Having stayed in Mumbai from childhood I have heard and eaten Undhiyu few times though I never had any fancy to it. Undhiyu is a preparation of assorted vegetables from Gujarat. Iam not very sure if it is a snack or something to be had as a main course. However, it is quite healthy with an assortment of vegetables slow cooked overnight. ‘undhu’ in Gujarati means upside down in Gujarati. The traditional way to cook Undhiyu is in an earthern pot. That’s why it is also called MatlaUndhiyu.
An assortment of vegetables is cooked in an earthen pot, buried in the ground and set fire from above to cook it. The assortment of vegetables is placed in the earthen pot as per the time taken by each vegetable to cook. The vegetables which take maximum time to cook is placed at the bottom of the pot or forms the first layer. It is a traditional Gujarati winter specialty and packs in a lot of nutrition. It is a humble food of farmers yore but now it is on its way to becoming an exotic food. The main ingredients are brinjals, potatoes, papdi, purple or yellow yam, seasonal vegetables etc. These are slowly cooked along with aromatic spices in earthen pots.
During one of my trips to meet a client I happened to visit Hazira near Surat for a meeting. After my meeting I was returning to Mumbai by road. Just near Valsad on NH48 I saw some people in the dark cooking and I saw such activity impermanently on the road. Out of curiosity my colleagues and I decided to stop and check it out. We saw these people were preparing & selling Undhiyu. They were preparing this in the traditional way. We lost no time in requesting them to let us have some. The Undhiyu tasted superb. It had an earthy taste and the spices were just yum. The Undhiyu tasted very different to the one’s I had tasted in the restaurants in Mumbai. This Undhiyu is a must try if you happen to be on NH48 during a wintery night. Locally it is also called Umbadiyu or Ubadiyu.