I first ate this Rajasthani specialty at a restaurant called Chokki dhani near Jaipur. I guess because Rajasthan is a desert region it has has many sabzis that are made with staples, the other example being Gatte ki sabji made from besan noodles. Pitod or Patod ka Saag has diamond- shaped pieces made of besan and spices in a spiced yoghurt sauce. Serve with hot rotis or puris. This recipe is from the book Spice box by Manju Shivraj Singh.
1 cup water
salt to taste
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups chickpea flour / besan / patod
2 Tbl ghee or oil
2-3 dried red chilies, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 med onions, minced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sliced ginger root
1/2 cup yogurt
salt to taste
1 green chili, seeded and chopped, for garnish
coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish
For the diamonds:
Bring water to a boil. Add salt, cayenne, cumin and chickpea flour. Whisk
these into the water carefully. Cook untill the mixture thickens.
Turn out on a greased plate and flatten with a spatula. When it cools, cut
it into diamond shapes.
This recipe serves 8, You can safely halve the recipe like I did. Even at half, the 1 cup of chickpea flour / besan makes a lot of diamonds. The 1 cup of chickpea took about 1 cup of water. So i think the water proportion in Manju Shivraj Singhs recipe isnt quite right. The besan cooks fairly fast, think five minutes for the total. Of course use a greased thali to pour out the cooked besan. Dont worry if the edges of your cooked besan on the thali are a little raggged. Of course , season the besan well.
For the sauce:
In a heavy saucepan heat oil or ghee. Add red chilies, fenugreek, mustard
seeds, onions and garlic. When browned, add turmeric and sliced ginger, yogurt
and salt to taste. Cook. When it thickens a bit, about 10 min later, add the
chickpea diamonds and simmer for 2-3 min. Garnish with chopped green chilies
Donot dump all the spices in. Do let the mustard pop before you add the cumin and the other ingredients. Actually the Besan / chickpea flour diamonds expand quite a bit in the gravy. So when you add water to your curry remember to take care of that. The second thing is, the chopped onions detract from the smooth taste of the gravy/ curry. Next time i will saute the onions in a little oil and then puree them before adding it to the gravy.
I would also highly recommend topping the sabji with a dollop of ghee before serving. Makes a world of difference.
With a little bit of finetuning, this recipe is very very delicious. When you are flummoxed by the utter lack of vegetables in your referigerator , like I was, this is a go to recipe. Everybody always has besan right?
Tastes very good with rice too, with a dollop of ghee of course!