Kutch is a district of Gujarat state in western India. Covering an area of 45,612 kms, it is the largest district in the state of Gujarat and the second largest district of India after Leh.
The languages spoken predominantly in Kutch are Kutchi and Gujarati. Kutchi draws heavily from its neighbouring language groups: Sindhi, Punjabi and Gujarati. Script of Kutchi language has become extinct reducing it to a dialect, occasionally written in the Gujarati script. Kutch has a strong tradition of crafts and is famous for its Kutchi embroidery.
Odho, is a Kutchi delicacy. It is similar in preparation to the ever popular 'Baingan Bharta'. A typical Kutchi meal consists of Bajre ja rotla, Odho, kadhi, garlic chutney & 'goad' aka jaggery. The meal is almost always followed by a chilled glass of 'chhaas', a very thin buttermilk concoction which helps cool down the body during the extremely dry & hot seasons. And haven't we all tasted the wonderful Kutchi Dabeli some time or the other :)
Here is how I make Odho!
1 large brinjal/baingan/eggplant
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 green chili chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 dry red chili, pinch asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric pwd, 1/4 tsp red chili pwd, 1 tbsp coriander pwd, 1tsp cumin seed pwd, 1/8 tsp cinnamon pwd, 2 pinches garam masala
coriander leaves for garnish
- The first step is to cook the brinjal. This can be done in many ways. The traditional way to do this is roasting the brinjal on hot charcoal, now many of us will not find this to be practical. The next method is by oiling the brinjal and roasting it on an open flame on the stove top. If you don't mind cleaning up the mess afterwards, this gives the second best smoked flavor :) One more method is to broil the oiled brinjal in the oven. In case you do not want to follow any of these methods, just microwave the chopped brinjal with 2 tbsp water for 10 mins or even quicker just pressure cook it :) Let cool, peel and mash it to a pulp.
- Heat oil, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp jeera, 1 dry red chili, pinch asafoetida. Add chopped onion & green chili, fry till brownish. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Add tomato and all the spice powders and cook till oil separates. Add salt. Brinjal is known as 'Begun' in hindi which means, without any self distinguishing properties, on it's own it is tasteless and takes on the taste of anything that it is mixed with, hence don't skimp on the masala powders.
- Add the mashed eggplant and mix well. Add a tbsp of water if the mixture looks dry. Cover and cook till the everything blends well for about 15 mins. Sprinkle 2 pinches of garam masala and switch off the gas.
- The flavors blend well if kept for sometime before serving.
- TIP: The brinjal is most tasty and sweet just under the cap(calyx), so make sure that you do not chop away that part. Also, this part has the least amount of seeds if any. Always choose the brinjal with bright green calyx, if the calyx has dried the brinjal will have too many big seeds which makes the Odho un-appetizing.
To make Chhaas:
Blend 1 cup yogurt with 4 cups water, add salt & cumin seed powder. Serve chilled, garnished with chopped coriander leaves.
'Asa je ghare jamelay aanke amantran diyon ta' in kutchi means I am inviting you to our home for a nice meal :)
This is my contribution to Nupur's A-Z series.
I would like to send this over to Sushama for the Tipology of the month.