Friday, June 11, 2010


I have always been fascinated with dishes that contain a mixture of vegetables. It’s probably the same reason why I am a big fan of salads. In Malabar cuisine, Avial is a very popular dish and a well-made Avial is very tasty. In Chettinad cuisine there are kootus which usually involve more than one vegetable.

Oondiyoon is a very common dish in Gujarati cuisine. Although I have heard about it many times, I have had the privelege to eat it only twice. It’s been so long ago that I can hardly recollect the flavour or textures from that dish.

One fine evening when I was pondering over what to cook for a vegetarian dinner, a friend of mine offered me a rough recipe for Oondiyoon. I have always resisted cooking Oondiyoon in my kitchen for two main reasons. One, it involves deep-frying the motiyas and two, it’s a very lengthy and time-consuming procedure. I try my best to keep deep-frying to a minimum in my kitchen for obvious health reasons. Motiyas are generally deep-fried (sometimes they are steamed or boiled to add to gravies) balls of roasted gram flour (besan) with a mixture of spices.

Anyways, I was running out of ideas for a good vegetarian, north-Indian vegetable dish that’ll go well with chappathi and a dal. So I decided to try out my friend’s recipe for Oondiyoon. I first made the motiyas and then went on to cook the vegetables and toss it all together. When I tasted one of the motiyas right after I finished making them, I knew that the final dish was going to taste spectacular.

Oondiyoon consists of roasted vegetables, mashed motiyas and whole motiyas. Motiyas are a vital part of the dish and I was excited that I got that part right. Also the vegetables used for Oondiyoon are mostly the country-type. Yams, gourds, country-variety of beans, etc play centre-stage in this dish.

And as it turned out, it was not a very difficult dish to cook. Also the motiyas were not very oily. We savoured every morsel of the final dish. If you ever come across a decent recipe for Oondiyoon, do not hesitate to try it out. It’ll make a great vegetarian side dish for a simple meal, as well as a festive meal for friends and family.

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