Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rajasthani Gatte Ki Sabzi

Gatte Ki Sabzi is a Rajasthani delicacy that my brother, and I were introduced to by our next door neighbor "Aunty," back in school days. Whenever she would make it, which seemed like pretty much every day, she would give us some, and it was so delicious, that we would literally gobble it all up within minutes! And then of course, our mom learned the recipe, and she would make it for us. And now I know how to make it too. Sadly, neither my kids, nor my husband really care for it, therefore I don't cook it very often. The only time I get to make it is if my brother happens to visit, which he did, a couple days ago.

Before I start off with the recipe, to those of you who may be unfamiliar with this dish, Gatte ki Sabzi is basically chickpea dumplings in a mildly spicy, tangy, yogurt based sauce. Can be eaten with Indian bread, or plain simple rice. This is not one of those quick recipes, so gotta give yourself at least an hour. Also, be warned that the gatta/chickpea dumpling making can get a bit messy. Typically the gattas, or the dumplings are shaped like sausages, but I like to shape them into discs. More about the shape towards the end.

The Gattas/Chickpea dumplings: 

You need: 

Besan (chickpea flour): If this is your first time, I'd start off with a cup and a half besan. Once you have figured out how to deal with this, you can increase the quantity.

Salt per taste

Red Chili powder- per your heat level

Turmeric powder- a pinch

Garam Masala powder (or coriander powder+cumin powder)- 1/2-1 tsp

1 teaspoon ghee/Clarified butter or a couple teaspoons of oil

Water to mix- you will need maybe 1/4 cup, or even lesser.

Gatta making: 

1. Mix up all the dry ingredients, followed by ghee, and then start adding water, in small quantities. As you add the water, start mixing the dough with your fingers (like you would knead dough for rotis/chapatis or pizza). Yes, it'll start sticking to your fingers, but be patient- use a butter knife to sort of scrape off the gooey dough off your fingers. This is how it'll look once everything is mixed:

Sticky mess! Not to worry! 
2. Then spoon in some oil on your other (clean) palm, and start making balls with the dough.

Ghatta on its way!
3. I would stop here, but if you prefer the sausage shape, you can go right ahead, and keep rolling until you get your desired shape.


4. Finish making all the gattas, like so:

Gattas ready to be cooked
Cooking the Gattas:

Now that the gattas are ready, they need to be cooked.

1. Pour some water (enough to hold all the gattas) into a pot/pan, and bring the water to a boil.

2. As the water starts boiling, start adding the gattas very gently, one by one into the boiling water. And reduce the heat a tad bit, and let them all cook for about 7-10 minutes.

Gattas cooking 
3. After they have cooked (you can check by cutting up a gatta- if it is hard, you know it is done), remove them from the water, and set them aside to cool. Don't be put off by the color- it'll come back! And do not discard that water- you will get to use it in the sauce. It has all the flavor!

Cooked gattas
4. After they have cooled off a bit, you can either leave them the way they are, or, if you prefer smaller pieces, like I do, just cut them up into whatever size you like. And see, the color comes back!

Gattas cut up into smaller pieces 
Phew! The major part of the cooking is done! The next part will take only about 15-20 minutes.

The Sauce:

1. Take about 1/2 a cup of yogurt, and whip it so it is nice and smooth.

2. Chop some onion, green chilies, garlic, grate some ginger. In a frying pan/pot/kadhai (wok), pour in a few teaspoons of oil. Get the heat going.

3. Temper some cumin seeds, and then throw in the chopped aromatics, fry until it is done.

4. Then add the cooked gattas into this, and stir fry it all. Add salt to taste, a pinch of turmeric powder, some red chili powder, if you so desire, followed by that water that you saved after cooking the gattas. Don't add all the water- just enough to cover everything. I like to add a chopped tomato, though the traditional recipe doesn't really call for it.

5. Finally fold in the yogurt. And stir everything.

Looks yum already! 
6. And now just simmer it, until ready to be served! Well, don't simmer it too long, though- because the more you heat it, the thicker the sauce becomes, because of the chickpea flour in the gattas. Make sense? So once you have achieved the desired consistency, you can switch off the stove.

Serve over a bed of jeera (cumin) rice, or alongside some rotis/parathas (Indian bread). Mmm mmm!

Gatte ki Sabzi
The Bizarre aspect: 

To a first-timer, gatte ki sabzi might appear a bit off-putting- especially if the gattas are shaped like sausages. I am trying hard not to say this-- but OK, I'll just go right ahead and say it- you might think it looks like turd curry! But give it a try- be open, you will like it! I'm pretty sure Andrew Zimmern would love to try this one. It is definitely not as bizarre as most of the foods he gets to eat on his show, but it could still pass off as bizarre, because of its appearance.

Final Note: Before I sign off, I'd like to point out that this dish is very diabetic friendly, because of all that chickpea flour.


spartan said...

I can't stomach it and erm.. output might look like input in this case - ha ha . Ok - this might sound juvenile - giggle - but "pea" in a certain south indian language means ...

Aparna Heroor said...

@spartan LOL!!! Have you ever tried it, though? That, my dear, is the question! ;) Besides, if them gattas are shaped like discs, methinks you won't mind!