Like many other curry recipes on the blog, Pakodi Ki Sabzi is too courtesy mom’s recipe book. But this one, in particular, she learnt from her bania (a business community in India) friend much later in life. A no onion/garlic eating regime is quite common in many Indian households but definitely not ours. We follow this kind of strict diet only during certain festivities or mourning, else we are very much in love with our onion and garlic masala. So this friend of mom’s is a pro in no onion/garlic cooking. There is a strong sulphur-rich aroma hanging in the air of her kitchen, maybe because she profoundly uses ghee, jeera and hing tadka for cooking most of the dishes. And we as a kid found that peculiar smell weirdly pleasant and tempting. So we were introduced to this Pakodi Ki Sabzi by this lady (mum’s friend). And much later, when I started exploring the intricacies of local food, found that Pakodi Ki Sabzi is quite a popular recipe in many parts of Northern India.
While we observe nine days of fast during the festival of Navratri and follow a frugal sattvic diet, recipes such as Pakodi Ki Sabzi, Aloo Paani, Dahi Lauki come really handy. One, they are fulfilling and wholesome, second, it requires few basic ingredients to prepare them. The hearty curries are scooped with poori and paratha along with raita. It is the popular combination in the family during the sacred Hindu months when, one is prohibited from consuming meat, egg or onion/garlic. There are rarely 30 odd days in total over the year when we confine ourselves to such diet. And for these days we need to plan the menu well in advance. The ladies of our family are not much accustom to cooking without onion/garlic. So we specifically search for dishes, which taste does not depend much on the onion-garlic paste. And Pakodi Ki Sabzi is one such recipe where the heart and soul of the dish is – asafoetida (hing). There is a profound flavor of asafoetida in this curry. And the chopped coriander leaves added towards the end provide a subtle fresh aroma to the sabzi.
Even during the dull summer days, when there is a limited variety of vegetables available, Pakodi Ki Sabzi add a great variety to the menu. If you prefer, you can serve it with steamed rice as well. And there is an unsaid comfort in sampling this soupy curry while making a slurpy sound. In many parts of the Uttar Pradesh, Pakodi Ki Sabzi is also known as Mangodi Ki Sabzi or Tazi Mangodi Ki Sabzi, these are different names of the same dish.
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