Shelled soybean/edamame nu shaak
Rotli and Shaak/subji is one of the staple meals in a Gujrati household. Generally when people eat junk for a long time or have been travelling, they tend to crave staple meals or some sort of comfort food. For me rotli shaak or khichdi is what I crave for when travelling and when I just want something simple to eat. Shaak translates to vegetable or vegetable curry. Gujrati shaaks/curries are very different to a westerners image of curry. Gujrati shaaks are mainly made without heavy ingredients like milk and cream and therefore even though they are flavourful, they do not have the rich creaminess of North Indian/Punjabi dishes.
Different parts of Gujarat also have different styles of making curries. I, myself being a charotar Patel, I have grown up eating shaak without a tomato base. My foodie friend, Neetu tells me that in the Kathiawad region shaak is mostly made in a tomato base. Fresh green vegetables are readily available in the Charotar part of Gujarat due to the fertile soil and favourable climate. However, in Kathiawad these vegetables were not readily available or were very expensive and hence tomatoes are added to the vegetables. This lead to the different cooking techniques which have been passed down through generations.
Tuver/pigeon peas nu shaak is my brother,Jigar's favourite. We used to enjoy it for lunch at least once a week at my mother's house. I am not a big fan of the frozen tuver available from the Indian stores here in Perth. The packets always tend to have the old white tuver instead of the nice tender green tuver. As a substitute, I much prefer the frozen green shelled soybeans.
The cooking technique in this recipe is pretty much the same for all lilvas/fresh green beans.
- 400 g frozen shelled green soybeans
- 1 small baby eggplant- cut into 1 cm pieces
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp hajmo/ajwain/carom seeds
- 1/2 tsp rai/mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- Crushed green chillies to taste- I used 1 teaspoon
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp salt- adjust to taste
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp dhana jeera powder
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander to garnish
- Heat the oil in a pressure cooker
- Add the ajwain and rai seeds and let them crackle ( this is called a vaghar in gujrati)
- Add the grated ginger and green chillies and saute for a few seconds till you get a nice aroma
- Add the shelled soy beans and cut eggplant
- Add the turmeric, salt and water and give it a good stir
- Close the pressure cooker lid and cook for 5- 6 whistles
- Turn the flame off and let it sit for 5 minutes ( no longer)
- Use a metal spoon with a long handle to lift the whistle and release the remaining pressure
- Once the pressure is released, carefully open the cooker.
- Add the dhana jeera powder and give it a stir
- Garnish with freshly chopped coriander
- Serve hot with rotlis, homemade yoghurt and some pickle
- If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook in a deep pan and cover with a lid, cook until the soybean is cooked and soft.
- Be careful when releasing the pressure using a spoon and when opening the pressure cook as you do not want to get burnt with the steam.
- The reason I do not wait for all the pressure to be released on its own is because I feel that the shaak changes colour and loses its vibrance if it sits in the cooker for too long.
- The soybeans take longer to cook compared to tuver hence why it needs 5-6 whistles instead of the usual 3-4.
- You can also choose to do a jeeru and rai vaghar instead of ajwain and rai.