India is a land of color, with diversity being the only common thread apart from passion for food, festivals and celebration. You might call the love for food as the unifying religion of this multi-lingual country. One of the many delectable cuisines in India is the Sindhi cuisine. This refers to the native cuisine of Sindhi people who basically belong to Sindh, now in Pakistan and yet are an integral part of India. As people from all parts of the country enjoy certain dishes from different cuisines across other regions of the nation, here are a few dishes from the Sindhi cuisine which one must try at least once!
10) Kadhi chawal – Although the name sounds familiar to a famous Punjabi and North Indian cuisine, the Sindhi Kadhi is very different from the one prepared in Punjabi cuisine. Sindhi kadhi is a combination of vegetables like drumsticks, tomatoes, potatoes and cluster beans sautéed with gram flour and seasonings like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, grated ginger, asafetida, turmeric and chili powder. This is generally eaten with rice. In addition to being diet friendly, this is one popular replacement of the usual, boring Dal which is the most common curry all over India.
9) Sai Bhaaji – This is one genius way of feeding your kids with the ever important spinach. This curry-vegetable is made of split Bengal gram and has the healthy nutrients of spinach, potato, cauliflower, carrot and tomato. Cooked with garlic, cumin seeds, ginger and onion, this dish is best served with hot chapatis (flat-breads). It is garnished with red chilies, diced tomatoes and lemon to add a tinge of extra flavor. Even though it bears a striking resemblance to a dish of Maharashtrian Cuisine, this Sindhi dish makes its mark by all the healthy vegetables in it which are missing from the Maharashtrian dish.
8) Seyal Mani – Rotis left over from the previous meal, what do you do? Feed it to the birds? Sindhis do it the other way. They turn it into a tasty and simple dish perfect to start your day with. The basic condiments are sautéed like garlic, curry seeds, mustard seeds and grated tomatoes, chilies, turmeric and coriander powder is added. When this is perfectly cooked, water is added to the pan and the pieces of roti, torn into small pieces, are added to it and heated till cooked. This is probably an innovative way to use the leftover rotis and make a native pasta with the garnish you like including coriander leaves and lemon.
7) Dal pakwan – Diet experts say that having fattening food in breakfast is not as harmful and also that you must eat your breakfast like a king. Well, the Sindhi cuisine takes care of this! This extremely delicious breakfast dish is tasty, filling and irresistible all at the same time. It comprises of sindhi pakwan – crisp fried breads spiced with cumin, carom and black pepper. The pakwan is made of a mixture of maida and wheat flour, kneaded into a dough, rolled and deep fried. This is combined with a spicy chana dal or Bengal gram and garnished with chopped onions and green chutney. Nobody wants to miss breakfast now, even if they are late!
6) Aloo tuk – It is time for the boring French fries to go out of business. We have our native Indian potato snack! Peeled potatoes are cut into thick rounds or vertical wedges, rubbed with salt and fried till they become a little tender. The pieces are then removed from the oil, flattened with the back of a ladle or a spoon and fried again. They are then spiced up with red chili powder, salt, coriander powder, cumin powder and dried mango powder. Not only do these act as wonderful snacks and side dish, but are immensely tasty due to the salt that seeps inside each piece with double frying. No need to stand in McDonalds queue and guess how happy your mother is with such a homely child?
5) Kamal Kakdi ki sabzi – This vegetable made out of lotus stem is like the epitome of Sindhi cuisine. In many parts of the country, a Sindhi locality is identified by innumerable vegetable stalls selling this vegetable. The lotus stem is cut into pieces and boiled in water with salt and turmeric powder. A curry of onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and dry condiments is prepared and the boiled pieces with potato is added. The dish is prepared in ghee and with all those condiments, it surely is one favorite main course dish. It is teamed with rice or roti.
4) Bhugal Teewarn – Teewarn is a mouthwatering Non-vegetarian Sindhi dish. Made of mutton chops, this dish is a favorite of all the non-vegetarians with its spicy flavor and the tender mutton. A paste of ginger, garlic, fried chopped onions, green chilies, cumin seeds, black cardamom and bay leaves is prepared and sautéed till golden brown. The mutton chops are added to this mixture along with tomatoes, red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Then, curd is added and mixed well. It is cooked till mutton is soft and tender. Non vegetarians would not look for a roti or rice accompaniment with this dish!
3) Lolo – Sindhi lolo is a sweet preparation made from whole-wheat flour, sugar and jaggery syrup. It is generally prepared during festivals. Sugar, jaggery or a mixture of both is boiled in water along with cardamom till the syrup is dark brownish in color and of medium consistency. It is then cooled and strained. The wheat flour is then mixed with oil and the syrup is poured part by part to knead a dough out of it. The hard kneaded dough is rolled and tossed in oil till small brown patches appear on both sides. This is best served with curd or onion pickle.
2) Thadal – With all the summer heat and busy days, this is one healthy replacement for aerated drinks. The ingredients like almonds, watermelon
seeds, poppy seeds, cardamom, black pepper and dried
rose petals are soaked in water for 2-3 hours. They are then grinded into a paste, added to water, milk, sugar solution and rose water and stirred vigorously. The drink is then cooled before serving. A great respite from the heat!
1) Khirni – This extremely famous and loved dessert is one more thing we should be grateful to Sindhis for. It is made by cooking vermicelli in milk. The broken vermicelli is stir fried in ghee till golden brown. The milk is then boiled with fried vermicelli, cardamom, soaked saffron till the milk reduces to half of its quantity. Then sugar is added to it and stirred till it dissolves. Later, dry fruits and nuts are added to it. It can be eaten hot or cold. People prefer to vary the sugar content as per their taste and some even skip the nuts completely. This is one dessert that pushes your diet regime far away and with no guilt!
So try these dishes, spice them up your way, or for a change bring in a different taste to the dining table tonight. Undoubtedly, your family would love these tasty experiments with food. Let us know your suggestions on the same in the comments section. Happy and healthy eating!