undhiyu is a one pot vegetable casserole dish that is the hallmark of gujarati vegetarian cuisine. generally preparing undhiyu takes a lot of time and needs patience. traditionally the veggies are cooked or fried in batches.
this recipe of undhiyu does not take much time, as all the veggies along with the methi muthia are steamed in a pressure cooker. though, if you want you can also cook the veggies in a large pot or pan. thus the recipe is easy as well as healthy. i have also added less oil than what is generally added.
undhiyu is a personal favorite. i have had undhiyu many times while living in mumbai. one of the best undhiyu, i have had was at a gujarati function in mithibai college, juhu, mumbai. the entire gujarati buffet there was so good, right from the starters to the dessert. we took small portions of everything and had a hearty meal.
undhiyu is so called as it is derived from the gujarati word “undhu” which means upside down. traditionally the entire dish is cooked in earthen pots (called ‘matlu’ in gujarati). the pots are sealed and placed upside down in a fire pit dug in the ground. the slow cooking in the earthen pot gives the dish a rustic flavor and taste.
recently, i had seen a parsi recipe called ‘umberiu’ which is also cooked in in a similar manner in an upside down earthen pot in a fire pit, on the tv show ‘lost recipes’ on EPIC channel. there is another variation of undhiyu made by the farmers of south gujarat and is called as umbadiyu. the recipes and ingredients are different but all of them are cooked in upside down earthen pots.
undhiyu is made during winters in southern gujarat, as some of the veggies added in it are only available in the winter season. the veggies added in undhiyu are root veggies like purple yam (kand), regular yam, sweet potatoes and baby potatoes. the other veggies added are small brinjals, raw or ripe bananas, ivy gourds and indian flat beans or surti papdi. fresh pigeon peas (tuvar lilva) are also added. in the absence of fresh pigeon peas, you can also add fresh green peas or fresh chickpeas.
- string and pod the surti papdi beans. i used half-half of surti papdi (hyacinth beans) and valor papdi (fava beans). after stringing them and halving them, rinse very well. strain and keep aside. i used 150 grams of beans which yielded 2 cups stringed and podded beans.
- in a bowl of water, peel, rinse and place the other veggies – 10 to 12 baby potatoes, 1 medium sweet potato, 1.5 to 2 cups chopped purple yam. also keep 8 to 10 small brinjals. note that the only the upper stalk of the brinjals have been removed and they have not been slit. you can also just rinse and keep the brinjals aside.