Gajbaje served on a bed of rice
This dish makes a regular appearance in my in-laws' family on the day before Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a tradition to prepare it as a part of the lavish spread for lunch that day. And the lunch consists of some twenty odd items. All delicious no end rather but time-consuming. However, when all women in the family sit together and work while chatting, all that work does not seem as tedious as it would otherwise.
I made this dish the other day for no special occasion as such. Perhaps the only reason being that summer means a lot of fresh vegetables in the markets/superstores here. Especially when I saw fresh corn-cobs (well, they are actually being sold to be grilled), I knew that I had to make Gajbaje. It's not necessary to use corn-cobs in this dish. For that matter, any and every vegetable from Arvi to Zucchini can be used in it. My mother-in-law often reminds me, when we speak about this dish, that she has made it once with 27 vegetables. (By the way, my MIL has a tendency to add or to subtract as per convenience. Like this dish was made with 14 vegetables when I heard first about it about five years back. :)) However, ever since I have eaten Gajbaje with corn-cobs at our friend-cum-relative, S. Akka's place, I always make it a point to use them in it. What I used apart from corn on the cob is this.
Clockwise from left: corn on the cob, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, butternut squash, drumsticks, sweet potato
Recipe for Gajbaje
5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice
1 corn cob (I did not count it in the 5 cups.)
1 small sweet potato
¼th of the butternut squash in the picture
¼th of the bottle gourd in the picture
1 ridge gourd
salt to taste
For the paste:
1 cup grated coconut
1 heaped tbsp tamarind soaked in water (or 1 tsp tamarind concentrate dissolved in some water)
5-6 red chillis, roasted in ½ tsp oil
For the Tadka:
2 tsp oil
½ heaped tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
Clockwise from bottom left: tamarind, roasted red chillis, coconut, paste made with these ingredients
1. Wash, peel (where necessary) and cut the vegetables that you are using in bite-sized pieces. Boil just enough water and cook the pieces in it until tender. Please make sure that you add the harder vegetables first and the quick-cooking ones towards the end. I put the vegetables that I used in the same order as they are listed above.
2. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the paste. For this, if using tamarind soaked in water, squeeze out the water from the tamarind, making sure that there are no traces of tamarind shell or seed in the water.
3. Grind the grated coconut with roasted red chillis and tamarind water to a smooth paste like in one of the earlier pictures. Add some more water, if necessary.
4. If the vegetables are cooked by now, add salt and stir. Add the paste, stir and bring the curry to a boil.
5. Boil it on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off.
6. Heat oil in a ladle for Tadka. Add mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add curry leaves. Once all mustard seeds have spluttered, add the Tadka to the vegetables.
7. Cover the pan and let the flavours blend well for some time.
Serve warm with rice and dal or with chapatis.
Loaded with so many vegetables, this post needs to be sent to Cate for her event, ARF/5-a-day Tuesday.
And hey, check out this link for a similar yet different curry.