Sindhi Seyal Dabroti

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Sindhis are a resourceful, entrepreneurial, and creative bunch. As a global community of migrants, making the best of what you got is truly ingrained in their way of life. There is zero tolerance for wastage as exemplified by my father, who used both sides of every paper before it heads towards the bin.

Even their cuisine reflects their enterprising nature. Leftover dal is mixed with atta to make a sort of griddle roti, our saibhaji is what came out of leftover mung bean dal and lots of spinach ... and mani seyal, a favorite Sindhi breakfast dish of mine is basically leftover seyal mixed with leftover rotis or manis, which is what we Sindhis call chapatis or rotis.

It's been forever and a half since I had mani seyal, so by gosh, I was going to make a typical Sindhi breakfast of seyal dabroti for tomorrow. Dabroti being bread ... since of course, I am not the kind of lady of the house who is able to whip up chapatis on a moment's notice. I, unfortunately, have never been trained in the ways of that world. So no mani, just dabroti for me.

But I so fancy, I only had ciabatta rolls, and on top of that, turned this dish into a strata aka casserole, so actually this dish should be called this seyal ciabatta casserole! Hey, that's probably the breakfast you would have if there was Sindhi and Italian blood in you, and you grew up in the midwest or southern parts of the U.S. LOL!

As I was saying, this is basically a leftover dish, so any breakfast starches you throw into this fabulous gravy will work ... bread slices, baguette slices (they never last in my home), dinner rolls or pavs, even tortillas will do. Just get it going.

Also, I really like breakfast strata, so I turned this into one. But when aunts and cooks made it at home back then, they would just tear up the bread or mani right into the pan, stir through, and serve. Kinda messy but oh-so-good!

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp mustard seeds
12-15 curry leaves
1 medium onion, minced
3/4 inch ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green chilies, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1 bunch coriander leaves (a packed cup), chopped finely
1 cup water
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
12 ciabatta rolls (preferably day or two old), cubed

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
2. When the seeds start to sizzle, cook the onions, ginger, garlic, and green chilies until it turns into a golden mush.
3. Add the tomatoes, along with the rest of the dry spices: turmeric, coriander, cumin, and Kashmiri chili powder.
4. Cook until it turns into a paste and oil starts to separate from the paste.
5. Mix in the chopped cilantro / coriander leaves and water, cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, adding more water to make a soup-like consistency
6. Add salt as required, and the garam masala.
7. Fold in the cubed bread, stir until it is fully immersed.

To serve it now:
8. Continue cooking in the pan for 3 to 5 minutes for the bread to soak up all the juices.

To make it a strata or baked dish:
8. Transfer it into a rectangular baking dish, cover with foil.
9. Press down with a heavy pan or some bowls so the bread sinks in the gravy and soaks up all the goodness.
This may take up to 15-20 minutes.
At this point you may cool completely, then place in the refrigerator to bake the next morning. Or bake it now, uncovered, in a preheated 175C or 350F oven for 20-25 minutes until warmed through.

Whatever you decide, serve with a shed load of papad ;)

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