Every region has its own special winter food…..in Gujarat Undhiyu is the one. As we switch from Parsi cuisine to Gujarati….let me tell you……Undhiyu to a Gujarati is like Dhansak to a Parsi. And then there is something called MatlaUndhiyu.
Have lived all my life in Gujarat and have had Matla Undhiyu way too many times but had never even heard of this modified and more interesting version of the same till a few years back again on the NH8 while driving down to Kolhapur.
For those who have not even heard of “MatlaUndhiyu” ….its an earthern pot full of smoky baked vegetables such as brinjals, jacket potatoes, a green pod pulse called papdi, purple and yellow yam served with oil and chutneys given separately. The vegetables are baked in an earthern pot which is sealed with aromatic leaves and buried in a hole in the ground , covered with hay and cow dung cakes that are burnt for about 40 minutes. Umbadiyu is a bit different…..the difference being, the vegetables buried underground in an earthern pot are sprinkled with an array of spices.
As you drive on NH8….between Surat and Vapi you start noticing these small shacks with boards with “Umbadiyu” written in Gujarati on them ( Earlier used to see them only in winters….but have recently started seeing them all year round). The first time we stopped it was just out of curiosity. As we sat on a bench at the shack the owner of the shack quickly rushed to dig out an earthern pot to serve us…..
As the pot is placed on the table you can smell the aroma of earthy flavours coupled with a blend of spices which transforms the regular “MatlaUndhiyu” into a peppier and tastier dish and a perfect street food. The smoky, earthy aroma makes this dish absolutely irresistible!!!
A glass of Buttermilk goes perfectly well with “Umbadiyu”, being a bit spicy. Although, people not comfortable with absolute street food may prefer to avoid it.
“Umbadiyu” or “Ubadiyu” as some people call, has to be eaten fresh…..just pulled out of the ground………..Have tried carrying it back home but the spices got too deep into the vegetables making it hotter and stronger on flavours which at times may not taste great.
Overall this street food is a perfect example of how the same dish transforms into an altogether new one as the culture changes just a few hundred kilometers apart.
So the next time you are on NH8 don’t miss these “unmissables”! And every time you embark on journeys near or far…….don’t just explore new places……..explore your taste buds as well…….Coz you would love the way food preserves memories for a lifetime!