savaa ni bhaji (dill and lentils)
Prina my niece, loves savaa ni bhaji with rotli and so does her dada. Savaa, suva or dill leaves are prepared as a vegetable in India either with lentils or potatoes. It is a herb but grows in abundance in India during the rainy season and winter season. Big fat bunches sometimes sell for just under 10 rupees. My visit to the Mombasa market this week was a delight as I saw only one seller with a few bunches of the bhaji. I quickly grabbed a few and made the vegetable on the same day. This herb does not stay for too long as the leaves start to turn yellow within a day or two. I love savaa ni bhaji with the lentils but Ajay prefers it with aubergines.
What is Dill?
Did you know that dill which is a herb belongs to the celery family. This herb has a tender hollow stem and very fine long threadlike leaves. Sometimes the leaves are also known as dill weed. It can be used fresh or dried and also the seeds are used for cooking. Did you know that dill water is also used to give babies to relieve gas and reduces colic symptoms.
Dill is usually used to flavor soups, a bit is used to make a cooling drink by adding it to yogurt or kefir. Its also used to flavor salads, I love the combination of cucumber, dill and yogurt. Its used in breads, for making dips and also added to fish, mashed potatoes or roasted ones. The famous dill pickle cannot be made without dill.
Dill seeds can be added to breads, cookies, crackers. have you ever tasted dill bread sticks? They simply are delicious. I remember when I was young, my mum would buy them for us from a famous bakery called Oven Door in Nairobi. Unfortunately, that bakery doesn’t exist anymore.
Its very common to find huge bunches of fresh dill in India as its commonly used to make a sabji or curry. Its usually served with rotis or parathas. Making this sabji or side dish is very easy. I decided to use the pressure cooker to cook it and it was ready in a matter of 5-10 minutes. It actually takes longer to clean and chop the dill than the cooking period.
Check out this delicious, aromatic sabji which is best served with some hot hot rotis.
½ cup yellow split green gram lentils ( yellow moong dal)
½ cup water
4 cups (lightly packed) chopped savaa or fresh dill
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp chilli paste
1 tbsp oil
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp garlic paste or 2 to 3 cloves finely chopped (optional. Avoid if making satvik or Jain version).
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander cumin powder
- Wash and soak the moong dal in the water for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the root tips and chop the dill finely.
- Wash it in a sieve thoroughly to remove any mud.
- Heat oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds.
- When the seeds begin to splutter, add the garlic paste and stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add the chilli and ginger paste. Mix.
- Add asafoetida, turmeric powder and coriander cumin powder.
- Immediately add the soaked lentils along with the water.
- Add salt and mix. Bring the moong dal to a simmer.
- As soon as the moong dal mixture becomes hot, add the chopped and washed dill.
- Mix very well.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid. Let it cook on medium heat for one whistle only.
- Let the steam reduce naturally. Open the cooker and mix savaa ni bhaji.
- Serve with hot rotlis.
- Add one big aubergine finely chopped instead of lentils. Add both the aubergine(eggplant) and chopped dill together.
- Try and chop the stalks finely so it cooks quickly.
- I use both the yellow moong dal and the green one with the skin.
- For a satvik/jain version avoid adding garlic.
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You may want to check out the following recipes where I used dill: