Recipe taken from from Biting Biting: Snacking Gujarati-style By Urvashi Roe
Urvashi Roe was brought up in a family who loved to snack. Any news of impending visitors would prompt a flurry of activity in the kitchen. Within 30 minutes her mother and aunties would have the ‘biting biting’ prepared – a spread of vegetarian and vegan snacks made with store cupboard ingredients and leftovers.
Biting Biting is a celebration of this delicious family custom, and of the food of the Gujarati diaspora in Africa and in the UK.
Extremely tasty, quick and easy to prepare these snacks will set your tastebuds buzzing. Next time you have guests for tea or you need a little something that’s not quite lunch or dinner, you can simply reach for some Biting Biting inspiration.
We are extremely happy to be publishing this wonderful Biting Biting cook book in September 2022. So we thought we would give you a taste of what delights you can expect by sharing this tasty Onion and Tomato Curry recipe taken from the book with you to try out and enjoy over the summer.
Enjoy your Biting Biting!
A Brief Introduction To Shaak
In Sanskrit saka means ‘vegetable but in Gujarti it is the word we use for ‘curry’. Depending on which part of Gujarat you are from, you might say shaak or saak. My family all say shaak except for my friend Kavita who says saak. Shaak can be dry or with sauce, and it can feature a stuffed vegetable, single vegetable or combination of vegetables. It is often associated with certain rituals or functions – for example, at weddings you will often see potato shaak, mixed vegetable and dumpling shaak and some form of lilotri or green vegetable shaak.
Usually on weekdays we have one shaak with rotli. On a weekend or at family functions we may have a few more. When I first got married my husband always got three of four shaak at dinner as he was the Jamai (son-in-law) in favour. Nowadays he gets one unless my mum needs a job doing around the house or garden.
Onion And Tomato Curry (Shaak) Recipe By Urvashi Roe
When you literally have a bare fridge and are not in the mood for a complex cook, this is your recipe. It is guaranteed to fill the kitchen with a wonderful aroma and bring warmth and comfort at the end of a long, tiring day. It’s fast to make and you can eat it unceremoniously with your fingers on cold leftover rice, crusty day-old parotha or even on toast or in a sandwich. We like it with torn baguette too. You can omit the ghee but I find it adds a velvety, buttery sheen, making this dish one you’ll want to lick off your plate. Green tomatoes or tomatillos work exceptionally well.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ghee
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp amchur
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, grated (optional)
4 large tomatoes, halved and cut into 2cm slices
Heat the vegetable oil and ghee in a wok or large saucepan until the ghee has completely melted and started sizzling. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow them to fizzle and pop for a few seconds. Quickly add the sliced onions and sauté them briefly so they are well coated. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin, amchur and salt and then toss well so everything is thoroughly combined. Add a shot glass of water and the garlic if you are using it, cover and cook for five minutes on a medium heat until the onions are just starting to soften.
Take a moment here to inhale the aromas and commend yourself for making this epic dish.
Carefully fold in the tomatoes, then cover and cook for a further two minutes so the tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape. Eat immediately!
If for some crazy reason you have leftovers you can spoon the cold shaak over buttery toast and top with a fried or poached egg. Or this makes a great topping on hummus scattered over with toasted sunflower seeds and scooped up with pitta bread.
You can pre-order Biting Biting direct from us here