Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Crowded vegetables - Gajbaje


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

Serves 4-5.


5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice

I used:
1 corn cob (I did not count it in the 5 cups.)
1 small sweet potato
¼th of the butternut squash in the picture
1 drumstick
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.


Cooked vegetables

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.


Ashwini said...

Oooh you have set a mouth watering :-) My mama used to tease the women during Ganpati - Gajbaj in the kitchen (all the chatting and gossiping) and gajbaje on the plate :-D

Anonymous said...

Yummy!Method is similar to khatachi bhaje,but the vegetables are different.Would like to try this recipe sometime.

Anonymous said...

Hey Vaishali,
Very nice recipe. I have so many veggies sitting in my fridge for long time. Nice way to use them. Using your cabbage bhaji recipe I too have made toast last weekend , it was a hit. Thanks for the recipe. I have a pic of it on my blog. Do check...

Shammi said...

Wow! It's almost TOO healthy. Quick, somebody give me something fried!

Only kidding... :D Sounds yummy! I havent tried cooking butternut squash because of the thick skin. I KNOW I'll do myself an injury if I try to cut it. How do you handle it, Vaish? (D'you ask your husband to cut it? Perhaps I should!) :)

indianadoc said...

hmm...healthy combo...definitely...!so lot of 'gajbaj' there in u'r kithen!!

Sumitha said...

Very nice recipe Vaish!Especially since it has coconut too,you know how Keralites love their coconut!I have to try it with the veggies that I have:)

Krithika said...

What a healthy recipe ! Thanks for sharing this.

Luv2cook said...

Hey Vaishali:

This looks so good and healthy. Loaded with so many veggies! Will definitely try it :).

Priya said...

Hi Vaishali,
The Gajbaje looks yummy...I have arnd 4 packets of mixed veg in my freezer shouting alond to be cooked and some fresh corn too...I'm going to try this for dinner. Thank you :-)

Anonymous said...

I never liked this growing up...Always a lit too healthy for my taste, I guess...But I find myself making it often these days...reminds me of home...I add corn on the Cob, too. It is the only part that I ate growing up and its the only part my son eats now...Seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree....

Anonymous said...

Gajbaje what a cute name..

Vaishali said...

Hahaha...That was funny what your mum used to say, Ashwini.

Which veggies are used for khatachi bhaje, Anonymous? I'd like to know about this preparation.

Thanks for the mention at your blog, Madhu. Very nice of you.

You made me chuckle with your comment, Shammi.
Btw, I risk my own life while cutting butternut squash. But you have just given me a better idea. Hubby dear, where are you....? :) :)

Oh yes, there is indeed a lot of gajbaj in my kitchen these days, Shaynee. My parents-in-law have come to visit us. :)

Sumitha, I must have been a Keralite in my last birth then. I just love coconut. :) (Although I avoid it because of the fat content.)

Thanks for stopping by, Krithika and L2C.

Do let me know how it turned out in your kitchen, Priya.

Thanks for sharing that, Vee. I appreciate it. :)

It is indeed a cute name, Eve.

Anonymous said...

Vaishali, We have a very different way of making Gajbaje. One of my readers had sent me the recipe you mentioned and had asked me to post it. But since I never got all the required veggies here, I could not post it. Now I guess I can give a link to your post whenever I post our Gajbaje recipe. We use only 3-4 types of veggies and use teppal/tirphal in this. I saw my pachi (a Deshpande) using corn in gajbae during ganesh festival at her place. So I wish to use corn the next time I prepare this dish.

Neelu said...

Lovely Recipe !
Will definitely Try, multi colored veggies do spice up the meal isnt it ?

Vineela said...

Hi Vaishali,
Gajbhaje looks yummy.
Iam havind radish in my fridge let me try thi sone.
Thanks for sharing.

Menu Today said...

Hi Vaishali,
Excellent recipe. Will try it out soon. Thanx for sharing.

Nandan said...

Great to see gajbaje here. At my mom's place they call it 'Rushichi bhaaji' as opposed to khatakhate at my dad's side. Recipe is much the same, but carrot is absent. This one was a good change of taste for me between the generous helpings of modaks. :)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

yummy! and so healthy. looks great. hope you'll be joining my Blogger Postcards from the World game!

Anonymous said...

vaishali, so many veggies in one, gajbaje sounds very appealing and would love to try this asap. do you think addition of peas and aloo makes it even more interesting .....?

Anonymous said...

Yum! I love the photo of the corn in the pot!


Vaishali said...

Shilpa, Gajbaje with teppal? Interesting. Will look forward to your post on it. And your Pachi is a Deshpande? I am sure she is sweet. Deshpandes are meant to be that, you know. :) ;-) ;-)

Neelu, I just love looking at vegetables with all those lovely natural colours. It is one of my happiest moments, when I am at a vegetable market/Mandai.

Vineela, do let me know once you try it out. You will like it, I am sure.

Thanks, Menu Today.

Nandan, I know 'Rushichi Bhaji'. It is almost like Gajbaje. Only that Alu/colocassia leaves tied in knots are also added to it. Am I right? Btw, you shouldn't have mentioned 'Modak's. I had to wipe my keyboard after I read your comment. :) :)

That's a great idea that you have come up with, Meeta.

Lera, peas and potatoes? I have never tried adding those. But you know what? Any vegetable gets accomodated in this preparation. Just go ahead and try it. :)

Paz, you'd love to eat the cooked corn in the pot even more. :)

Anupama said...

I like the dish and the name too. Gajbaje says it all. I'll probably have it at your place whenever i come to germany. The best thing about cooking is to have someone else do it for you.

India Bite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
India Bite said...

Can you post our recipes website link on your blog i.e.

Kanika said...

This recipe is like a South Indian recipe. Thanks for sharing this Yummy! recipe.

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