Gajbaje, Mixed Vegetable in Coconut Curry
by Tarla Dalal
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A delicacy from Konkan cuisine, Gajbaje is a dish of mixed vegetables in a spicy coconut curry. The dish is quite easy to prepare – veggies are cooked till soft and then flavoured with a peppy coconut paste and finally topped with a traditional tempering, which instantly boosts the flavour and aroma of the dish.
The coconut paste has a self-contained flavour, with the spiciness of red chillies and the tanginess of tamarind. Together with the tempering, this paste gives the assortment of veggies a totally fabulous taste! Some communities of the Konkan belt make this traditional delicacy on Aashad Ekadasi day, using a unique mix of veggies like amaranth stem, taro leaves, bamboo shoots and jackfruit seeds.
It is believed that during their sojourn in the forest, one of the Pandavas, Bheema made this dish on Ekadasi day using the ingredients available in the wilderness they were residing in. Nevertheless, you can feel free to just open your fridge and use whatever veggies you find in it!
- Combine the coconut, red chillies, tamarind pulp with ¼ cup of water in a mixer and blend to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
- Combine the sweet potato, potato, red pumpkin and sweet corn along with 2½ cups of water in a deep non-stick pan, mix well, cover it with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 12 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
- Add the prepared coconut paste, turmeric powder and salt with ¼ cup of water, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Keep aside.
- For the tempering, heat the oil in a small non-stick pan, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and sauté on a medium flame for 30 seconds.
- Pour this tempering over the prepared vegetable curry and mix well.
- Serve hot.
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