• Anjum Anand's version of undhiyu (Indian Food Made Easy)Source: Indian Food Made Easy
Rich with flavour, undhiyu can be the heart of a vegetarian meal or a great side dish.
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23 Sep 2020 - 10:37 AM  UPDATED 25 Sep 2020 - 12:34 PM

--- Join Anjum Anand for season 2 of Indian Food Made Easy, Wednesdays 7.30pm on SBS Food from 23 September. See her making her version of undhiyu in episode 2 on September 30. Episodes will also be available on SBS On Demand. ---

 

If you’re looking for another delicious way to eat more veg, Anjum Anand’s quick take on an Indian classic might be just what you need.

Undhiyu (also oondhiya or undhiyo) is a slow-cooked dish from Gujarat, on India’s west coast.

“In the old days in Gujarat, it would be made in a huge pot with all the vegetables layered in accordance with their cooking time and cooked really slowly … so that all the vegetables are cooked to succulent perfection. Normally the vegetables would be slashed at regular intervals, the spice paste would be stuffed inside these tight crevasses to flavour the large chunks of vegetables from the inside. I almost want to leave the traditional recipe unchanged and not simplify it for us non-Gujarati cooks, almost... But, I can’t help myself, it is such a wonderful dish that I want to make it as simple as possible to entice everyone to give it a try!” says Anand of her version of the classic, which she shares in season two of her show Indian Food Made Easy and in the book of the same name.

It’s one of the dishes she shares in an attempt to convince one of the show’s guests that it is very easy to cook the Indian food he loves at home – and that vegetarian dishes can satisfy even meat-lovers. (And it works.)

“We have so many textures and flavours in…in a vegetarian dish now because we… I think two-thirds of Indian is vegetarian, so if you imagine for generations, they’ve been perfecting the…this cuisine of cooking with vegetables,” she says.

“Gujarati food is mainly vegetarian. It almost feels like it’s evolved from the kitchens of busy mothers.  It’s really easy to cook, there’s lots of one-pot dishes, plenty of vegetables and a touch of sweetness,” says Anand.

Of undhiyu, she says “this is one… that every time I eat, I promise myself to make more of it.”

In one traditional version, undhiyu is made in an earthenware pot turned upside down before cooking in a fire pit or buried under coals (thus the name, which comes from a word for 'upside-down'). There are of course variations on the ingredients and how they are prepared and flavoured, too, although what most have in common is that the dish often takes a long time to prepare and cook.  

In the spirit of Indian Food Made Easy, Anand has developed a quicker version (get her recipe here).

“It’s one of my favourite recipes …. It’s a mixture of root vegetables and baby aubergines in a coriander and coconut masala.”

Serve it as part of an Indian meal, on its own or as an accompaniment to a roast.

Image of undhiyu in article by Jatan1992.

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