Golyaachi Aamti or Golyaachaa Saambaaraa

When we started this project, a number of relatives and friends got in touch giving us encouragement and suggestions for recipes that they’ve all grown up with or recollect from childhood. One recipe which was common across the various suggestions was Golyaachi Aamti or Golyaachaa Saambaaraa. This can be roughly translated as “balls curry”.

This vegetarian dish is indeed a delicacy from the region. Various regions of Maharashtra as well as other parts of India have a similar or equivalent dish. The recipe below is the way it is made in the Sindhudurg / Ratnagiri region. And yes, even within this region, different families and regions have their own little variations or special touches. The recipe below is from my mom and grandmother’s kitchen…

Ingredients:

Part #1 : For the ‘Golay’ or ‘Balls’

  • Gram Flour (Besan) – 5 tablespoons
  • Onion – 1 big or 2 small – finely chopped
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste – half a tsp
  • Red Chilly Powder – quarter tsp
  • Turmeric powder (Haldi) – half a tsp
  • Asafoetida (Heeng) – half a tsp
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp

Part #2 : For the Goli or Vaatap

  • Coconut, fresh – grated – 2 tablespoons
  • Peppercorns – 5 to 7
  • Chopped onion (use from part #1)

Part #3 : For the Gravy or Aamti

  • Tamarind – size of one lemon
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder (Haldi) – quarter tsp
  • Red Chilly Powder – quarter tsp
  • Salt – half a tsp
  • Chopped Onion (use from part #1)

Procedure:

Soak the tamarind in half a cup of water. Keep aside.

Also keep about 2 tsps of the chopped onion aside (one tsp for the Vaatap and one tsp for the Aamti)

First, we get the Vaatap done. Like in most curries from kokan, the Vaatap is the base for the curry. Grind the grated coconut, peppercorns and 1 tsp of chopped onion into a fine thick paste, adding water as required. Keep aside.

Next, we make the Golay or balls. Add the ginger-garlic paste, chilly powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt to the rest of the chopped onion. Pour 1 tsp of oil on the palm of your hand and crush the mix well, till the mix is well blended. Add the besan to this mix along with some water. The resultant dough should not be very thick or dry. At the same time, it should not be watery. It should be thick enough to roll into balls. The picture below should give you an idea of how the dough should look:

Roll into small lemon-sized balls. These are the “Golay” of the “Golyaachi Aamti”. Note that these DON’T really get ‘rolled’ into perfect balls like when you make laddoos – since the dough consistency is not thick enough. So a ‘Gola’ looks something like this :

Keep the golay aside.

Now we start on the ‘Aamti’ or the curry. In a pan heat one tsp of oil and add 1 tsp of the chopped onion that you had kept aside. After the onion becomes brown, add two cups of water and the turmeric (quarter tsp), red chilly powder (quarter tsp) and salt. Let the water boil really well. Now drop the golay or balls into the water along with the paste of the tamarind that you had soaked initially. Note that the gas should be on full flame while dropping the balls. Reduce the flame once you are done.

The balls rise to the surface once they are cooked. Boil till this happens. Then, continuing on the reduced heat, add the ‘goli’ or ‘vaatap’ and bring the aamti to a low boil. And you are done!

Some folks add some ‘Goda Masala’ (a masala used fairly commonly in this part of the country) to the gola mix. Some add a bit of ‘Dhaniya-Jeera’ powder too. Some families like adding one or two bits of tiny coconut pieces inside each ball. So, basically, you can try adding these little touches to your Aamti too!

Golyaachi Aamti goes well with Rice or Chappatis.

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