Growing up in a multi cultural community in Bombay has its benefits. Home to Indians from across the country; that hail from various communities. More importantly a chance to eat amazing food from each culture without really having to leave the city. Bengali, Keralan, Marathi, Goan, Punjabi and Gujarati food all of which I have grown up eating and have been fortunate to see my mother cook some dishes from the communities whilst at the same time visiting family friends and relatives who have not only been generous enough to share a slice of their exciting food repertoire but also family recipes that have made every dish I cook so unique and delicious.
Mum always made Sai Bhaji at home and it’s a recipe she was given by a really close friend who hailed from the Sindhi community in Mumbai. The community hails from Sindh, Pakistan many of whom migrated after Partition. Sindhis are renowned for some fantastic dishes and much to my surprise their cuisine isn’t really prevalent in the west as I think it should be. The flavours, use of spices and method of cooking make it special.
Dal Kachori, Bori, Sindhi Kadhi Chawal. For anyone that’s reading this & is a Sindhi let it be known that for me nothing spells comfort food like Sai Bhaji pulao.
One of the recipes thats an all time favourite is Koki. A typical breakfast dish of warm spiced bread made with whole meal flour, onions and chillies. This Indian bread is easy to make as the dough doesn’t need to rest. Koki can be served with a vegetable curry or even plain dal. I prefer it just with some spicy pickle and a good dollop of yoghurt.
In a bowl mix the flour, chopped onions, chillies, cumin seeds, pomegranate powder and coriander leaves. Add the softened butter and salt. Mix well and add the water little at a time to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. Knead well and divide into equal portions.
The koki should be still thick so roll the dough out to no more 8cm in diameter. Heat the pan. Add the koki to the warm pan. Cook for 5-7 seconds over medium heat and turn over to cook the underside. Add a tsp of oil on the top side and flip over again. Cook for a further minute on each side as it begins to change colour and has a few brown speckles on the bread. Keep warm wrapped in a cloth or foil while you make the rest. Serve warm with a pickle & some yoghurt or a curry.