Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji – A Popular Maharashtrian Recipe
What is the one thing everyone looks forward to consuming in Winters? Butter or Ghee would be the immediate response and I am not surprised.
Now, what happens to the leftover Buttermilk after the cream is churned and butter is obtained to make ghee? Your usual response would be Kadhi – Right?
The blog post today gives you all the more reason to enjoy your leftover buttermilk along with spinach greens to create a lipsmacking Maharashtrian recipe that is our family favourite now over the years. Presenting – Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji – A Popular Maharashtrian Recipe
The Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji is a popular Maharashtrian vegetarian side dish often consumed with bhakris or gluten free flatbreads. The Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji is made with Spinach Greens or Palak cooked in the leftover buttermilk after churning the butter, few basic spices and peanut powder to create a silky delicious gravy that just doesn’t need anything else except some piping hot bhakris or flatbreads, sliced onions. This vegetarian side dish is extremely tasty, can be made easily with few basic ingredients and is gluten free. Since this is low in oil, has leafy vegetables, this can be easily consumed by diabetics too.
It is fascinating to note that each region comes up with their version of using leftover ingredients and turning them into something delicious. Clearly, in this case, a glass or two of buttermilk becomes a meal for 3 to 4 nos. of people and is relished immensely. Especially during winters, when the consumption of Chaas or Curd is low, consumption of buttermilk in the form of warm bowl of Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji is a smart way to ensure the probiotic does wonders for the body.
The recipe was shared with me by my maid who found me churning the malai at home one morning and announced “Tai, he taak mala theva, me Takachi bhaji banavnaar” which translates as, “Kindly keep the leftover buttermilk so that I can make the sabzi at home”. I immediately took my chance of noting down the recipe from her, while handing over the buttermilk happily.
The perks of living in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai is knowing people from different regions and gaining a lot of knowledge in terms of their culture and food influences too. This is a huge plus if you are a foodie (like me) constantly looking for food inspirations.
The recipe calls for leftover buttermilk. However, please don’t fret, if you do not have the buttermilk in stock after the churning. You can try this recipe by using good quality yogurt (2 tblsp with 2 cups (250 ml) of water) to get the desired consistency. Avoid adding thick curd or yogurt directly, it tends to split. I try this method when I don’t have buttermilk in stock but am craving for this vegetable. It turns out delicious.
The Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji soon became my favourite and to this day, I end up making the sabzi from the leftover buttermilk and serve it with bhakris. Since, Mumbai is still pretty much hot, I chose to serve the bhaji or sabzi with Nagliche or Nachniche Bhakri / Ragi flatbreads / Finger Millet Flatbreads, some curd on the side, pickles and sliced red onions.
You can also opt to serve this with Methi Theplas over regular rotis or phulkas or Angakar Roti which is a rice based roti, very similar to Maharashtrian Bhakri but hails from the State of Chattisgarh. A Khamang Kakdi, the Maharashtrian cucumber salad with peanuts would be an ideal side too for lunch.
Being born and brought up in Mumbai, I have every bit of the Maharashtrian soul as much as the South Indian. So, when the Shh Secretly cooking Theme announced that this month, we shall choose Maharashtrian cuisine, I jumped up and down in excitement knowing I could share the Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji as a winter special too.
I was paired with a talented blogger and friend, Sasmita, whom I requested for 2 secret ingredients – Buttermilk and Peanuts to make this dish. Guys, do check out her space First Timer Cook for some fabulous desserts and recipes from Odia cuisine. For this particular challenge, Sasmita made some delicious Misal Pav, which is one of my personal favourites too.
Texture wise, the Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji looks similar to Pithla, which is made entirely with a gram flour base. Either Methi or fenugreek leaves is added when in season but usually the pithla is preferred plain with generous lasun or garlic and green chillies for the spice. Served with a side of freshly cut onions and bhakri, this is one of the most iconic, yet simple dishes of Maharashtra.
The Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji that I have cooked can also be turned into a kadhi instead of a sabzi. Addition of more taak or buttermilk and water, would help attain the required kadhi consistency. You can also add methi leaves instead of palak, if you prefer a bit of bitter taste.
Now, lets look at the recipe, with step by step pictures of the process and make a batch of this sabzi to serve for the entire family.
Recipe for Takatli Palak Chi Bhaji
Prep Time (does not include churning for buttermilk) 10 mins
Cook Time 20 to 25 minutes
Serves 3 nos.
- 3 heaped cups Chopped Spinach or Palak
- 1 ½ cups Buttermilk
- 2 tblsp Besan or Gramflour
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 nos. finely chopped green chillies
- 1 tblsp ginger (grated)
- 1 tblsp garlic (grated)
- 2-3 nos. whole red chillies
- ¼ tsp of haldi or turmeric powder
- 2 tblsp of Roasted Peanuts
- 1 tblsp of oil (use veg oil or peanut oil)
- ¼ cup of water to adjust thickness of the gravy
- A pinch of hing or asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- Heat a kadhai, add oil, mustard seeds and allow it to crackle
- Now add hing, jeera, whole red chillies, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute well
- Add the finely chopped palak leaves, some salt and turmeric powder.
- Cook the palak or spinach leaves without any water on low heat until moisture evaporates and it turns dry. This should take 7 to 10 minutes. Keep sautéing it to avoid burning.
- In the meanwhile, take gramflour and add some water to make a thin runny paste and keep aside.
- Blitz the roasted peanuts in a mixer grinder and keep aside.
- Once the spinach is dry, add the buttermilk and the gramflour mixure.
- Quickly start mixing everything and continue to stir the mixture until it starts thickening. Do not leave it unattended or it will split and curdle.
- Check for salt, add if required.
- Allow the gram flour to cook for 5 minutes and keep adjusting the gravy consistency with water. It should be creamy and thick, similar to a makhani gravy.
- Now add the roasted and ground peanuts. Mix everything well.
- Switch off the flame and serve it with flatbreads of your choice.
If you love trying out regional recipes and especially cooking from Maharashtrian cuisine, then this recipe is definitely recommended.
If you try this at home, please give me a shout out / Tag Me on any of my social media handles.
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