It may be a simple potpourri of vegetables but it serves as a healthy and complete meal when paired with the Fish Pulau and Raita.
How old were you when you started cooking? I started learning cooking from my mom when I was maybe about 10 years old.
Personal wish related to cooking: I wish to continue cooking for my family.
Seema Melwani , A cook with love for food
The Sindhi cuisine has a large variety of food that the Sindhis love to indulge in. Fish Pulau with Sai Bhaji and Carrot & Cucumber Raita, is one dish which may look modest, but hard to beat in terms of its simplicity, nutritional value, availability of ingredients and taste.
Being the eldest in the family, I often had to help my mother cook meals for the family when I was younger. My mother would lay out all the ingredients and tell me to prepare them for cooking. This is where I got my basic cooking skills and I was able to understand how ingredients could be put together to create a meal.
The Fish Pulau has been a family favourite since I was a child. It is a versatile dish – the fish can easily be replaced with chicken, prawns or mixed vegetables to suit a variety of palate. The Raita is commonly eaten with Sindhi food as a refreshing side dish with a heavy meal.
The Sai Bhaji, however, was not something that we children liked because of the vegetables in it. I used to ask my mother, “Why do only we Sindhis eat spinach cooked together with a variety of vegetables and lentils?” She told me that our ancestors used to love eating a lot of meat and often neglected the vegetables in their meals. The hero of my story is the Sai Bhaji. It may be a simple potpourri of vegetables but it serves as a healthy and complete meal when paired with the Fish Pulau and Raita.
Our grandmothers believed that eating meat was very “heaty” for the body. They improvised the Sai Bhaji by adding a variety of vegetables and lentils with spinach and serving it with the Fish Pulau, thereby introducing a nutritious meal of protein combined with carbohydrates from the rice and all the goodness of vegetables with their vitamins and minerals. To disguise the “much hated vegetables”, the ingredients are mashed together, which makes the dish look more appetising and taste appealing to meat-lovers.
This meal is a reflection of the Sindhi culture. Here’s hoping that all of you enjoy cooking and eating this family favourite, and are able to experience some of the Sindhi culture with it. Mazzo vatho khade jo (Enjoy the meal)!