Here's how Undhiyu, the favorite dish during Uttarayan, used to be traditionally prepared
For Gujaratis, Uttarayan is a day spent on terraces with friends and family, flying kites, enjoying music, and embracing the end of the winter season. However, like any festival, this celebration is not truly complete without the essential element of food, and for all of us, Uttarayan signifies one particular dish – Undhiyu!
Undhiyu, a staple winter delicacy in Gujarat, boasts the rich and vibrant flavors of seasonal vegetables. This culinary masterpiece consists of a combination of root vegetables like surti papdi, yam, and purple yam, complemented by fenugreek dumplings known as muthiya. The entire ensemble is seasoned with a fragrant blend of spices, creating a symphony of tastes. Pairing Undhiyu with piping hot puris elevates the culinary experience to nothing short of heavenly!
The traditional Undhiyu-making process
Although the advent of gas stoves has introduced a more modern approach to cooking Undhiyu in many households, the traditional method is nothing short of fascinating. The dish gets its name from the special cooking method. In Gujarati, 'undhu' means 'upside-down,' and it's probably named that way because it was cooked in an upside-down mud pot.
In the traditional method, chunks of seasonal vegetables and a carefully crafted masala mix were placed in an earthenware pot without any water. The pot was then coated with mud, buried upside-down in a pit, and covered with a layer of lit charcoal from above. The vegetable mix was left to cook in its own juices for an extended period, typically three to four hours.
Today, variations of this mixed vegetable dish can be found across the state, each reflecting the availability of local vegetables and unique taste preferences. While the ingredients and flavors may differ, the unwavering love of Gujaratis for Undhiyu remains constant.