Kolhapuri Mixed Vegetable (Spicy Vegetable Curry)

The Kolhapur region of Maharashtra is famous for its unique and spicy cuisine. When I used to travel to Mumbai, I was always on the lookout for local dishes that would pair well with rice or Indian breads. Gujarati food was not a top priority since I do not have a sweet tooth and restaurant style Gujarati food is invariably sweet. I came across this dish sometime in the mid-80’s. Since then, I have always tried it on my travels to Mumbai – and have never been disappointed. The only problem was the excessive oil used in restaurant style preparations. So, I decided to try this dish out over the weekend – with singular success.

Ingredients
For The Gravy
1/3 cup coconut, thinly sliced
1 tsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp poppy (khus khus, kasa kasa) seeds, or watermelon seeds or 3 cashew nuts
1 1/2 tsp sesame seeds (til, ellu)
1/2″ piece cinnamon (dalchini, lavangathu pattai)
2 cloves (laung, kirambu)
3 black pepper corns (kali mirch, kuru milagu)
1 green cardamom (elaichi, elakkai)
For The Vegetables
1/3 cup potato, cut lengthwise
1/3 cup French beans, cut into 1″ pieces
1/3 cup peas (fresh or frozen) – I did not use this as I had none handy
1/3 cup carrot, cut lengthwise
1/3 cup green capsicum, cut lengthwise
1/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf, perunjeeragam)
1 large onion, sliced
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 medium sized tomato, chopped fine
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Salt to taste
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
Method
Roast the dry spices (coconut pieces, coriander seeds, dried red chillies, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper corns and cardamom) for 1-2 minutes till aromatic
Transfer to a plate and cool to room temperature
Blend these spices to a fine powder
Set aside
Steam potato, French beans, carrot and peas for about 7-8 minutes – they should remain crunchy
Set aside
Heat a wok over medium flame
Add fennel seeds and roast for about 15 seconds
Add onion and saute till translucent
Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for about a minute
Add capsicum, tomato and salt
Saute for about 3-4 minutes till the tomato is mushy
Add the blended spices and turmeric powder
Mix well and cook for a minute
Add the steamed vegetables and adjust salt
Cook for 2 minutes
Add 2/3 cup water and mix well
Cook for 4-5 minutes till the gravy thickens to your desired consistency
Remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice or Indian breads
Enjoy!


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