Saibhaji Bhugah Chaanwaran
Sindhis Love Food…Period !
I can go on and on about the variety of food that we love to indulge in , but it will be meaningless, since I believe every culture and religion have Gems of Recipes and boasting that only Sindhis have some great recipes that nothing in world could beat, might sound too immodest.
But trust me when I say that Sindhi Cuisine have one such recipe which is hard to beat in simplicity, nutrition, easy availability of ingredients and awesome taste .
Utter Spinach and you might need to fabricate stories of Popeye to make kids open their mouths to actually make way for that green stuff, forced down through their throats , hanging on the hope that their biceps(or triceps) will swell up like Popeye , making them strong.
So bless our ancestors, who thought of this Wonderful potpourri of Greens, lentils, vegetables, spices and flavors all in one pack called Saibhaji, more boastfully called as SINDHI SAIBHAJI
So what is this hype, all about? What is a Sindhi Saibhaji ?
Saibhaji=Sai(Green) +Bhaji (Vegetable)
Also, Spinach + Fresh Fenugreek leaves + Khatta paalak / chuka (Ambat chauka) + Dill leaves + Brinjal + Arbi + Okra + Potato + Onion+ Bengal gram+Tomato = Sindhi Saibhaji
Sounds tiresome? Nah …its simple to make, and yumm to eat. Still doubtful ? Then why not try it out yourself ?
All ingredients in, ready to be cooked !
- Spinach 1 Bunch (Approximately 300 gms)
- Khatta (chuuka, khatti paalak) few leaves. If you wish not to add any tomatoes the kindly add more leaves for sourness.Inversely if you are unable to fetch Khatta leaves add 3 large tomatoes
- Dill leaves or Sua... few (depending on your taste)
- Fresh Fenugreek leaves (A handful).If unavailable, use 1 tsp of kasuri methi instead
- Tomatoes 2 (If less of khatta paalak is used or else skip tomatoes to get that perfect green colour)
- Brinjal (Egg Plant) 1 Small
- 1 okra(bhindi), 1 small potato(either or both)
- Arbi (kachaloo) ½(optional)
- Onions 2
- Channa Dal (Bengal Gram Dal) ½ cup cup (Soaked)
- Green Chillies 2-3
- Ginger a bit
- Coriander powder 1 heaped tsp
- Turmeric Powder ¼ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil 1-2 tbsp
- Wash spinach leaves along with khatta , methi (you can use 1 tsp of kasuri methi in case fresh leaves are unavailable) and Suaa (dill leaves) and chop them well
- Peel and chop Arbi, onions and potatoes. Chop brinjal and Okra too. Do not forget to keep these veggies submerged in a bowl of water as soon as you chop these. In case you do not have all these veggies, just brinjal and onion will do, or just okra and potato with onion will help to make the Saibhaji mushy.This mix of vegetables is called as VAKHAR in Sindhi
- Heat oil in pressure cooker, add Vakhar (the chopped veggies in bowl) and saute it till tender
- Add chopped spinach leaves along with khatta, methi and sua , tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, all dry masalas, salt, chana dal and mix well(Note: Many prefer to just throw in everything in pressure cooker and not mix, going by the belief that mixing the spinach will result in taking long to cook. I somehow can't resist mixing the stuff before closing the lid of cooker. So you can choose your way)
- Add little water and close the lid.Wait for atleast 7-8 whistles open the lid , mash it well with whisker , and adjust its consistency to a semi dry one
- Many also prefer a Garlic Tadka (Tempering). But in our family , Saibhaji is made this way
- It could be served with almost everything , ranging from plain steamed rice, to bhuge chawal, veg biryani , Koki or Doda.
- But saibhaji is most relished with Bhughe Chaawal (Bhugha Chaanwaran). So it becomes mandatory to share its recipe too here 🙂
- Rice (Basmati or any other) 1 cup
- Onion 1
- Red chilli powder ½ tsp
- Tejpatta (bay leaf) 1
- Cloves 2-3
- Black cardamon, 1 (only skin)
- Dalchini 1 inch stick (Note instead of Khada masala, Garam masala powder can also be used for non spicy taste, so in that case use ½ tsp of garam masala powder )
- Salt as per taste
- Oil 1 tbsp
- Wash and soak rice for half hour if using non basmati rice, or if Basmati, then just for 10 minutes
- In a handi, put one tbsp of oil, add one by one, all the whole spices and wait for few seconds. Add sliced onion and mix well. Cook on medium flame, till onion turns nice brown in colour.This slowly caramelized onion imparts a unique flavor to the rice. Do not let the onion get charred.
- Add red chilli powder, (and garam masala powder in case khada masala is not used) and rice . Add water, double the quantity of rice. You can add some shelled peas and chunks of potatoes and/or Tinda (Apple gourds ). In that case, first add vegetables and let it boil in water for few minutes before adding rice
- Add salt and let the mixture boil, till very less water remains.
- Simmer and cover it with a lid till rice is cooked
- Serve piping hot with Sindhi Saibhaji and enjoy the Made -in-Heaven combination of food
The first picture shows Saibhaji with bhughe chaawal , roti, Fried Brinjal and Arbi….A traditional Lunch for sindhis. And oh how can i forget Papad, its indispensable with traditional meals
Thats all for today, and before signing off, can I share one of my most favorite Sindhi song ? Check it here