I'm sure a lot of you have had Arbi (Sepangkizhangu in tamil) roast or Arbi fry.
This is an unique method of making Arbi roast. I actually did not know that you could add onions to arbi roast - maybe having grown up in a Iyengar household, Arbi was always just cooked, peeled and fried or roasted with a simple tadka.
During one of our potluck parties, my friend Deepi had gotten a very different type of Arbi sabji - the arbi was cut into thin pieces and was cooked with onions and tomatoes. It tasted real good and I told her that I need to eat it again some other time too! Thank you Deepi for inspiring this dish!
The wonderful part of these arbi pieces below is that a few pieces are from my backyard garden. My inlaws put some arbi roots when they were a few months ago and I had a whole lot of leaves and some roots. I was going to make patra with the leaves - but some critter ate it before I could! Good for the critter..bad for me. :(
Wash and pressure cook the arbi. Pressure cook them for exactly 10 mins. Switch off and let sit for 5 mins and then open the cooker and wash the arbi in cold water to stop cooking. You don't want them to become really soft. You should able to slice them with a butter knife but at the same time, they should feel firm inside and not squishy.
While that arbi is chilling out, let's get started with the marinade to soak these in.
In a mixing bowl, add 1/3 cup of oil. I use olive oil for cooking everyday so just used that. You could use any oil you prefer.
To the oil, add 1/2 level tsp of turmeric powder.
Then, add 1 heaped tsp of red chilli powder. You are welcome to add more if you like spicy stuff. Don't complain later - just take your antacids along with food!
Now, add 1 tsp of salt to the oil mix.
Next comes 1/2 tsp of coriander powder.
Followed by 1/2 tsp of cumin powder. I make coriander and cumin powder fresh at home - a little at a time just to fill my masala dabba. That way, they are right there fresh and full of flavor when you need them!
Now, take a little bit of tamarind - and make some juice out of it - I took this picture just to show how much tamarind is needed. Is that a little bit?
Now, add that little bit of tamarind juice to the marinade.
Now look at this and guess what you see here - You know..like an elephant , a chicken or a truck with only 3 wheels?
Whisk the mix (repeat 5 times for a fun tongue twister!!) well until the masalas are completely blended.
How gorgeous does that look?
Here are the cooled arbis de-skinned. And don't ask me why a couple are green! (maybe they are the ones from my garden..see they are organic and green! LOL)
Cut into small rounds like this.
Move the cut arbi pieces to the marinade.
And pick up the mixing bowl and toss around the veggies. Do not mix with a spatula or a spoon - you will crush the arbi and make it mushy.And then he'll feel bad.
Toss well to make sure that the marinade coats all the arbi pieces well. Let this sit for about 1 or 2 hours if you have time. The more you let it sit, the flavor improves enormously and when you bite into the arbi after its cooked, even the most center part has a lot of flavor to it. And that happens because of this marination process. Toss once every 20 mins while they are sitting for an hour or two.
When you're ready to cook, heat a wide pan and add 1 tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and once it splutters, add 1/2 tsp of whole cumin seeds. Then, toss the marinated veggies in there and reduce the heat to low-medium.
Once again, the key here is to not use a spatula or a cooking spoon to mix this while cooking. You'll have to pick the whole pan up and toss the veggies to mix it.
And this is what happens when you try to toss a heavy pan with one hand and take a picture with the other!
Let it just slowly cook in the low heat. Toss them every 5 mins or so to make sure the bottoms don't burn.
And now they are done. See how well roasted the bottoms look. And I'm talking about these arbis here. Don't let your mind wander. Focus.
You could just serve them like this. This is how I make it normally to go with rasam and rice. This with a killer jeera rasam is all you need to attain moksham!
But, since life is all about options, I'm going to kick it up a few notches. I'm going to get the north indian and south indian fusion happening right here, right now...Ooh..I'm feeling so fired up - like the unity of India is now in my hands! Join me folks. And let's all eat Arbi! ( I knew I should have gotten into politics! LOL)
So, to kick up, here we go.
Chop some onions and bell peppers into long thin strips.
Remove the roasted arbi from the pan gently leaving behind some of the flavored oil if still there. Heat the pan again and throw in the onions and bell peppers and mix in the same oil. Add a little bit of oil if you need to.
Add a pinch of all the flavorings you used for the arbi - the red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander and cumin powder and also a pinch of salt. Mix well.
When the veggies are sauteed well, squeeze juice of half a lime in here. I'm not usually a limey person - but boy, this adds a lot of zing to the dish.
Now, add finely chopped cilantro - about half a bunch to the onions and peppers. Mix well.
Now, throw in the roasted arbi to this.
Toss again. Remember, no spatula again. Toss well until the veggies are combined well.
The next time I toss, I'll promise to get help and ask someone else to take the picture. My apologies.
And the Kick Ass Marinated Arbi Roast is done. How does that look?
Like I said, this would be great with some piping hot rasam and rice. But, this is also a wonderful side dish with simple chappathis or parathas and daal. Which is what we had for dinner. I made simple parathas and yellow tadka daal.
My favorite way of eating this was to actually make a wrap with the paratha and fill this in - that was soooo good. Try it sometime.
Enjoy. Peace out!