732. Santula – Odia Style Mixed Vegetable Curry

December 11, 2017mayurisjikoni
Blog post

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.


Panch Phutana




Serves 4-6

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

¼  tsp asafetida (hing)
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp cumin powder
water as required
  1. Prepare the vegetables. Keep them in water till required so that they do not discolor except for the tomatoes, onion, chillis, ginger and garlic.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. As soon as the oil is hot, add the pancha phutana and dry red chillis.
  4. Add asafetida and the onions.
  5. Stir fry the onions till they become soft and turn light golden in colour.
  6. In the meantime drain out the water from the vegetables.
  7. Add garlic, ginger and green chillis. Mix well.
  8. Add the vegetables (except for the chopped tomato), turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  10. 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.
  11. Cover the pan and let the vegetables cook for a further 7-10 minutes.
  12. By now all the vegetables should be cooked.
  13. Add cumin powder and mix well.
  14. 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.
You may want to check out other vegetable curries/stews:
Sai Bhaji – Sindhi Cuisine


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  • Priya Iyer

    December 11, 2017 at 10:17 am

    So simple, yet so hearty and fulfilling! 🙂

  • Poonam Bachhav

    December 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    I have recently started using mustard oil in my day to day cooking as my family has started accepting it's strong flavors. This mixed vegetable curry inmustard oil and with pancha photana looks so flavorful di..gonna try this soon

  • Pavani N

    December 14, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    That curry looks so hearty, colorful and delicious.

  • seema doraiswamy

    December 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Thats such a cool'.. loved this recipe.

  • Jagruti Dhanecha

    December 15, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    We love panch phoran flavours in our cooking, and this sabji looks delicious and interesting, definitely going try this recipe.

  • Ruchi's Veg Kitchen

    December 16, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Wow curry sounds so flavourful.. delicious

  • jayashree

    December 16, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Love this one, looms flavourful. Shall soon give a try to this, thanks for sharing.


    December 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I love this bhaji. Now I have another recipe to try. 😊

  • Saswati Hota

    December 17, 2017 at 4:09 am

    Santula is a everyday healthy dish in all Odia households and is close to all Odia hearts….yours looks perfect👍🏻

  • Sujata Roy

    December 17, 2017 at 5:07 am

    This looks delicious Mayuri. So vibrant colour. Healthy and yummy dish from Odisha cuisine. Perfect for this season.

  • Priya Suresh

    December 17, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Lovely medley of delicious Santula, such a flavourful dish.

  • Sapana Behl

    December 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    The panch phoran can lake any simple curry taste exotic. This one looks delicious too.

  • krispykadhai

    December 19, 2017 at 11:19 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • krispykadhai

    December 19, 2017 at 11:23 am

    so simple yet delish

  • krispykadhai

    December 19, 2017 at 11:24 am

    So simple yet flavorful

  • Preethi Prasad

    January 7, 2018 at 7:05 am

    Love odiya cusine for its simple and flavourful recipes.Fantastic share.

  • Aruna

    January 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    It is indeed a blessing to have friends and family who can help you with authentic recipes. I am a great fan of Panch Phoron and agree wi5 you completely that a few spices can impart a flavour that is quite unique.

    I love to make vegetable medlies and this one goes onto my to-do list. 🙂

  • Masala Chilli

    February 2, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Loads of vegetables, use of paanch phutana & mild spices sounds like just the kind of meal I love having every day. Great share.

  • Mallika Bhandary

    February 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Vibrant, flavorful and I am sure, very delicious with ghee-smeared rotis!

  • firsttimercook

    February 17, 2018 at 10:50 am

    One of the most healthy food !!

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