August 30, 2008

Sai Bhaji: a Sindhi staple


I spent a few weeks in Mumbai this summer and had a great time eating out - brunch at Basilico (Colaba), lunch at Samovar, late-night (2 a.m.!) dinner at Zaffran, and many others. But the two best meals I had were at a friend's home where his mom had prepared a number of delicious Sindhi dishes. And I ended up liking one particular dish so much - Sai Bhaji, a hearty dish of greens, vegetables, and some lentils - that aunty very kindly included it in the menu the next time I showed up for lunch! I got the recipe from her, promising to try it out and report the results on Ahaar.

A big "thank you!'" to aunty! - it turned out very well and I'm sure we'll make this again sometime soon!

1 bunch swiss chard (or spinach)
1 small onion
1-inch piece of ginger (grated)
6 cloves of garlic (3 cloves grated and 3 cloves finely cut for frying for garnish)
4 tbsp chana dal
1 brinjal
2 carrots
2 tomatoes
1/2 butternut squash (instead of white pumpkin that aunty used)
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 tbspoon oil

In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tspoon oil and saute grated ginger, garlic and the chopped onion. To this, add 4 tbspoons of chana dal that has been soaked for about 2 hours. Then add the pieces of butternut squash, brinjal, and carrots along with turmeric powder, and chilli powder. Cook it for 2-3 minutes.


Then on top of this, add the chopped swiss chard/spinach. Mix it together with the rest of the vegetables and finally, place halves of 2 tomatoes on top of the mixture and pressure cook (1 whistle).

Add salt and whisk together (it is important to not mash everything - whisk lightly). At the end, saute a few pieces of garlic until they turn brown and use this as garnish.


Serve with hot rice.


  1. Hi, We love Sai Bhajji too. Looks Good

  2. Ooh this looks good, simple yet I am sure delicious. I have got to try this when I get a bunch of chard.

  3. Looks like u had a good time in Bombay and brought home some keeper recipes.

  4. Hi Mandira! I came by to tell you I used your panch phoron for tomato chutney -- it was so flavorful! Thanks again for that :) This is the perfect recipe for me to use up some chard and other garden veggies -- I have a brinjal and tomatoes -- it looks wonderful! What a great lunch to pack for work this week.

    I have to catch up and see what else you did this summer! :)

  5. Something new and looks gr8.

  6. A Sindhi friend had taught me this ... have loved it ever since.Am making it tonight ... the palak is soaking :-) I had forgotten the name though.What a nice coincidence that I came here now :-)

  7. I've bookmarked this. Gosh it sounds and looks so delicious. I love the idea of the fried garlic to garnish, I know that that adds to the experience just from the aroma alone.

  8. I've blogged this before and this is indeed a hearty, healthy meal!

  9. I love the simplicity of this dish! There are only two masalas in it and garlic? Fantastic. Thank you aunty indeed!

  10. This looks so healthy, and I would love to eat it with some spinach! I am bookmarking :)



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