Bhogichi Bhaji is a traditional Maharashtrian curry that celebrates the seasonal bounty of winter vegetables along with healthy and aromatic sauce made from coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds.
I love to celebrate holidays! I love to think and reflect back on memories of my childhood when my mom’s energy and enthusiasm filled our home with excitement and happiness! She would make some special dishes, desserts and we always had family and friends to share and enjoy with. Now, I love to take time for my family for every festival and make sure we do something special. We talk about the festival and why it is celebrated. And of course, it always includes the traditional dishes and sweets we savor together as a family.
Makar Sankrant Festival
Today, we celebrate the first of the three day celebration of Makar Sankrant. In India, Makar Sankrant symbolizes the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of the harvest season. Some states celebrate this festival for up to four days. In Maharashtra, where I come from, this festival is celebrated for three days. On the first day which is ‘Bhogi‘, we make this special dish that celebrates the seasonal bounty of winter vegetables along with coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds. It provides the much needed energy and nourishment to the body during winters.
This super healthy dish consisting of five different winter vegetables is a heritage recipe passed over generations and is an integral part of this festive celebration. Today I am sharing my grandma’s recipe that uses carrots, fresh green chickpeas, flat green beans, baby eggplant and tomatoes. You can always substitute with any seasonal winter vegetables. I like it with multi-grain or millet bread topped with sesame seeds.
Here are the vegetables I traditionally use. The sauce is so yummy that it also tastes great with other vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower or string beans.
I usually prepare the flat green green beans and peel the fresh chickpeas out of the pods few days before:
Once the vegetables are ready, prepare the spice paste and then cook the vegetables in it. Your kitchen soon will be filled with a beautiful aroma of bhogichi bhaji.
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- Part 1:
- 1/2 cup fresh green chickpeas removed from the pods
- 1 cup flat green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
- 6 baby eggplant cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tomato chopped fine
- 2 small carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
- 1 tbsp red chili powder
- salt to taste
- cilantro for garnish
- Part 2:
- 1 tbsp roasted dry coconut
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
- 6 garlic cloves
- Make fine paste of all the ingredients from Part 2 with 2 tbsp of water.
- Heat oil in a medium pan. Add the spice paste to the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Add turmeric, red chili powder, cumin and coriander powder and mix well.
- Add all cut vegetables and mix well. Add salt and 1 cup water. Once the water starts to bubble up, cover the pan and cook on medium low heat until all the vegetables are cooked tender. Usually takes around 10 minutes. Turn the heat off.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm Roti topped with sesame seeds. Tastes divine without any bread too!
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