Shepu ani moogachi chi Bhaji
My very first memory of eating this dish goes back to when I was in primary school. Back home from a busy day at school , I barely used to manage to wash my hands before running into the kitchen demanding a snack. Aai had cooked up this then strange looking green leafy vegetable with an aroma that was new to me, but it was served with a freshly made Jowar Bhakri, which I absolutely love. I guess it was love at first bite.
Simple, homely, delicious
This bhaji (Marathi for sabzi) is a very traditional dish, part of the Maharashtrian cuisine. Shepu (Marathi for Dill) leaves are known for the string flavour and certain foods, this leafy vegetable can evoke strong emotions. I belong to the camp of people that love this dish.
Traditional cuisine from Maharashtra
Dill and Yellow Moong Dal bhaji – (Shepu ani moogachi Bhaji)
- 1 I bunch Shepu / Dill leaves
- 3/4 cup Split Yellow Moong daal without skin
- 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
- 1 small pinch Hing/Asafoetida)
- ½ tsp Mohri/Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp Jeere/ Cumin
- 3 – 4 Kadipatta/ Curry leaves
- 3 cloves Lasun / Garlic with skin on
- 1 Thumb sized piece Fresh Ale/ Ginger – smashed with a khalbatta – Mortar Pestle
- ½ Kanda/Red onion finely chopped
- 2 tsp Hirvi Mirchi/ Green Chilli and Kothimbi/ Coriander leaves paste
- 1 tsp Laal Tikhat/ Red Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Halad/ Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp Goda Masala
- 1.5 heaped tsp freshly grated khobra /Coconut
- Wash the moong daal and soak it in hot water for a while – until you find the daal begins to soften , ensure it doesn’t totally get soft
- Meanwhile wash and roughly chop the shepu/Dill leaves and tender stalks – and drain onto a tea towel
- In a pan gently roast half the chopped onion and the grated coconut, do not allow the mix to to burn – remove from pan and set aside on a ceramic plate to cool
- In the same pan heat the oil and prepare the phodni/tadka – when the oil heats add the mustard seeds and cumin, when they start to sputter add the garlic cloves and ginger , stir till the garlic begins caramelise
- Meanwhile remove the daal from the water , drain the water through a colander and pat dry
- Then add the remaining onion and the moong daal, allow the daal to almost fry but not quite
- Add the goda masala and cook for about a minute , allowing the goda masala to coat the onion and daal thoroughly
- Add the green masala, red chilli powder, turmeric, then add the shepu and stir for a while
- Add the roasted onion and grated coconut mixture, and allow to cook on a low flame.
- The shepu shouldn’t totally go soft and limp, that means it has overcooked. The daal should be cooked like pasta – al-dente – that means you have got the texture just right. Serve hot with a freshly made Jowar or Bajra Bhakri and some chopped onion.
Memories of going to small villages in the interior of Maharashtra years ago, enjoying a hot bhakri made over a stove with a spicy bhaji like this in dim lighting and really enjoying everything that the place has to offer. These and other memories come rushing back to me when I make such recipes. After all, what is cooking traditional dishes, if not a journey to some part of our life, even if it may seem like a whole lifetime away?
Explore more recipes from Maharashtra, India:
- CKP King Fish curry – सुरमाई चे कालवण
- Valache Birdhe – C.K.P style recipe -वालाचे बिरडे
- Konkani Pompfret Fish Curry पापलेटचं कलवण
- Prawn Khichadi – कोळंबीची खिचडी
Have you tried any of my recipes? Do let me know in comments, share your photos on social media with me with the hashtag:
I love reading your comments and seeing your photos! Stay Safe and Stay home during this lockdown.