There is a term we Gujaratis use often and do far too often. It’s called ‘biting’. It means snacking, eating little Polpo-esque portions of something to tide you over to the next biting or meal. When you are visiting relatives the first question you’ll be asked will be if you’ll partake in some ‘biting biting’. If you are going anywhere, then you must taking ‘biting biting’ with you or at least have some ‘biting biting’ before you go.
In my family biting takes the form of muthiya – little steamed dumplings of vegetables, chickpea flour and sometimes leftover rice which are eaten dipped in yoghurt or oil or stir fried to get a little crunch and burn on the skin and then eaten with chai. Patra and dhokra would be other examples of biting. Something substantial that involves just one plate.
What I love about muthiya is that you can really adapt the recipe to suit whatever is in your fridge that needs using up. On my allotment I have a bounty of beetroot and I hate to waste their vibrant leaves so I used them in this recipe with some red cabbage. You could also use grated carrots, marrow or courgettes, shredded spinach or chard – any hard vegetable that grates or a leaf that can be thinly chopped.
Muthiya – a great way of using up leftover vegetables
Beetroot Green and Cabbage Muthiya
- 250g cabbage, shredded
- 300g beetroot greens or spinach, finely chopped
- 250g gram flour (chickpea flour)
- 250g chappati flour
- 2-3 tsp salt – I know it sounds a lot but the steaming process removes a lot of the salt flavour
- 3 tbsp dessicated coconut
- 1 inch ginger, finely crushed
- 5 small green chillies, finely chopped
- red chilli powder to your taste
- Juice of a lemon
- 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 5 curry leaves
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- chopped fresh coriander – to your taste
To make them
- Mix the cabbage, beetroot greens, flours, coconut, spices, ginger, chillies, lemon and salt in a large mixing bowl and then using your hands add enough warm water to form a stiff dough. You need to be able to make small round balls that will hold their shape so add the water a little at a time.
- Once you have the right consistency form balls about the size of a golf ball. My mother makes sausages but I find that the balls are easier to fit in the steamer I have.
- Steam the balls for 30 minutes and then leave them to cool completely. You can eat them as they are dipped in a little oil or with plain yoghurt or follow the next steps to stir fry them.
- Chop the dumplings in half and pop them into a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a wok and add the sesame seeds and curry leaves. When they start to fizzle, add the chopped dumplings and toss together so they are all evenly coated. It’s ok if they stick a little and get crispy.
- Add the fresh coriander and serve with plain yoghurt or a cup of chai.
What kind of ‘biting biting’ do you have in your family?