Thursday, 12 April 2012

Gujarati dinner - shak, rice, kadhi

At the weekend, I had a bit of a craving for kadhi, which is a Gujarati spiced yoghurt soup.  It is warming and comforting and tasty.  Since it isn't really a meal on its own, I made some shak and rice to go with it too

Shak, rice and kadhi
 In Gujarati, there is no word for "curry". You would use exactly the same word to refer to "vegetables" in the generic sense as you would for "curry" - there is no other way of eating vegetables. The word in question is "shak" which I find easier to use in this context. Shak is not vegetables in a sauce, shak is not any one particular dish, shak is just what happens when you do some stuff to some vegetables.

Basic Gujarati recipe - you alter this depending on what you're cooking, e.g. spinach and chickpeas both need more tumeric than most veg -

Heat up 2-3 tablespoons of oil with some mustard seeds and cumin seeds - about a heaped teaspoon of each
When they start popping, put in your veg.
Let it cook
Add some tomatoes if you want and/or some water if it's a bit dry
Spice with 3-4 teaspoons of ground cumin/coriander mix (I've tried to do this with the two individual spices but it never tastes right), a 1/4 teaspoon ot tumeric and red chilli powder/fresh chillis to taste.
Optional: garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, lemon juice, sugar. Garlic and fresh coriander should go in at the last minute though to avoid losing the flavour during cooking.

I made aubergine and pea shak, which was pretty tasty.  Lots of garlic!

Just  shak
 The kadhi turned out pretty good, though it was a bit spicy for my long suffering husband!


Mix a cup of yoghurt and a cup of water together, mix in a couple of tablespoons of gram flour, bring it to a boil.  In a separate pan, heat some mustard seeds and cumin seeds with some oil.  When it starts popping, pour it into the yoghurt mixture.   Add ginger, chilli, salt to the mixture and a small amount of sugar.  Fresh coriander on top is tasty.  But that applies to anything!

Basically, the only way to go wrong is to let it split, which will only happen if you don't stir it enough.  If it somehow splits on you anyway, you can sometimes ressurect it by liquidising it, though that is not recommended a) because it doesn't always work and b) because it means you have to wash up the liquidiser!

Just kadhi
On lazy Sundays, I buy lots of fresh ginger and chillis, whiz them in the food processor and freeze them in ice cube trays, which really speeds up recipes of this sort.

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