732. Santula – Odia Style Mixed Vegetable Curry
Those Tiny Spices Make All The Difference
It’s really amazing how addition of small amounts of spices can make a dish taste so different. Every Indian household has it own spice (masala) box or dabba (tin) which we use for our everyday cooking. Some spices like turmeric powder and red chili powder will be standard in any spice box. The variations come with the other spices. Don’t get me wrong, all the spices are used all over India but in some cuisine some spices are used in a larger quantity than others. My spice box has the typical spices that will be found in the masala dabba of most Gujaratis. Mustard seeds(rai), Cumin seeds (jeeru), fenugreek seeds (methi), carom seeds (ajmo), turmeric powder (hardar), red chili powder (lal marchu) and coriander cumin powder (dhana jiru). The latter we tend to use in almost all the curry/ shaak dishes we prepare.
Why am I talking about spices? Well, I discovered a whole new combination of flavors when I made Santula for our Sunday dinner. Basically, the vegetables used to make santula can be anything from your commonly available veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, beans, carrots to some uncommon vegetables like broad beans, or what is available in your area. Santula is a healthy full of vegetables curry and so easy to make.
I was talking to my daughter’s best friend who is an Odia about the FoodieMonday/Bloghop’s #122nd theme on Odia Cuisine which was selected by fellow member Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook. I tried my hand at Chenna Poda and asked Nami’s friend to taste it. The taste was bang on but it did not have the burnt sugar taste and also it sank a bit after cooling.
She was kind enough to send other suggestions too. There was Palanga Saga Besara(which I have to try when I get badi), Chakuli Pitha, Dalma and Santula. She makes santula often so I decided to make that after my second attempt at chenna poda didn’t turn out as expected. Second time round got the nice burnt crust but it was a bit dry. However, it disappeared fast into everyone’s tummy. Its one recipe I’ll have to try again to get it perfect.
For Santula I picked vegetables that the sabjiwala brought. I decided to use potato, brinjal, carrot, pumpkin, drumsticks, ash gourd along with tomato and onion. One can add raw banana, raw papaya, flat beans, bottle gourd, ridge gourd etc. This curry was so flavorful though I used small quantities of spices. This curry or stew is super healthy. The secret spice combination is called pancha phutana which literally translates as five spices. Cumin, mustard, fenugreek, aniseeds and nigella (kalonji) are used in equal proportions to make this spice mixture. Did I mention that’s so easy to make this curry. I think it took me longer to peel and cut the pumpkin than it took for the curry to get ready.
So lets get to the simple and yet tasty and healthy recipe.
SANTULA – ODIA STYLE MIXED VEGETABLE CURRY
1 large potato – peel and cut into cubes
1 medium brinjal(eggplant) – cut into cubes
250g (2 cups) pumpkin cubes -peel and cut into cubes
1 medium carrot – peeled and diced
1 drumstick cut into about 2-3″ pieces
100g any gourd of your choice (I used ash gourd)-peel and cut into cubes
I medium onion – peeled and cut into chunks
1-2 green chillis
1-2 dry red chillis
1 large tomato – cut into chunks
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp pancha phutana (equal proportions of aniseed, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, nigella seeds)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-1½ tsp salt
- Prepare the vegetables. Keep them in water till required so that they do not discolor except for the tomatoes, onion, chillis, ginger and garlic.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- As soon as the oil is hot, add the pancha phutana and dry red chillis.
- Add asafetida and the onions.
- Stir fry the onions till they become soft and turn light golden in colour.
- In the meantime drain out the water from the vegetables.
- Add garlic, ginger and green chillis. Mix well.
- Add the vegetables (except for the chopped tomato), turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
- Mix again and add tomatoes. If the mixture is dry add 1-2 cups of water. The amount will depend on how much liquid you want.
- Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook for a further 7-10 minutes.
- By now all the vegetables should be cooked.
- Add cumin powder and mix well.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice, roti or puri.
- If you don’t like mustard oil, use normal vegetable oil or ghee.
- Use vegetables of your choice. The above recipe is just a rough guideline.
- Make sure you cut the vegetables in equal size as much as you can. That ensures equal cooking.
- I used ¼ tsp each of aniseed, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and nigella seeds to get 1 tbsp of pancha phutana.
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