If you were to go out and tell someone you had salna with parotta, they would immediately ask for the name of the place where you had it..In the South, salna is a gravy [packed with masala] that is served along with parotta.. In fact what is served is called as empty paratha salna – just the gravy and no vegetables or anything else..
But in my family salna means something completely different.. It is a dish invented by my great grandfather and I have no idea how he came about it or what prompted him to do it the way they do it. But I guarantee you won’t find it anywhere outside my family.
Note: when I say “my family” I am referring to my maternal side- grandfather, his siblings, their kids & grandkids.. 🙂
It is a pure veg dish almost like the sambar with minor tweaks in it..
Grandma used to talk about how they made a giant pot full of salna every Sunday. Whatever was left over from lunch would be mopped up with loaves of bread in the evening and that would be the last meal for the day.
Few things she is particular about this dish are
1. The vegetables need to be cut in small cubes and uniform in size.
2. It would be good to have brussel sprouts in it [she has told me of times when they ditched the dish cos they didn’t have sprouts]
Recently on my visit to the US – my uncle made salna just the way they make it back home, with Brussels sprouts..lol
Since we got back, I have mentioned of this dish quite of you times and today my partner was like “you keep talking about it but you haven’t in made it” and that’s how we ended up having salna for lunch.
Salna, the recipe
Ingredients: [made enough for 2 people]
Vegetables – Tomatoes, Beetroot, carrot, cauliflower, beans, peas, onions [baby onions], Brussel sprouts
Ginger – 1 inch piece [peeled]
Green chillies – 1 to 2 or more [depending on your spice level], cut in half
Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp [either store bought paste or soak a small lemon size tamarind in hot water, extract pulp]
Sambar Powder – 1tbsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Toor dal -2-3 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – to temper
Water – 3/4 litre [ enough to cover the veggies & dal]
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp [for tempering]
Lemon – 1/2 lime juice [add more if you like a sharp hit]
In a pressure cooker, add the oil, mustard seeds, ginger and green chillies. Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter
Now add the veggies and sauté them for a few mins
Add enough water to cover the veggies
Now add the salt, sambar powder, Turmeric powder, Toor dal & tamarind paste/ extracted pulp
Cover the pressure cooker and wait for 2 whistles, sim the stove and allow another 8-10mins before turning it off.
Squeeze lime once you open the cooker.
Served best with onion raita, lady’s finger raita or appals/pappad and hot rice + ghee.
Psst – As the day wears on you will notice the salna thicken, it becomes yummier & spicier….