A Traditional Sindhi Lunch

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sindhi saibahji bhugah chaanwaran

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 !

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sindhi Saibhaji Recipe
Serves: 3
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A signature style Sindhi Recipe, spinach cooked with assorted vegetables.
  • 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
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Heat oil in pressure cooker, add Vakhar (the chopped veggies in bowl) and saute it till tender
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  6. Many also prefer a Garlic Tadka (Tempering). But in our family , Saibhaji is made this way
  7. It could be served with almost everything , ranging from plain steamed rice, to bhuge chawal, veg biryani , Koki or Doda.
  8. But saibhaji is most relished with Bhughe Chaawal (Bhugha Chaanwaran). So it becomes mandatory to share its recipe too here 🙂

bhughe_chaawal1Bhugha Chaanwaran

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bhugha Chaanwaran
Recipe type: Rice
Serves: 2
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Sindhi style rice cooked with caramelized onion and spiced up with red chilly powder and Garam Masala
  • 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
  1. Wash and soak rice for half hour if using non basmati rice, or if Basmati, then just for 10 minutes
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Add salt and let the mixture boil, till very less water remains.
  5. Simmer and cover it with a lid till rice is cooked
  6. Serve piping hot with Sindhi Saibhaji and enjoy the Made -in-Heaven combination of food
I sometimes make this rice in pressure cooker, following the same procedure, just that a bit less of water is used and 2 whistles of pressure cooker are enough to cook rice to perfection.

And this goes to Dear Nags of Edible Garden(cooking and me), who is hosting Monthly Mingle # 33 -Ravishing Rice. Monthly mingle is a  brainchild of Lovely Meeta

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


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64 thoughts on “A Traditional Sindhi Lunch

  1. Prerna Jethwani says:

    I tried it and my husband liked it so much ..thank you for your recipe

  2. Shobha kaul buch says:

    Alka saibhaji turned out to b so delicious wen i cooked it.
    My family loved it.

  3. Shobha kaul buch says:

    It was so so delicious wen made alka

  4. Peace Excalibur says:

    Yummy… Mmmm…mmmmm !!!
    Sindhi Food is Great….
    And your favourite song is excellently simple….

    Love from Excalibur
    -Jacobabad, Sindh Pakistan

  5. Love, love, love it!!! It was sooooo yummy and soooo easy…. Thanks for sharing

  6. Have just read the Sindhi sai bhaji receipe will post my updates after trying out the receipe.

  7. Hi Alka,

    I completely agree with you about Sindhi food. I am ethnically from Mangalore but spent my childhood in Bombay surrounded by Sindhi neighbours and they made sure they pampered us with lots of delicious fried food sent to our home.I can never forget the delicious tomato bajjiyas!

    My mom learnt to make sai bhaji and now as an adult I try and make it.Unfortunately I am always in places where I can never find Khatta bhaji!

    • Mala Shenoy says:

      Hi Alka, You can substitue the khatta bhaji for 2-03 tomatoes for the sour taste required in the sai bhaji.

      • Mala Shenoy says:

        Hi, You can substitue the khatta bhaji for 2-3 tomatoes for the sour taste required in the sai bhaji.

  8. I tried the sai bhaji and it was awesome. I did a giner and garlic tadka though. My 3 yr old loved it too! This is gonna be a regular in our home.

  9. Hey alka,
    i was searching for a perfect sai bhaji recipe & need i say one i came here i didnt need to look anywgere else… i made it today & it turned out delicious 🙂 i simply loved it… right now its resting along with the rice in my tummy & it feels soo great 🙂 thanks for the recipe… will let u know when i post the pics of the same on my blog… tc

  10. namrata magnani says:

    Yummy..!! This combination is my favorite too..

  11. I find excellent recipes on your website for one who had lived in Bombay for years among Sindhis and who loved their cuisine. how do pappads become curled when roasted?

  12. My mouth is watering too good yummy delcious Sindhi food

  13. Could u pls make your recipes printer friendly?

  14. Hi,

    Thanks for an authentic Sindhi Saibhaji recipe. Will definitely try it out soon. Just wanted to say thanks for such a wonderful collection of delicious Sindhi recipes. They have definitely made a huge difference for me living in US and missing mom’s cooking 🙂

  15. Another masterpiece ! Its turning out to be the most authoritative Sindhi Recipe database across the world.

    Its a lifeline for Sindhi men who are hopelessly addicted to these dishes but have left behind their dear mom in India

    Many thanks for continuing to post these wonderful recipes – Saibhaji is my all time favourite


  16. hey, been a long time, I know everyone is crazy about sai bhaji but not me, I just wait for the sai bhaji tikki from the left overs.

  17. nimisha keswani says:

    hey this reminds me of my mom. miss her food. thanks for sharing this recipe.

  18. Alka…thats a lovely spread.This reminds me of one of the potlucks at work long back in India,a colleague of mine had got Saibhaji and i was literally licking my fingers.Now i got to know the recipe.Lovely click too.In the first click there is sumtng like a roasted eggplant…that attracted me too.Wat is it? Is that another sindhi delicacy:-P Let me know…..loved your spread!

  19. excellent recipies
    thanks for sharing

  20. Mouth watering spread, Alka.

  21. Wow Alka thats a feast indeed I would love to have them and its nice to getta know about Sindhi food and they way its make the choice of ingredients and I admire the way you guys cook them!!! I couldnt just think of anything else now other than the food in the pic!!!

  22. Great looking platter and loved the rice,bookmarked it 🙂

  23. Hey Alka,

    While everybody appreciated the recipe which it rightfully deserves, I was humbled listening to your favorite song (which is also one of my favorite songs {bhajan, prayer}… and thanks very much for the link). I am sure not many of your readers have commented on this due to their lack of understanding of the language. Just to summarize, it only means that no matter where we live or how much we have stashed in our bank accounts, it is all due to His little attention that He chose to bestow on us. So forget Him not and continue get His attention through your good deeds and actions. I know this is a food blog but felt it worth mentioning.

  24. Yummy…it is raining now and your delightful repast is just what is needed to add to the elements. I am partial to a traditional South Indian lunch of onion sambar and alu roast and lemony tomato rasam et al. To round it off with some almond kheer and a good snooze on a lazy sunday would be the epitome of good living

  25. ummm…yummy meal,..sai bhaji looks os yum..i am drollin here

  26. Hi Alka, this is the first time I’m hearing about putting Bhindi and kachaloo in Sai Bhaji. I’ve always put carrot, brinjal and doodhi along with gavar, onion, potato and chana dal along with palak, khata, sua and Methi. Try it this way and let me know.

  27. i adore saibhaji. thanks so much for the recipe, dear alka.

  28. Nice combo and awesome clicks!! Check out my blog for your award! http://salt2taste.blogspot.com/2009/05/cantaloupe-sugar-mix.html

  29. Alka, you have an amzing food site here. I didnt know so much about Sindhi food until I visited your site. Your recipes are great and the pics are beautiful too. Great job girl.
    I will be trying your Bhindi Basar patata curry soon. Will let you know the outcome.

  30. Amazing pictures Alka. Have you got a new camera? They look like something from a magazine! Great job.

  31. Wow mothwatering and inviting platter….Never had Sindhi meal before…Will try this rice…..

  32. Alka,

    I love this saibhaji, especially when my mom used to make. We usually add only aalo n lauki to make it a mushy mix (ofcourse, with onion and ginger, garlic, green chillies, jeera and bengal gram). My mom’s combo with it wud be plain rice and aalu takk (flat aalu’s halved and then made like the brinjal u have presented here.) Thanx a lot for presenting it here so nicely n with so many veggies and for reminding me of my mum’s delectable food coz i never really found out neone or any presentation that wud be so simple and yet so delicious jus like my mom’s cuked fud.

  33. Hi Alka very nice recipe , wld luv to have the brinjal recipe also.I had tried ur malai kofta last weekend & it was gr8.

  34. Such vibrant snaps and such delicious looking dishes Alka! I love sai bhaji … my sindhi neighbor taught me how to make it. I’ll try that rice someday … looks tempting. 🙂

  35. I love saibhaji with onion pulav..am only half sindhi but have mostly been brought up with my maternal side relatives..and now after getting married to a punjabi have turned him also to like most sindhi food. Love your blogging keep posting 🙂

  36. Now its time to put some more Sindhi green veggies like:

    suhanjhray jo achar and/or suhanjhro curry 🙂
    Not to forget the mareero (what the non Sindhis call Chowlai ka saag)
    and lunak and luler jo Bor-u (curry) to give all your readers a true Sindhi feel when they come to your blog.

  37. what a yummy thali that is… Looks so inviting. Loved the saibhaji.

  38. Alka,
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..am just barging into ur sindhi rasoi now! u r driving me crazy with ur wonderful write up , recipes and pics 🙂 🙁
    I wanna have a typical sindhi khana!! neways cant thank u enough for the wonderul traditional recipes, would love to try these and make my kitchen smell of sindhi aromatic food 🙂

  39. I wish I could have that meal! Love the recipes. Wonderful cuisine..what lovely pictures you click:-)

  40. Oh, Alka, your picture is killing me! How gorgeous that plate looks– I’d eat it all and be left licking my fingers. Thanks, especially, for the saibhaji recipe– that’s one dish I would love to make.

  41. Thanks for the lovely entry Alka 🙂 Beautiful clicks!

  42. LOl…I’m the kind who throws everything in too! And I love the bhugar chawar but one of my fav. combinations with saibhaji is with tahiri. Hmmm…..now you got me hungry.

  43. Grt. I cook sai bhaji but i never used any vegetables ,only used spinach and chana dal and lots of green coriander leaves . I think adding some vegetables will enhance more its taste. So thanx for sharing such a nice platter with us.

  44. Wow ! Everything looks so good. Brings me back lot of good memories.

  45. Spinach is me and my daughter’s favorite! This is a new way to make it for me, so I have bookmarked to try 🙂

  46. hey, thanx so much for the traditional authentic sindhi saibhaji-bhuge chawal recipe…pls keep posting more of authentic sindhi recipes as much as u can…we all love visting ur blog and learn so much from u !!!
    thanx so much…. 🙂

  47. Wow wat a lovely spread…Thats a delicious and traditional…nice to know more about sindhi cuisine which is quite new for me…

  48. Lovely spread… nice to see a traditional lunch out here. I will be glad if somebody cooks lunch for me like yours.

  49. I have heard about the Saibhaji, before have neither seen nor tasted it. Based on the ingredients, looks like it is a nutritional powerhouse.

  50. Hi Alka
    Well its nice treat to see the saii bhaaji pics.

    I am not sure what is khatti palak, is it the same as jaambho in Sindhi? jhaambay jo tel is used in cooking by some and its also used as hair mask (jhambay jo tel tends to be kervo so many prefer to use tooriyay jo tel (mustard oil) for hair mask).

    Bon appetite

  51. It is past 12 here.. lunch time.. & u see what u are doing to me here. that place has everything i love. That spinach is just too good! & the rice with caramelized onions.. yummm… now I will fill my appetite looking at the picture & then go eat “Now not so good Quesidillas”:-(

  52. I was never quite familiar with sindhi cuisime except for sai bhaji .. thatz a lovely platter Alka

  53. Atlast I have a fantastic receipe for Saibhaji! Nobody has a better recipe for turning spinach in to something eatworthy than the Sindhis. The shots are awesome

    Thanks alka

  54. Mouthwatering food! I agree with you – Sindhi food is tasty! I could not have it everyday as I cannot do without the Palakkad spread but I love North Indian cuisine.

  55. most yummy thali..alka..looks just too inviting!

  56. Wow! this is one delicious meal. So glad to see such traditional food shared Alka. Sai Bhaji is something I got to try. Will replacing spinach with other greens be ok?

  57. Really Alka, from so many days I was searching for authentic recipes….. Thanks a lot….

  58. shaikhmohammed says:

    u r absulately right that this saibhaji is awesome, hard to beat. yummy.

  59. Sai bhaji and rice both look delicious…have heard about sai bhaji a lot but never got to try..must a try for me 🙂

  60. I am womming over, looks so so yummy delicous. The whole plate.

  61. Mouth watering pics Alka 🙂

  62. Glad that I am the first one to comment..
    That platter looks yummy Alka…Saw this saibhaji sometime back but never tried..looks very yummy….

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