of your choice or make your own at home.
4. Adjust the quantity of salt, goda masala, jaggery powder and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.
5. Garam masala is often suggested as a substitute for goda masala, but I would not really recommend doing that. The flavour profiles of garam masala and goda masala are completely different, and I don’t think one fits in place of the other. The closest ‘substitute’ to goda masala would be Khandeshi Kala Masala, in my opinion. Head to this post of mine to understand the similarities and differences between goda masala and kala masala.
6. A few fenugreek (methi) seeds can be added to the tempering too. I usually don’t.
7. Here, I have done the tempering at the very beginning. You can do it at the end too, after the amti is ready, if you prefer it that way.
8. If the goda masala is very spicy, you can skip the red chilli powder altogether. I have used it, here.
9. Garcinia Indica (kokum) can be used in place of the tamarind I have used here.
10. I have used a mix of lemon juice and tamarind to sour the amti, here. You can any one of these too, skipping the other ingredient.
11. Sometimes, chopped tomatoes and/or onions are added in, along with the drumsticks. We don’t.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!