Posted in Indian Curries, Recipes, Traditional Gujarati Recipes

Sev Tameta nu Shaak!

Sev Tameta nu Shaak ( Sev added to a cooked gravy of tomatoes, a dab of jaggery and a few basic spices ) for the evening when you lose track of time panicking about something and realise that you are “cannot-afford-to-spend-more-than-10-minutes-on-fixing-dinner” kind of desperately hungry! Sev Tameta nu Shaak is quite popular in Gujarati, specifically Kathiyawadi, restaurants. Tangy, garlicky curry of 🍅, trailing ruby red oil with crispy Sev added to it makes for a beautiful sensory experience when eaten out doors, sitting on a ખાટલો | charpoy, on a chilly winters nights with fresh off the stove રોટલા | hand crafted millet rotis smeared with ghee. Bite into a fried green chilli ( mild ) or a hand smashed onion on the side, and all five senses feel an indescribable bliss. But the origins of the curry remain a classic “chicken or egg” conundrum to me. Whether it was a quick-witted and impromptu invention by a quick thinking lady of the house on a day when the guests arrived unannounced and then it made its way to restaurant menus because of the popularity. Or if it made a bold, sensational entry in home kitchens at the demands of clamouring kids and husband who wanted to eat out, I cannot say. All I can say is that the combination is 🔥!

Recipe – Version 1 ( with ready to use Sev or Ganthiya )

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 nos. ripe & juicy tomatoes of medium size, finely chopped OR ( how I find it perfect ) 2 nos. medium tomatoes + 100 ml or roughly 1/2 a cup of storebought tomato purée OR ( when absolutely running out of time ) 200 ml of store bought tomato purée,
  • 1/2 an inch piece of ginger + 15 cloves of garlic + 1 tbsp of Kashmiri ( or any mildy hot ) red chilli powder pound to a smooth paste with a few pinches of salt and a few drops of oil, ( true Kathiyawadi / restaurant version is always heavy on garlic, please tone it down to your preference if would like to ),
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder + 1 tsp of cumin coriander powder + 1 tsp of Kashmiri red chilli powder , all three spices mixed with 2-3 tbsp of water to form a paste,
  • 1 tsp of Gujarati Methiya Masalo ( completely optional , use it only if you have it, it is a pickle spice mix comprising of salt, oil, fenugreek seeds, red chilli powder and asafoetida ), if using, add while making the above mentioned paste of dried spice powders,
  • 3 tbsp ( or more ) peanut / groundnut oil ( again, restaurant version is heavy on oil so exercise your discretion ),
  • A pinch of asafoetida (optional),
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds,
  • 1 green chilli, slit,
  • Salt, to taste,
  • 1 tbsp of jaggery ( preferred choice ) OR sugar, ( optional but highly recommended if your tomatoes are tart or if you are using storebought tomato purée, it doesn’t make the curry sweet, the purpose is to balance out the sour taste),
  • 1/4th cup of thick set curd, ( completely optional, it is used to add richness to the gravy, I add sometimes, sometimes I skip ),
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves, about a handful roughly chopped, to garnish,
  • Sev, to serve ( you can use thick Ganthiya or thin nylon sev or anything in between completely uptown your preference. Thin sev gets mushy quite quickly in hot gravy while the thick one holds its shape for longer. I have often used Haldirams Lahsuni Sev or Ratlami Sev or Punjabi Tadka or even Nimbu Sev in Bengaluru, because the Gujarati sev isn’t easy to source locally. Feel free to use what is convenient).

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan. Once warm enough, add the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add asafoetida and the slit green chilli. Add the ginger garlic red chilli paste and cook for a short while until no longer raw.
  2. Now add the paste of dried spice powders made in water. Adding water helps prevent burning of spice powders with water. Cook until the water evaporates and spices aren’t raw.
  3. Now add the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes only to begin with because the tomato paste is more acidic and if added with tomatoes, prevents the chopped tomatoes from getting mushy or it takes more time to cook down. To the tomatoes add the salt and the jaggery / sugar if using. Mix well. Cook covered, stirring intermittently and mashing it down with the back of the spoon, until cooked and droplets of oil separate on the sides. If you add more oil to begin with, more of it will separate. If you start with less, it will only be a little oil on the sides of the pan.
  4. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the tomato purée if using. If you are only using the tomato purée, make the tempering as above and add in the purée. Again cover and cook for short while until the rawness of tomato purée is gone. This time, do not forget to cover, because the purée bubbles and splashes.
  5. If you intend to use the curd, whisk and add at this stage. Cook for a minute or two until the gravy is homogenous.
  6. Finally take it off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
  7. To serve, gently warm up the gravy if needed. In individual containers, take the store bought sev as needed. Pour over / ladle with the serving spoon some of the gravy over it. It is often topped with a light drizzle of ghee/oil or a light sprinkle of finely chopped onions in some homes. Mix and scoop with Rotlo ( millet rotis ), Rotli ( thin whole wheat fulkas / flatbreads ) or steamed rice.

Recipe: Version 2 ( almost the same as version 1 but by using freshly made hand rolled Sev which is cooked in the gravy and not fried )

Ingredients:

  • Same as all the ingredients in Version 1 other that the storebought/ready made Sev. Use the following ingredients instead to make hand rolled Sev ( like hand rolled pasta or noodles )
  • 1/3rd cup of Besan/Chickpea flour,
  • 1 tbsp of whole wheat flour / Semolina ( optional but recommended ),
  • 1 tbsp of groundnut oil,
  • 1 tsp ajwain ( optional, skip or use more if you like the flavour, it also helps digestion )
  • 1/4th tsp Hing/asafoetida,
  • 1/2 a tsp of salt,
  • 1/4th tsp of turmeric powder,
  • Water as needed, use only a few tsps to make a relatively tight dough, which you can handle and shape with oiled hands.

Method:

Note before you begin:

While the tomato curry cooks, one can make the dough for thick Ganthiya / Sev. You can go all the way by using a Sev press, making a dough and then frying it in the oil. But when I am making it for Doodhi ma Ganthiya nu Shaak or for this Sev Tameta, I just drop the dough pieces in the bubbling gravy and be done with it. Because even after all that frying, when you eventually add the Sev or Ganthiya to the curry, it will soften. That also helps keep the amount of oil in Sev lower. Another point I would like to make here is that making these Ganthiya works only if you are okay with thicker Ganthiya or Sev. The dough and the proportions I mention work well for hand rolling and it may need tweaking if you want to use a press. Thicker Sev will not disintegrate in the curry, thin Sev will. In the case you want to use a Sev press, please look up a Sev recipe on the internet. It is a lot of work for an otherwise simple curry in my opinion. So I just use ready made Sev or make these thickish Ganthiya/Sev like fresh Pasta as explained below. It is up to you which way you want to go.

The thickish, fresh Gaanthiyaa have been used here in the Dudhi Gaanthiyaa nu Shaak.

  1. Take the Besan/Chickpea flour in a bowl. Add oil ( you could add less but I like the texture of Gaanthiya more when I add a little extra oil ), ajwain, hing, ( adding both on the higher side adds flavour and aids digestion ), and the spices ( salt, turmeric ). Mix everything well, adding a tsp or two of water at a time ( add water extremely carefully, a little more and the dough will be unmanageable to work with ) to bring everything together.
  2. Divide into 6 or 8 portions, depending on the time and patience you have, you can make it as thick or thin as you would like. Oil your hands and roll each portion into a thin strand ( keep the thickness half of the thickness you expect the Gaanthiya to be, it swells on absorbing water while cooking. ) I like taking help of a chopping board or a rolling board and using motion like rolling a chapati, to get uniform thickness of strands. Cut into inch long pieces and set aside in a plate.
  3. Once the tomato curry base is ready ( steps 1 to 3 in the above method), , add another 1 cup to 1.5 cups of water. If you like a thick sabzi, add 1 cup of water but keep a kettle or pot of hot water ready on the side to add more later. Ganthiya absorbs a lot of water so you might add more later to correct the consistency. Once the sabzi comes to a gentle boil, drop the Gaanthiya into the sabzi and let it simmer on low heat. Cook for about 10 mins or when the Ganthiya doubles in size, stirring extremely gently in between to make sure that the Ganthiya don’t stick to the bottom or to each other. Add a little hot water if it feels that Ganthiya has absorbed all the water.
  4. Once the Ganthiya become double the size and float up in the gravy, take it off the heat. Garnish with coriander and serve! It is often topped with a light drizzle of ghee/oil or a light sprinkle of finely chopped onions in some homes. Mix and scoop with Rotlo ( millet rotis ), Rotli ( thin whole wheat fulkas / flatbreads ) or steamed rice.

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