Back in Mumbai, the company I worked for did not boast of a cafeteria, so all of us would either bring lunch packed from home, walk over to the nearest restaurant or ask for food to be delivered to the office.
Lunch time was a noisy, boisterous affair and a bunch of us would get together every day with our dabba (lunch box) to unwind, gossip and share some good homemade food.
Since I had colleagues from all over the country, the dabbas would be filled with all sorts of delicious dishes from different parts of the country: a great way to learn about and taste the gastronomic diversity of my country
One of the colleagues I used to lunch with, was from the princely state of Rajasthan. His wife was a fantastic cook and she would fill his dabba with some of the most scrumptuous vegetarian fare I’ve ever eaten.
My favorite among these was a sensational curry called Gatte ki Sabzi, the star attraction of this post. A curry sans meat or vegetables. Yes, you read that right! It is a curry of chickpeas flour dumpling cooked in a yogurt gravy, though that description does nothing to convey the rustic beauty of this dish.
A large part of Rajasthan is sandy desert. Hence it is difficult to procure fresh vegetables all the time. The cuisine reflects this and accordingly chickpeas flour, wheat flour, lentils and milk products are predominantly used.
But there is never any compromise on the taste; it is the land of royalty after all. So the humble chickpeas flour and yogurt become the starring ingredients in this beautiful dish.
Oh, how I was crazy about this curry! My colleague used to love south Indian food a lot and on some days, the stars would align perfectly: I would bring soft fluffy Idli and Coconut Chutney and he would bring Gatte ki Subzi. We would simply exchange our dabbas and tuck in, making mmmmmm… noises 😀
This dish is quite easy to make. Chickpeas flour mixed with spices and yogurt is formed into rolls, which are boiled in water and then cut into bite-sized pieces, called gatta. These gattas are then cooked in a delicately spiced yogurt gravy.
Simple ingredients, yet the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. Utterly delicious and quite healthy too with all the protein from the chickpeas flour. Hope you try it out!
Here’s the recipe.
Rajasthani Gatte Ki Sabzi
For the Gatte
1 cup Chick Peas Flour
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli powder
1 teaspoon Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder
Salt – as per taste
1/4 cup Yogurt
2 tablespoons Cooking Oil
For the Curry
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece Ginger, grated or minced
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 cup Yogurt
1 teaspoon Coriander powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
1 teaspoon Red Chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
Salt – as per taste
2 teaspoons Cooking Oil
Make the Gatte
Mix all dry spices with the chickpeas flour.
Add oil to the flour and mix.
Slowly add yogurt and mix it. Remember not to add all the yogurt together as otherwise flour tends to get sticky.
You may not need to use all the yogurt.
Make it into a firm dough so it can be rolled into cylinders.
Now, take a small ball of the dough and roll it into 1/2 inch thick cylindrical shape (about 6 inches long).
Make similar cylinders with all of the dough.
Now take a pot and boil water in it. Take enough water to put all the above made rolled gatte in it.
Now, add the gatte in the boiling water. They should be fully immersed in water.
The gatte should take about 10-15 minutes to cook.
Check by inserting a knife in one of the gatte and make sure knife comes out clean.
Once they are done, drain the gatte rolls out of water. Do not throw water as we will use it for the gravy.
Cut the rolls into discs, about 1/2 – 1 inch thick.
Make the Curry
Add all dry spices (except salt, add salt at the end as needed) to the yogurt and mix it well till smooth.
Take a wide pan and heat oil in it.
Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Now, add ginger and garlic and fry for a minute.
Add onion and fry till it is translucent.
Take off the heat and add the spiced yogurt, mixing well.
Return to heat on a medium flame and cook till the gravy starts separating oil.
Now, add the gatte pieces in it, cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
Add the water saved from boiling the gatte (and more) as needed.
The sabzi is ready. Serve with chapati.