Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sai Bhaji (Spinach cooked with split peas the sindhi way)

Today is Cheti Chand,the New Year of the Sindhis and so decided to post the recipe of Sai Bhaji(green vegetable),one of the easiest and most nutritious Sindhi dishes and among the most popular.Most sindhis will make this at least once a week along with Brown Rice/Methi Rice or Khichdi(recipes to be posted).
Along with some fried potatoes or fried taro(kachalu),some papad and yogurt it makes a delicious meal.


1 bunch  fresh spinach  chopped or 1 box  frozen chopped spinach(10 oz)
2 medium onions chopped
3 large tomatoes chopped
4/5 cloves garlic chopped
1 1/2 " piece ginger chopped
3/4 cup yellow split peas-channa dal (washed and soaked in about 3 cups of water for at least a couple of hours and then drained)
Turmeric 1 tsp(haldi)
2-3 Serrano chillis or red chilli powder as per taste
Salt to taste
2 tbsps lemon juice or tamarind concentrate
2-3 tbsps canola oil(or vegetable oil)
1 cup water(approximately)

Optional ingredients:
1 carrot chopped
2 potatoes chopped
2 small indian/italian eggplants  chopped
2 tbsps chopped dill(sua)
2 tbsps chopped fenugreek leaves(methi;i use a small block of frozen methi)
1 bunch sorrel(chuka/khatta)

All the optional ingredients can be added or one can use whatever is available from that list.
If using sorrel,omit the lemon juice/tamarind.
Adding all these ingredients makes it more tasty and nutritious.
I chop all the vegetables in the chopper.

The traditional way of preparing this vegatable is to heat oil in a big pan and saute all the vegetables along with the turmeric for about 10 minutes and then add the split peas and 3 cups water and cover and cook on a medium flame for about 45 minutes till the peas are well done.Keep stirring it every 7 to 8 minutes.If the water dries up add some more.Then follow the rest of the steps as mentioned in the recipe below.

But these days with the advent of the pressure cooker it is easier and faster to cook this in the cooker.


In the pressure cooker,put the oil at the bottom and add the split peas.then add all the vegetables and the turmeric.Add the water and cover and cook under pressure for 8 to 10 whistles.
Let the pressure release on its own(about 10 minutes).
Now open the lid and add the salt.(always add salt to any dish with split peas/dried beans after cooking as adding the salt before does not let the beans/peas tenderize easily)and the lemon juice/tamarind concentrate.
Using a wooden masher,churn the vegetables till well blended.Be careful as the hot mixture tends to splash on your hands as you churn.
If too dry add a little water.It should be of a thick consistency.
If you do not have one of these mashers,you can do it with a hand blender but make sure
you do not overdo it.

Serve with rice and yogurt.


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