The Fantastic Four

The four ingredients that I have unfailingly used in these early days of cooking are chilli powder, turmeric powder, dhana jeeru or coriander-cumin powder, and jaggery (solid molasses (for want of better description) or gud). There’s also hing/ asafoetida, which makes it the Famous Five actually, but anyways.

This is especially true of daily veggies which are spiced with these ingredients, give or take different quantities.So what I describe for cabbage and ladies fingers/ okra/ bhindi below, could be well adapted to potatoes, cauliflower, bottle gourd/ winter melon/ lauki/ doodhi, and veggies that I dont know the english terms for, like turia and tindoda.

Veggies simply sauteed

Start with finely chopped cabbage or okra/bhendi (These are the two variations I’ve made and you can see photos for). You should have about 6 cups of chopped veggies.

In a wok/ pan/ whatever you have, add 3-4 tbsps of oil. (Add more if you like, it doesnt matter really; the veggies will taste great and about 50 yrs later your arteries might clog!)

Add 2 tsp of mustard, and once it sputters, add 1/2 tsp hing/ asafoetida. In case of bhindi/ okra, add 20-25 grains of fenugreek/ methi seeds instead of the mustard.

Add the veggies, add salt and mix it up. Cover the pan and let it sit till the cabbage is cooked, or in case of bhindi/ okra, till the stickiness is almost gone.

Add 1 tsp each of chilli powder, turmeric, and 1 and 1/2 tsps of coriander-cumin powder. Adjust and add more if you like. (the MIL says that the colour of the veggies is dulled by too much coriander-cumin, so beware. You want the final dish to look bright and yellow, or bright and green in case of bhindi.)

If your making cabbage, add some jaggery, like 1 tsp full. Again, sugar can, but the taste is sharper and not quite the same. No jaggery to bhindi.

Let it cook to your satisfaction. Then eat with previously mentioned dal and rotis/ rice.

cabbage - the parts and the whole

Bhindi - before and after

Notes: Again a case of approximation of spices to suit your taste. I would suggest doing a trial run with the amounts I have written and then adjusting. Also the amount of cooking/ leaving the veggies crisp is entirely up to personal preference.

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One response to “The Fantastic Four

  1. News to me that some gujjus put jaggery in cabbage. My mom doesn’t even put sugar as far as I know. Anyway, this website is such a delightful distraction to writing the you know what!!!

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