It’s peak summer time here and while posting this recipe I’m filled with nostalgia. It seems like ages that I would sit patiently with Akka (my granny) and press out the kurdayaa (कुरडया) on plastic sheets under the scorching sun and then leave them to dry. Once in an hour she would make one of the grand children to run to terrace and check whether the birds were not attacking the drying fryums. I do not know what these fryums, made out of wheat are called in other languages, but in Maharashtra they are called कुरडया/Kurdayaa. They are made after soaking the whole wheat in water for 4-5days (water changed every day) and then the wheat is grinded, strained. It is then cooked with equal water, a lot of heeng to add flavour and salt to make a thick shiny mass called the ‘Cheeka’ (चीक). The चीक topped with filtered ground nut oil is a delicacy in itself and my mother and my my maternal aunts relished eating that. My granny ensured that there was enough चीक left for the family to eat. I never liked the cheeka but I did love the dried product, kurdaya.
The चीक when hot is put in the greased चकली (chakali) machine with finer holes and then the fine vermicelli ‘शेव’ is pressed out in rounds on the plastic sheets. The fine wheat vermicelli are allowed to dry under the sun for 4-5days to get the dried version called कुरडया. The चीक in itself is a very healthy vegan, dairy free preparation as it’s made from whole wheat and has essential nutrients. The dried form is then deep fried and savoured along with Pilaf, khichadi etc.
I believed that frying was the only way in which the Kurdaya could be eaten till I visited Baby Aaji who was Akka’s younger sister. I must have visited her 10-12times during my youth and I always returned with fond memories of the food she cooked. On one such occasions, she served us the कुरडयांची भाजी and I was hooked to the spicy preparation. Later, I tasted granny, mom and mavshi’s (maternal aunt) versions too but nothing matched Baby Aaji’s version. The taste still lingers in my mouth and this time when I visited my Mom, I insisted her again to make the bhaaji and to my delight it was almost as good as Baby Aaji’s. I realised that the taste of the bhaaji does depend a lot on the quality and flavour of the Kurdaya. It’s a spicy preparation and tastes best when spicy but one can adjust the spice level as per their taste, if you have the Kurdaya available. The preparation is filling and can be had during lunch or dinner as a one pot meal or even as an evening snack. So here’s a version of Indian Spaghetti and it is a recipe to try..
गव्हाच्या कुरडयांची भाजी
Preparation Time:1hour | Cooking Time:15-20mins | Serves:5-6 | Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ingredients (in the sequence of Their use)
4large handful crushed Kurdaya / Indian Wheat Fryums
3-4tbsp oil +1tbsp oil
1tsp mustard seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
2medium onions, chopped
4-5green chillies, chopped
a generous pinch of strong smell asafoetida/ heeng
a small handful of peanuts soaked in water for an hour
3/4cup Bengal Gram lentils, soak in water for an hour
3/4tsp turmeric powder
2-3tsp red chilli powder
3tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
Boil about 6-7cups of water in a pan with a table spoon of oil. Once it comes to a boil add the hand crushed Kurdaya to it and let them cook for about 4-5mins or till they turn just about tender. Do not over cook.
Strain and pour cold water on them to stop cooking.
Heat oil in a pan and splutter the mustard followed by the cumin seeds.
Tip in the heeng, onions and green chillies. Sauté till the onions start turning brown in colour.
Strain the water and add the soaked peanuts and Bengal Gram. Mix and cook covered on a low flame till the lentils are done.
Add the turmeric, half of the chilli powder, coriander powder and salt just enough for the mix in the pan as the Kurdaya have salt in them. Give a good mix.
Add the strained Kurdaya and mix gently. Add remaining chilli powder, mix it. Cover and cook on high flame for a minute. Simmer and cook for 3-4mins on a low flame.
Serve hot with a slice of lemon and some chopped coriander.