Sukhi Sabji or Sukhi Sabzi is the terminology used to describe a dry (sukhi) vegetable (sabji) dish in the Indian national language, Hindi. It is a dish that consists of no gravy, rather combines a single vegetable or a mix of selected vegetables cooked together using some oil as the cooking medium along with certain spices. A Sukhi Sabji may be a good accompaniment to roti, phulka, chappati, nan, paratha and other breads. In India, it is customary to have at least one Sukhi Sabji as part of the menu for each meal.
Ingredients and Preparation
Vegetables of choice – either one or a combination may be used in preparing a sukhi sabji. For instance potato or aloo is one vegetable that can be combined with almost any other vegetable like cauliflower, okra, beans, peas, bell peppers, onion, greens etc., and yet can hold its own in a Sukhi Sabji. Some examples of Sukhi Sabji include-
• Aloo gobhi – Dry Potato and cauliflower vegetable cooked and delicately spiced.
• Paneer shimla mirch – Spiced cottage cheese and bell peppers which will also have sliced onion and tomato cooked as a dry spicy dish.
• Bhindi aloo – Okra and potato in special spices.
• Karele ki sukhi sabji – Dry spiced and stuffed Bitter gourd.
• Gavarfalli ki sukhi sabji – Cluster beans dry vegetable with garlic and spices.
• Baingan Bharta – Baked or flame-roasted eggplant mashed and cooked with onion, garlic, green chillies, tomatoes, and spices.
The method of preparation is as simple as frying the selected spices in minimal oil in a wok, and adding the vegetable, any spice powders like sabji masala and then cooking till done. If more than one vegetable is involved the one that takes longest to cook, goes in first followed by the others.
There also exist certain vegetable preparations that can be made either in the dry fashion or cooked in gravy – Aloo matar for instance is a dish that can have boiled and spiced potatoes with peas as a dry dish or with additional onion tomato gravy in the form of a curry. Similarly, Matar mushroom can have curried peas and mushroom or can be a dry dish with the vegetables only cooked with some sliced onions and tomatoes if at all.
A mixed vegetable combination would obviously tend to deliver more with respect to the nutritional content when compared to a single vegetable Sukhi Sabji.
• In the aloo gobhi, potatoes provide a source of starch and are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Cauliflower added to it provides indophenolic compounds that have anti-cancer properties; addition of some dry kasoori methi would increase the fibre, mineral and flavour attributes of this dish.
• Low-fat cottage cheese is a great protein source and bell peppers raise the fibre value, making it a dish fit for the weight conscious if prepared in minimal olive oil.
• In bhindi aloo, the okra must be gently fried in little soya bean/olive or rice bran oil and not deep fried in order to retain its nutritional quality.
• In gavarfalli ki sukhi sabji, the benefits of fibre and folic acid-rich cluster beans is multiplied by the use of flavour-imparting garlic, which also has a positive impact on blood sugar and cholesterol levels, making this an ideal offering for Diabetics and heart patients. With use of lime juice instead of salt, even hypertensives can partake of it.
• Karele ki sukhi sabji consists of bitter gourd, stuffed with some chopped onions flavoured with dry Indian spice powders stuffed and some resonant spices, coated in curds and preferably shallow fried or pan fried or even better baked, to create a truly delectable dish of a nutritious vegetable, most people have a strong aversion to. Given the health benefits of bitter gourd this is a sukhi sabji that will easily strike a chord among diabetics, overweight and persons with elevated cholesterol.
• Baingan bharta is a favourite sukhi sabji that has a strong ginger, garlic, green chilli connotation with multiple health benefits in terms of fibre, vitamin and mineral content.
Sukhi Sabji Vs Curry
- Curries or gravies most often make use of a tomato or onion paste for the gravy base. As compared to cut slices or cubes, the surface area exposed is greater when a paste is prepared by finely grinding the vegetable. Owing to this, the nutrient losses through surface exposure is maximised.
- In general, it is believed that Sukhi Sabjis tend to take lesser time in preparation, thus nutrient losses through prolonged heat exposure may be reduced. Hence on this account, they may score over more elaborate curries that require longer time for cooking.