Rajasthani Papad ki Subzi - Extraordinary out of the Ordinary
There are many days when I am so hungry and tired when I come home that the idea of a hot, fresh dinner that is ready to eat in 10 minutes is ........AMAZING. The dish that I am going to talk about today is like that. It also has a plus point - it is made out of the most common, ordinary ingredients that I am bound to have. So there is no planning required - this is almost always the mark of a classic recipe to me. Plus, with the calcium in yogurt and the protien in chickpea flour.....you are getting the most out of comfort food.
North Indian Papads are crisps made out of besan (chickpea flour) and spices. The flour is kneaded to a dough using some oil and water ( and spices). Then it is rolled out into really really thin taco-like entities. These are then dried in the sun for a few days. After this, they are storable for centuries (almost). How are they eaten? Well, you could fry them....but the healthier, and in my mind tastier way, is to grill them for 30 seconds (each side) on an open flame. But today we are going to use them 'un-cooked' to make a delicious and super-fast curry.
Oil 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/4 tsp
Heeng (asafoetida) 1/5 tsp
Buttermilk 1/4 cup (You can use watered down yogurt) - the tangier the better.
Water 1/2 cup
Tumeric pwd 1/3 tsp
Red chile pwd 1/3 tsp
Corriander pwd 1/3 tsp
Papad (poppadum) 2-3 cut into small pieces
Garam masala 1/3 tsp
1. Heat the oil in a pot till hot, put in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let be till cumin seeds have popped.
2. Remove the pot from heat. Wait for 1 minute and then stir in the buttermilk/yogurt. Stir continuously and put on low heat. Add the water now. Stir continuously!
3. Add the powders ( NO SALT yet)
4. After 4-5 minutes of off-and-on stirring, you can turn up the heat to medium. Go about your other tasks....but stir every 2 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. (Yes, yes I do increase the heat at some point to make it quicker). Once it boils, you can let it boil away for another 2-3 minutes (no stirring required now).
5. Lower the heat and add the papad pieces. Let simmer for another 2-3 minutes until the pices are translucent. But you dont want them to fall apart. So taste. In fact, now would be a good time to taste and add salt. Sprinkle with garam masala and serve!
You can go wrong in two places. First, the buttermilk/yogurt could split if the pot is too hot when you put them in. We have a rememdy for that - 1 tsp of Besan (chickpea flour) will bind everything together again.
Second, if you salt too soon the buttermilk might split and/or the dish is toooo salty to eat. This is because Papads have a lot of salt. It is wisest to wait until the dish is done, taste and then add salt (if needed).
Here is my simple meal of Papad subzi, paranthas and green chilie pickle.