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?
I’m very fussy about tomatoes. I love the sundried variety but not in pesto. I like the raw variety but only paired with basil and mozzarella and in a ‘cachumbar’ (salad) with sliced onions, red chilli powder and salt. But I love cooked tomatoes. Especially in curry. It’s my go to dinner when I am ravenous but don’t have the patience to wait. I usually eat this with some plain basmati rice or leftover boiled barley or kicheree.
I have used green tomatoes because I like the unusual. You could use cherry tomatoes cut in half or the different coloured heritage tomatoes that can be found at farmer’s markets nowadays. Which ever you choose, make sure they are lovely and firm so they will keep their shape when cooking.
Beautiful green tomatoes
Tomato and Onion (Shak) Curry
Green Tomato and Onion Curry
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 heaped tsp small black mustard seeds
- 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
- 4-5 curry leaves
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 250g red or green tomatoes – it doesn’t matter as long as they are firm and tomatoey! Don’t buy the cheap economy ones
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp dhana jeeru (coriander and cumin powder)
- 1-2 tsp red chilli powder – more as you wish
- 1/2 tsp amchur (dried mango powder) – optional but adds a tangy twist
- Handful fresh coriander – chopped
To make it
- Slice the onion and garlic and chop the tomatoes into nice large chunks. About 1 inch is good. Smaller will turn them to mush and you don’t want that. Set aside
- Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan – not heavy bottomed. This is a stir fry type dish.
- When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves in quick succession. To test the oil you can pop in a mustard seed. If it fizzzles and pops then it’s ready.
- The seeds will crackle and fizzle and spit up so be careful when you add the onions and garlic now.
Frying onions is one of my favourite smells
- Stir for a minute with a fork (not wooden spoon as this will absorb the spices you are going to add)
- Add the tomatoes and then the rest of the spices and stir until all the spices are well combined.
And then the spices go in and the smell gets even better
- Keep tossing the onions and tomatoes with the fork for a few more minutes to cook the dry spices out and prevent sticking. If it does stick add a little more oil or water.
- Do not overcook. you want the onions to have a little bite and the tomatoes to keep their shape.
- Pour into a serving bowl, top with the chopped coriander and eat straight away. This dish does not keep well so try not to have any leftovers!
I served these on Clearspring Quick Cook 5 Grains but you could also go with plain rice.
Green Tomato and Onion Curry – A simple and speedy supper
What is your favourite way to eat tomatoes?
More tomato inspiration here: