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Recipe: Simple, Delicious Sai Bhaji

Sai Bhaji is a traditional leafy Sindhi preparation, but this version is adapted from how Rajendraji, the late Bihari cook of a friend, and Raju, the UP gent, who would occasionally temp at my home, would make it.

As nutritious as it is, whenever I make this simple recipe of dal packed with greens, with a faint tantalising taste of dill, and serve it with warm rotis, it’s wiped out by the family and the folks are scraping the pot for more.

Sai Bhaji

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 small bundle khatta palak or Indian sorrel, leaves only
  • ½ of a fat bundle spinach
  • ¾ cup channa dal, soaked for a few hours or longer
  • 1-2 tbsp oil or butter or ghee
  • 4-5 sprigs sua or dill, chopped, not the stems
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 6-7 pods garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece ginger, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2½ cups water
  • Slices of lemon, for serving

Method

  • In a pressure cooker, fry the garlic in the oil or ghee or butter till light brown, over medium heat.
    Add the onions, tomato, chillies and fry a little more.
    Add the unchopped greens, dal, dill water and close the cooker.
  • Cook for 5-6 whistles.
    Take off heat cool and then open the cooker and mash so the greens are well blended.
    Add a little more water if too thick and warm.
  • Serve hot with warm chapattis and slices of lemon.

Note: The amount of dill you add is crucial and the hallmark of this recipe. It should be enough to add a light accent that’s not recognisable as dill. Too much dill, which can be an overpowering, will ruin the recipe and too little will make it insipid.

For a Jain version of this preparation, skip the ginger, garlic and onion and use plenty of chopped spring onion greens, a generous pinch of asafoetida and a generous inch of ginger powder.

This dal and roti pairs well with Hitesh Harisinghani‘s Sindhi-Style Mutton

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