BHAJI Calcutta curried vegetables

Bhaji is a curried vegetable dish, first sautèed, and then cooked in its own juices without added liquid.

Origin: India

Other names: bhaaji, subji, takari

During the week, most Indians prepare one or two vegetables for lunch and dinner, while on the Sabbath and holidays there will likely be at least three or four besides the ubiquitous dal (legumes). Indians make two primary types of stir-fried vegetables- gobi, containing a liquid, and a dry version called bhaji. Consequently, Indian cooks using basically the same ingredients create rather different dishes. Bahji can be prepared with any vegetable, but most variations contain potatoes, which absorb the flavours of the other ingredients and make the dish more substancial. In India, curried dishes prepared in Jewish households tend to be less spicey and oily then those of their neighbours.

Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish food

Ingredients:

3 - 4 servings.

[pareve]

  • 4 large (2 pounds) potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 small green chilies, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 curry leaves or 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 whole cloves or cardamom pods
  • Pinch of ground asafetida (hing) (optional)
  • About 1 teaspoon salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 pounds sliced green beans
  • 1 pound (1/2 head) thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1 medium head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 pound okra sliced lengthwise into quarters
  • 2 cups green peas
  • 2 bunches coarsely chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (cilantro)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, boil the potatoes in water to cover until semi-tender but not mushy, about 20 mins.

2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat, if using, add the mustard seeds and sauté until they begin to pop, 2 to 3 mins.

Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 mins.

Add the ginger, garlic, chilies, curry leaves, turmeric, cloves, and, if using, asafetida and sauté for 2 to 3 mins. Add the salt.

3. Add the potatoes and sauté until well coated, about 2 mins.

Stir in the green beans etc. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, or bake in a 210°c / 425°f oven until the vegetables are tender, 10 - 25 mins. If the potatoes are not cooked sufficiently, add 2 tablespoons water and cook until tender.

4. Stir in the parsley / cilantro and, if using, lemon juice and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm, if desired, accompanied with rice or bread, or at room temperature.

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