Gujarati sev tameta nu shaak

It’s official, we’re moving into the colder months… I imagine there’ll be a mix of relief and sadness about this, but either way, we can all look forward to moving aside the salads and saying hellooo to some comfort food again!

It also means that when it’s too cold or wet to step out, you can cook up meals using store cupboard ingredients – which brings me to today’s blog post. I want to share a dish that reminds you how exciting it can be to stay in, cosy up, and prepare something with minimal fuss. It goes by the name of, ‘Sev tameta nu shaak’ (chickpea-based crispy vermicelli with tomatoes).

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I always have tomatoes (tinned or fresh) and bags of sev – which can be found in any Indian supermarket (in thick or thin varieties). These crispy little goodies are incredibly versatile, used as toppings in well-known dishes like chaat and bhelpuri, or eaten alone as a snack like Bombay mix – here, they are equally as important as the sauce; to create a rich, yet lazy curry.

Using these two main ingredients along with a few spices makes this dish incredibly cheap, too!

Finally, sev tameta nu shaak very much holds the flavours of Gujarati food – with the qualities of being salty, spicy, sweet and sour. The food from Gujarat never seems to fail me in the ways they’ve developed vegetarian (and a lot of times, vegan) meals, where you never miss the meat! They are always creating complex flavours and being resourceful – and I think this dish showcases both perfectly.

It’s quick and simple to make, serves up to 2-3 people, and is best eaten with hot puris or buttery chapattis.

Ingredients:

250g tomatoes
2tbsp oil
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1/2tsp red chilli powder (or 1tsp if you like it hot!)
1tbsp jaggery (cane sugar)
1/2tsp ground turmeric
1tsp ground cumin and coriander (dhana jeera)
1tsp garam masala
40g thin sev
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Chop the tomatoes into big pieces.

2. Heat the oil on low to medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle for a few seconds, then add the cumin and cook till it turns a few shades darker. Add the curry leaves (being careful as they will splutter).

3. Add the tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, jaggery, turmeric, dhana jeera, garam masala and some water.

4. Let it boil and place on a low simmer for about 5minutes, adding a bit more water if it starts to thicken too much. Mush the tomatoes in when they’ve softened down.

5. Taste to check the spices have cooked off, and once you’re happy it has the harmony you’re looking for, add the sev. Leave it on the heat for a few more minutes and serve immediately.

Tip: The sauce can be made in advance, but it’s always advisable to add the sev right at the end to prevent it from becoming stodgy.

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