Greens and papaya sidedish (Vali bhajji – pappayi randayi)

In the next few days, I will post some traditional side-dishes prepared by my mother. I absolutely love these sides.
Let me start with my favourite dish.

This is prepared with raw papayas grown at home. The second main ingredient is ‘vali bhajji’, which is also called as Indian Spinach, Malabar Spinach or Vietnamese Spinach. These are available in all american grocery stores (it is called as ‘spinach’, it is a bit different than ‘palak’). This is easily available in Mangalore stores in India (called as ‘basale soppu’ in Kannada and ‘vaali’ in Marathi). If this green vegetable is not available, use normal palak for this dish, but this dish tastes great with ‘vali’ as a few tender stems are also used for this dish and the stems enhance the taste.

When we were kids, mom used to serve mini-meals to us when we came back from school at 11.30 (our school timings were 8-11 and 2-5). Usually a kind of rice item called as ‘Pej'(Konkani) or ‘Ganji'(Kannada) or Conjee(English) was searved for this meal. This dish has a ‘bland’ taste to it, because it is made of only boiled rice and lot of water(it is a watery dish). Some people serve salt, ghee and milk with ‘pej‘. I absolutely loved any side dish served with this ‘pej’. One such side dish was ‘vali bhajji – pappayi randayi’. Still I make this combo, but as a lunch or dinner, because there is no time for any mini-meals now :).

Other Vali dishes I have posted so far are ‘vali bhajji-sungta ambat‘ and ‘vali bhajji ambat‘.

Vali bhajji 2 cups
Raw papaya (cut into big pieces) 1 and 1/2 cups
Coconut 1/2 cup
Toor daal 1/2 cup
Coriander seeds 1/2 tea spn
Red chillies 4-5
Tamarind 1/2 tea spn
Turmeric a pinch
Jaggery 1 and half tea spns
Oil 1 tea spn
Garlic cloves 2-3 (If Indian garlic is used, increase this amount to 5-6)

Note : this dish is a bit sweetish.

Cook daal with a pinch of turmeric till soft. Cook vali and papaya (for 1-2 wistles if cooker is used. Papaya should not become paste).
Heat oil and fry coriander seeds. (if the red chillies have become soft, fry them also. Because this crispy chillies can be ground faster). Grind fried coriander, chillies, tamarind and coconut to a smooth paste.
Add ground masala, cooked vali-papaya to daal. Add salt. Cook for around 10mins. Remove from flame.
Heat 1/2 tea spn oil and add garlic. Fry till they turn to brown. Add this to the dish and immediately close the lid to retain the smell.
Serve hot with ‘pej’ or normal rice.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 20mins

PS: Garlic skin should be completely removed before frying them, better yet, cut them into two. If they are fried with skins, they pop up and cause serious burns.
Many people don’t add Toor daal to this dish, we add it for the thickness.

11 thoughts on “Greens and papaya sidedish (Vali bhajji – pappayi randayi)”

  1. Hi Shilpa….I too love this randayi very much. Tastes gr8 with raw papaya. Here i have seen vali in the Indian stores. Do you get raw papaya here? Thanks for posting a forgotten recipe. We too used to have pej in native place at about 10.30 am, but now most of the families have stopped this mid meal.

  2. Aruna, Raw papays are available at Chinese market and rarely in farmer’s market also. But I haven’t seen then in American grocery stores.

  3. Shilpa, i love pappaya used to make a sabji too..but dont remember them now..thanks for sharing..

    BTW shilpa i have seen the raw pappaya in PATH MARK stores..But it is seasonal i guess…

  4. This looks great – thanks!

    I had no idea green papaya was used in Indian cooking. I only use it for Thai salads. They are widely available at Vietnamese or Cambodian markets, and sometimes at local specialty markets (i.e. Berkeley Bowl here in the SF Bay Area). Although since turnover isn’t as fast in the regular supermarket, choice and freshness are much better at the Vietnamese markets.

    Is “Indian Spinach” or “Vietnamese spinach” either of the following…
    a) amaranth (there are two kinds – red and green, both with floppy leaves). A summer green, available widely here in asian markets this time of year.
    b) water spinach, also known as morning glory. It has hollow stems and long arrow shaped leaves.

  5. Ohhh…I think this might be what the Thai call “slippery vegetable” (in Chinese sen choi). I see it sometimes at the Chinese markets. I love its flavor, and will definitely try this.

    Thanks for the great reference link!

  6. My mom calls this “pejje randayi” (to be eaten with “pej”… In her version, she does not add any dal and she grinds coconut, red chillies, garlic, a little soaked raw rice, red chillies and tamarind.. Adds the masolu to boiled vali and papaya and then tempers it with fried garlic\curry leaves…Sjhe also makes this with “Red Bhajji” which turns a beautiful red in colour !!

  7. Hi Shilpa,
    Today i was thinking,what should i make using raw papaya beside the regular papaya salad.
    Your recipe is littel bit different.I will definately try this.
    Thanks for such a nice recipe.

  8. Yesterday i try this recipe using Spinach insted of Vali bhaji.It was very delicious.My husband likes it very much.
    Can i make masala & keep it in freeze,so that when it will take less time for the preparation of bhaji.Is it affet the smell of masala.May the fresh masala flavour is more than the frozen one.

    Shilpa: I do not think it is good idea to make masala and keep. You can use frozen coconut to start with, which makes things faster.

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