When it comes to Gujarati specialities, no dish is more celebrated than this Perfect Kathiyawadi Undhiyu. A legendary dish of seasonal, and often stuffed vegetables, traditionally cooked upside down in an earthenware pot. The name undhiyu comes from the word ‘undhu’ which actually means upside down!
You might be happy to hear that for ease and convenience, we’ll prepare this recipe for Kathiyawadi Undhiyu in a more modern kitchen-friendly manner – all without compromising on the classic flavours! It’s usually a one-pot meal but I do things a little differently in order to make sure everything cooks up evenly. This is a foolproof method for making Undhiyu.
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. The steps for preparing this dish are actually very straightforward and takes more time than skill. Follow my simple Undhiyu recipe video and you’ll have the most perfect Kathiyawadi version, every time.
This recipe for Perfect Kathiyawadi Undhiyu is:
- Traditional Gujarati style
- Easy to follow
- Delicious with Poori, Shrikhand and Daal-Bhaat, Gujarati wedding style
If you ever want to express your love to a Gujarati, take the time and effort to make Undhiyu – it takes time, patience and effort. Undhiyu is a dish that brings people together; whether it’s the act of cooking it in the kitchen (all hands on deck), or gathering round the table to feast.
What are the main ingredients in Undhiyu?
Vegetables for Undhiyu
Choose small, firm aubergines. These are best for stuffing. To prepare aubergines for undhiyu, slit the aubergine into quarters from the bottom, slicing to the tip but not all the way through.
Green bananas (matoke)
These are not the same as regular eating bananas or plantains. Check out a fruit and veg market and find the small green matoke popular in Indian and African cooking. Indeed, their texture is much more starchy and not sweet at all. They should be very firm, green and not yellow in the slightest.
To prepare matoke for undhiyu, slice off the tip, cut in half or thirds and slit in half lengthways, but not all the way through.
Choose small, waxy potatoes. Scrub them clean and slit them in half lengthways, but not all the way through. They will cook quickly and above all, this will allow for stuffing.
Elephant foot yam (suran)
There’s no need to buy a whole suran for this recipe. Since they are quite large, you can buy halves and quarters in the market.
To prepare suran for undhiyu, peel the outer brown skin with a vegetable peeler and cut into rough chunks, about 2cm x 2cm.
Sweet potato (white or purple fleshed)
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes can be quite watery and turn soft upon cooking. This means they will squash easily so white or purple flesh sweet potatoes work best for undhiyu. You can buy these in fruit and vegetable markets.
To prepare sweet potatoes for undhiyu, peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler and cut into rough chunks, about 2cm x 2cm.
Tindora (ivy gourd)
This member of the gourd family is usually no larger than the average pinky finger. It’s most popular in southern Indian states but is a common vegetable across Indian cookery.
The skin of tindora is thin and the flavour very subtle. Inside, you’ll find lots of small seeds although far less moisture than most gourds. This means that once you cook the tindora, they retain their crunch.
To prepare tindora for undhiyu, top and tail the gourds and finally, slice into quarters lengthways.
Valor (hyacinth beans)
These large, flat beans look similar to broad beans. Both the pods and beans inside are edible.
To prepare valor for undhiyu, first snap off the top, leaving the string side attached. Gently pull down to string the pods and pop open to remove the beans (lilva). Watch my video for a step-by-step visual of how to do this.
Surti Papdi (whole)
Small beans in pods, similar to valor. Both the pods and beans inside are edible. Buy both in your local fruit and veg market.
To prepare Surti papdi for undhiyu, wash the beans well in plenty of water. To prepare Surti papdi for undhiyu, first snap off the top, but the string side attached. Gently pull down to string the pods and pop open to remove the beans (lilva). Watch my video for a step-by-step visual of how to do this. You can also buy these frozen to save time.
Guvar (cluster beans)
Cluster beans. These long, flat beans are also called “guar”, “gavar” and “gawar” depending on regional Indian language and dialect.
To prepare guvar for undhiyu, wash them well, top and tail them and then cut in half.
Stuffing for the vegetables
Grind the peanuts coarsely so they are of uniform size. I use raw, red skin peanuts. I took the skins off but feel free to keep them on if you prefer.
A combination of different spices, herbs and tomatoes also go into this flavoursome stuffing. These include chilli, garlic, ginger and coriander. Pour hot oil over the top of the mixture to temper everything and create a paste.
Methi muthiya (dumplings) for Perfect Kathiyawadi Undhiyu
What is undhiyu without muthiya? It’s the most sought-after part of the undhiyu, in my experience! Having been to dozens of Gujarati weddings, I always make sure I ask for extra methi muthiya at lunchtime. They soak up all the flavours of the gravy and provide deliciously-intense flavours and textures.
I choose to deep fry them because this is the most traditional method. You can, however, try air frying or baking them may lose their shape ever so slightly, however.
Here’s what goes into Methi muthiya for Undhiyu…
Chapati atta or wholewheat flour makes up the base of the dumpling because it provides structure and binding. You can use plain flour but the muthiya will be much harder in texture due to the higher proportion of gluten in plain (all-purpose) flour.
Gram flour (besan)
Firstly, this is essential for an iconic, nutty flavour. Secondly, the gram flour prevents the muthiya from soaking in too much oil when deep frying.
Methi (fenugreek leaves)
Like undhiyu isn’t undhiyu without muthiya, muthiya aren’t muthiya without methi! You can use either fresh methi or dried (kasoori) methi for the methi muthiya, although the former is better. Note that if you’re using dried methi, you’ll just need a few teaspoons of it. It’s potent stuff!
As ever, chilli powder, garlic, ginger and salt are essential additions to methi muthiya. After that, I add a small amount of oil and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) for tenderness and lightness. Why? Because there’s nothing worse than hard methi muthiya in Gujarati undhiyu!
A core ingredient in Kathiyawadi undhiyu. It’s important to note that tomatoes are not added to every style of undhiyu. See below for more information on different styles of this vegetarian curry. Many types of undhiyu are tomato-less, but in Kathiyawadi undhiyu, it’s imperative for tanginess and colour.
I use fresh tomatoes and blitz them in a blender, however you can also choose to use tomato passata (sieved tomatoes) from a carton or jar (although, not pizza sauce!).
An inital tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and ajwain provide a building block of flavour for this rich, tomatoey gravy. It’s the way many Gujarati curries begin and this rule applies for undhiyu too.
Leftover stuffing masala
After we stuff our vegetables, any additional stuffing masala is also added to the gravy. It’s packed full of flavour!
Top tip! For amazing flavour and texture, add a couple of crushed methi muthiya to the gravy. As it cooks, the gravy will thicken (due to the flours in the muthiya) and the wonderful aroma of methi will permeate throughout the entire dish. Ultimately, this step really brings the undhiyu together.
The tadka (tempering)
Try not to skimp on the oil in this recipe. It’s there for a reason and will create the most wonderful undhiyu experience. This is a dish for sharing, enjoying and making memories over so try to do it the real deal way if you really want to enjoy it.
A few whole spices like bay leaves and some ground ones too will add the finishing touches to the undhiyu. Finally, add a sprinkle of fresh coconut and coriander leaves on top to complete the dish.
How to serve Gujarati Undhiyu | What goes with Undhiyu
Pile the steaming hot Undhiyu onto a platter or into a large so you can separate some of the vegetables and muthiya out. Serve Undhiyu with poori (a puffed, fried bread), Shrikhand (sweet hung yoghurt with cardamom and saffron), Gujarati Daal, Rice and your favourite pickles and salad.
Types of Undhiyu
Probably the most famous of all varieties of Undhiyu is Surti Undhiyu. It’s green in colour, typically tomato-less and packed with the fragrance of coriander and coconut.
The version of Undhiyu enjoyed by those who practice Jainism is free from roots, onions and garlic. Of course, if you want to adapt this recipe, feel free to skip these ingredients and add more chilli, ginger and plenty of asafoetida.
We’re making a great version of it here! Tomatoey, rich and a true celebration of seasonal vegetables. It’s tangy, spicy and sweet. Indeed, these are iconic Gujarati flavours that remind me of wedding feasts.
As above! Most Gujarati wedding Undhiyu will be a tomatoey variety, however it is likely free from onions and garlic (like the Jain version) due to many people having dietary restrictions or following a Sattvic diet.
It’s possible to make Undhiyu without too much oil, deep frying, salt and sugar. For example, you may choose to bake or air fry the methi muthiya and steam all of the vegetables. This is ultimately a personal choice and the finished Undhiyu will still taste great.
Feel free to swap sugar for jaggery and reduce the amount of salt as per your taste, too.
Perfect Kathiyawadi Undhiyu Recipe | How to make Gujarati Undhiyu
Vegetables you'll need
- 125g ivy gourd (tindora/tendli)
- 60g cluster beans (guvar)
- 225g sweet potato (white or purple fleshed)
- 100g hyacinth beans (valor)
- 100g small Surti papdi
- 4 baby aubergines
- 300g elephant foot yam (suran)
- 3 raw green bananas (matoke)
- 250g baby potatoes
For the vegetable stuffing
- 2.5cm piece ginger, minced
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp freshly-chopped coriander
- 75g gram flour (besan)
- 30g raw peanuts, coarsely ground
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin & coriander seed powder (dhana-jeeru)
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 65ml vegetable or sunflower oil
For the Muthiya (dumplings)
- 200g chapati atta (wholewheat flour)
- 40g gram flour (besan)
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 40g fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
- 2.5cm piece ginger, minced
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 100ml warm water
- Oil for deep frying
For the sauce
- 1kg fresh tomatoes, blitzed
- 700ml water
- 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 whole dried chilli
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp ajwain
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp of the the stuffing masala
- 2 muthiya, crushed to a fine powder
- 40g green garlic shoots (optional)
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp jaggery
For the tadka (tempering)
- 100ml vegetable or sunflower oil
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 3 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp freshly-grated coconut
- Begin by preparing the vegetables.
- To prepare aubergines (ringra) for undhiyu, slit the aubergine into quarters from the bottom, slicing to the tip but not all the way through.
- To prepare green bananas (matoke) for undhiyu, slice off the tip, cut in half or thirds and slit in half lengthways, but not all the way through.
- To prepare baby potatoes (bateta) for undhiyu, scrub them clean and slit them in half lengthways, but not all the way through.
- To prepare hyacinth beans (valor) for undhiyu, first snap off the top, leaving the string side attached. Gently pull down to string the pods and pop open. Watch my video for a step-by-step visual of how to do this. Repeat this process for the Surti papdi, removing some of the beans from the pods and if you like. We'll be using all the beans for the recipe so keep everything together.
- To prepare cluster beans (guvar) for undhiyu, wash them well, top and tail them and then cut in half.
- To prepare ivy gourd (tindora) for undhiyu, wash them well, top and tail them and then cut into quarters lengthways.
- To prepare elephant foot yam (suran) for undhiyu, peel off the brown skin off and cut into rough chunks, about 2cm x 2cm.
- To prepare sweet potatoes (ratalu) for undhiyu, peel off the skin off and cut into rough chunks, about 2cm x 2cm.
- To make the stuffing for the aubergines, potatoes and green bananas, mix together the gram flour, peanuts, garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin-coriander seed powder, salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and tomato purée. Heat the oil until it's smoking hot. Carefully pour it over the flour mixture and allow to sizzle for a couple of seconds. Stir well to make a paste. It should be a little on the dry side. Set aside.
- Set 2 tbsp of the stuffing mixture aside and stuff the aubergines, potatoes and green bananas with the remaining stuffing mixture.
- In a tiered basket steamer, steam the aubergines, potatoes and matoke until they just begin to turn tender. About 10 minutes.
- Steam the valor, Surti papdi and guvar for 6-7 minutes. They should be cooked 50% and still have a bite to them.
- To make the Methi Muthiya (dumplings), place the wholewheat flour in a large platter or mixing bowl. Add the gram flour, chilli powder, sesame seeds, turmeric, salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, garlic, chopped fenugreek (methi) and 1 tbsp oil. Use your hands to bring everything together, creating a breadcrumb-like texture. Add the water make a dough. Knead for 3-4 minutes and then add the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Knead for a further 2 minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying in a large wok or kadai. The temperature of the oil should be around 170°C/340°F. Divide the dough for the methi muthiya into around 25 17g portions. You can make them round or egg-shaped. Deep fry the muthiya for 5-6 minutes, until they are golden on the outside and cooked all the way through. Drain on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel and set aside to cool completely.
- While the oil is still hot, separately deep fry the elephant foot yam (suran), sweet potato (ratalu) and ivy gourd (tindora). The yam and sweet potato should be al dente (about 75%) cooked and the tindora slightly golden and crispy looking. Drain on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel and set aside.
- For the sauce, heat the oil in a large pan or casserole dish. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Next, add cumin seeds, ajwain, sesame seeds, dried chilli and chopped green garlic shoots. Sauté for a minute, then add in the tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Stir well.
- Cover the pan and simmer on a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring often. Remove the lid, add the water and jaggery and stir well to dissolve. Ensure two of the methi muthiya are well crushed and set aside along with the leftover stuffing masala.
- Start adding all the vegetables to the sauce, arranging them evenly and sprinkling the crushed muthiya and leftover stuffing masala evenly throughout the dish and between all the layers. Top with the methi muthiya and give everything a very gentle shuffle to make sure the sauce has coated evenly.
- Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and allow to simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened. If you like, you can adjust the sauce with a small splash of hot water.
- To make the second tempering (tadka), heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the bay leaves, asafoetida and chilli powder. Allow to cook and sizzle for no longer than 10-12 seconds (or the chilli powder will burn). Immediately pour the tadka over the Kathiyawadi Undhiyu. Again, carefully and gently stir to combine. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and grated coconut.
Make the Muthiya in advance and freeze to save time. Add them to the undhiyu straight from frozen.
To reheat, place the leftover undhiyu in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high power until piping hot.
Serve Undhiyu with poori (a puffed, fried bread), Shrikhand (sweet hung yoghurt with cardamom and saffron), Gujarati Daal, Rice and your favourite pickles and salad.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 1380mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 18gSugar: 22gProtein: 17g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Pin this recipe for later! Perfect Kathiyawadi Undhiyu
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