A uniquely flavored, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, Indian vegetable stew. An heirloom recipe!
Do you remember the foods you did not care for much when you were a child….but years later, you start craving for it?
That happened to me when we visited Goa this past November. The tirphal berries (Szechuan pepper) were in season and fresh green ones were being sold by the roadside. Honestly, the flavor was not one of my favorites when I was a child. But they are not available in the Indian grocery stores here so when I saw them I started craving the unique flavor they lend to the Khatkhate and to fish curries and baked fish.
I found myself buying the fresh tirphal and fussing over them to make sure they sun-dried just right and enjoying their aroma. I have been wanting to make the khatkhate ever since we got back and the stew was just perfect for a winter night’s meal!
Khatkhate is one of the favorite vegetable stews in the Saraswat Brahmin cuisine. It comes from the Konkan region on the western coast of India. During holy days, the food cooked is vegetarian. It is also made without onions and garlic. And this stew fits that bill too. Cooked dal is added which adds protein and body to the stew.
The tirphal, kokum (the sour skin of a plant from the mangosteen family), freshly grated coconut and dried red byadgi chili peppers give the khatkhate its unique flavor. The byadgi chili peppers are not as hot as some of the other chili peppers and are used for their bright red color. The vegetables generally used are red pumpkin, drumsticks, corn, potatoes, arvi, jackfruit seeds. Depending on the season, other vegetables may be substituted or added.
So the ingredients are based on what was abundant locally and eating the fresh veggies that were in season. Here I adapted the veggies according to what I could get locally and veggies we love to eat….no point picking out veggies from the delectable stew, right?
I was pleasantly surprised that my husband who shunned the tirphal since childhood also enjoyed the khatkhate…Yay! Victory!
- ¼ cup tur dal/ pigeon peas cooked in water with ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 small arvi, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 green drumstick, cut into pieces. I used frozen drumsticks
- 1 corn on the cob, cut into small pieces or ¼ cup frozen corn
- ½ cup red pumpkin, cut into bite size pieces
- ½ cup cooked lima beans or black eye peas
- ¼ cup cut green beans. I used sugar snap peas
- Salt to taste
Masala to be ground together-
- ½ cup fresh grated coconut. I used frozen, defrosted grated coconut
- 2 teaspoons Byadgi chili powder/ Kashmiri chili powder/ paprika
- 2~ 2 ½ tablespoons jaggery, depending on how sweet the pumpkin is
- 4~5 kokum
- 8~10 tirphal shells (discard any seeds),slightly bruised with a pestle or rolling pin
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
To make the Khatkhate-
- Whisk the cooked tur dal and set is aside.
- In another pan, cook the vegetables in order of their cooking time starting with the vegetables that would take the longest to cook. Add water and salt as needed. I started with the arvi, when semi cooked, added the sweet potatoes, drumstick and let them cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the frozen cooked corn, pumpkin, lima beans and sugar snap peas.
- Cover and let it cook on medium heat until all veggies are cooked but not mushed.
- Add the cooked dal, ground coconut and red chili mixture, jaggery, kokum and the tirphal. Stir and let it simmer on low for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt if needed.
- Drizzle the coconut oil, stir and remove from heat.
- Serve khatkhate with rice and/ or chappatis.
Note- The consistency of the Khatkhate is just like a stew, with gravy/sauce to it. You may add or deduct water as per your taste.
This heirloom recipe with its distinctive taste certainly hits the spot during the cold winter days.Enjoy the warm, delectable khatkhate with rice or chappatis!