A Celebration of Winter Vegetables

Growing up, I have fond memories of my mom preparing a special dish, the Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji, a winter vegetable curry, on the day before Sankrant. I used to love it because it’s made with a variety of winter vegetables like baby eggplants, carrots, potatoes, green peas, green pigeon peas, field or broad beans, etc., all of which are my favorite veggies. Fast forward to now, I enjoy making this traditional and rustic vegetable curry not only on the occasion of Bhogi, the day before Makar Sankranti but also at other times whenever I find these vegetables at the store or simply when I feel like having it! It’s super healthy and hearty, and I love to enjoy it with the classic accompaniment, Bajrichi Bhakri (unleavened flatbread made from pearl millet flour). It tastes equally good with Jwarichi Bhakri (Jowar or Sorghum flatbread).

Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji 

The Harvest Festival in India 

As the new calendar year begins, families across India prepare to celebrate the very first Indian holiday of the year, the harvest festival of Makar Sankranti, known as Uttarayan in the north, Pongal in the south, and Poush Sankranti in the eastern parts of the country. This is the first Hindu festival of the year, celebrated on January 14th (or 15th in leap years), and it stands out as it follows the solar calendar, unlike most other festivals, which follow the lunar calendar.

Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji 

Bhogi, the Day before Sankranti

On the 13th of January, the day before Makar Sankranti, Lohri is celebrated in the north, while in Maharashtra and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, it is known as Bhogi. Lohri/Bhogi, along with Sankranti/Uttarayan/Pongal, are traditional festivals celebrated to mark the end of the winter season and the transition of the sun into the northern hemisphere as well as its shift into the Capricorn zodiac sign. The Bhogi festivities in Maharashtra, similar to Lohri celebrations in the north, include a bonfire that is symbolic of discarding the old (things and also thoughts!) and making space for the new.

Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji 

Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji 

Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji, the traditional curry made with winter vegetables, is an integral part of the Bhogi festivities in Maharashtra, my home state, and is a celebration of the season’s bounty. It’s a simple yet flavorful dish, packed with essential nutrients and vitamins from a variety of vegetables. It’s spiced with the classic Maharashtrian Kala/Goda Masala, sweetened with jaggery, and enriched with crushed roasted peanuts and sesame seeds. This hearty stew offers a warm and comforting experience, especially on cold winter days. Traditionally, it is served with bajrichi bhakri, but it also pairs very well with steamed rice, whole wheat phulka rotis, or chapatis.I have outlined step-by-step details below that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji 
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Maharashtrian Bhogichi Bhaji 


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 1x

Description

An easy recipe for the rustic Indian winter vegetables curry, that is an integral part of the Sankranti festivities.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 34 baby Indian eggplants, stem discarded and quartered lengthwise (see Notes)
  • 23 baby Yukon gold potatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 12 medium carrots, peeled and cut at an angle into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen thawed
  • 1/2 cup Surti papdi (also known as Valor beans or the Indian field or broad beans in pods), (available in the frozen section of Indian stores)
  • 1/2 cup tuvar lilva (shelled pigeon peas), (available in the frozen section of Indian stores)

For the Curry

  • 2 tbsp neutral oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp Maharashtrian Kala/ Goda masala (homemade or store-bought) (see Notes)
  • 1 tbsp powdered jaggery or coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp til chutney (see Notes)
  • 2 tbsp crushed roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 45 sprigs of cilantro/coriander, roughly chopped, for garnishing
  • grated coconut, fresh or frozen thawed, for garnishing

For Serving

  • Bajra Roti, optional (available in the frozen section of Indian stores)
  • Til chutney, optional (see Notes)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a kadhai or a pot over medium heat. Add in mustard seeds along with turmeric and asafoetida.
  • Once the seeds sizzle and the turmeric starts frothing, add all the veggies. Make sure the vegetables you’re using are chopped in the same or similar sizes.
  • Season with salt, powdered jaggery and kala/goda masala.
  • Stir to combine and then add the til chutney and crushed peanuts.
  • Stir to combine and then add the water.
  • Cover with a lid and bring it to a boil.
  • Once it comes to a boil, in about 5 minutes, lower the heat and simmer uncovered.
  • In about 15-20 minutes, the vegetables would have absorbed all the moisture.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander, grated coconut and serve hot on the side of bajra rotis and til chutney.

Keywords: Maharashtrian Recipes, Family Recipes, Healthy Recipes

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Heat the oil in a kadhai or a pot over medium heat. Add in mustard seeds along with turmeric and asafoetida.

Step: 2

Once the seeds sizzle and the turmeric starts frothing, add all the veggies. Make sure the vegetables you’re using are chopped in the same or similar sizes.

Step: 3

Season with salt, powdered jaggery and kala/goda masala.

Step: 4

Stir to combine and then add the til chutney and crushed peanuts.

Step: 5

Stir to combine and then add the water.

Step: 6

Cover with a lid and bring it to a boil.

Step: 7

Once it comes to a boil, in about 5 minutes, lower the heat and simmer uncovered.

Step: 8

In about 15-20 minutes, the vegetables would have absorbed all the moisture. Turn the heat off. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander, grated coconut and serve hot on the side of bajra rotis and til chutney.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Can't find Maharashtrian Goda/Kala Masala?

If you can’t find Maharashtrian Goda/Kala Masala, use 2 tsp Garam Masala + 1 tsp of desiccated coconut or crushed unsweetened coconut flakes

Can't find Indian baby eggplants?

If you can’t find Indian baby eggplants, you can use Thai green baby eggplants. You can also use large cubes of American or Italian eggplant in place of baby eggplant.

Can't find Til Chutney?

Til Chutney is available in Indian stores. If you can’t find it, you can use 2 tsp crushed sesame seeds + 1 tsp regular Indian red chili powder.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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