Here’s a Gujarati style Sem Ki Sabji that will surely reiterate your love for this special varieties of flat beans, locally known as valor papdi and surti papdi. This is a dry preparation that can be made as a side dish with Indian flatbreads like chapatis or phulkas and made into a wholesome and balanced meal. This Sem Sabji is a popular dish from the vibrant cuisine of Gujarat in the western part of the Indian subcontinent. Since all ingredients in this recipe are plant-based, it also vegan friendly, is easy to make, yet comforting and delicious.
About Sem Ki Sabji
Before anything else, the name of this Gujarati style shaak or sabji literally means a dry veggie preparation made with potatoes (aloo), a type of flat beans (sem or valor papdi), spices and seasonings. Thus, when in the state of Gujarat, this dish is also referred to as Papdi nu Shaak.
Surti papdi and valor papdi are flat bean varieties that are a specialty of the Indian winter season. It is also known as field beans, broad beans in English and val papdi, sem ki phalli in other Indian languages.
In Maharashtra, Gujarat and South India there are many recipes that are made with this variety of flat beans.
Although in this post, I have shared a typical Gujarati way of making the Sem Sabji, but this recipe has different variations in North India as well, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
At home, I make this delish recipe with both valor papdi and surti papdi. In this particular post, I have used valor papdi.
So, besides the flat beans and potatoes, other ingredients that go in this Gujarati style papdi sabji recipe are carom seeds (ajwain), green chili, ginger, garlic and asafoetida (hing).
I also add spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, sugar coupled with white sesame seeds, fresh grated coconut, coriander leaves and lemon juice.
Thus, you can feel a slight tang in the dish, which is due to the use of lemon juice in it. There’s also a next level texture that can be felt in this preparation that comes from the crunchy sesame and earthy coconut added in it.
About My Recipe
This Sem Ki Sabji is an easy and simple recipe, and you don’t have to worry reading the tad long ingredient list. Also, because most of the ingredients are the ones that are usually available at any Indian home kitchen across the country.
To make this Gujarati style Papdi nu Shaak with valor papdi, I use the same masala that is used in another classic Gujarati dish called Undhiyu.
I also add some potatoes or brinjals in it, though you might not find brinjal in this specific recipe on the blog as I didn’t have it then.
Either potatoes or brinjals alone can be added or both together can also be added. You can even skip these vegetables, if you want. Onion is not added in the recipe, but you can add, if you want.
Like I mentioned earlier, this shaak recipe has a sweet and sour taste. To make this shaak, you can even use surti papdi. This dish is best served with phulka, bajra roti or jowar roti. You can also serve it as a side dish with Gujarati dal and rice.
Flat beans are a favorite at my home and I make quite a few recipes with them, on a daily basis, as per the availability.
How to make Sem Ki Sabji
1. Firstly, rinse 150 grams flat beans very well. Then, string each flat bean and pull the pods apart.
You have to open the pods to see if there are worms or mould in them. Discard the beans, if they have a mould or worms.
2. Chop or break each pod in 2.
3. This way string, open and break each flat bean. You will need 2 cups chopped valor papdi. Keep aside.
4. In a mortar, take 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves, 1 inch ginger and 1 chopped green chili.
5. Crush to a paste with a pestle. Keep aside.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. You can use peanut oil or sunflower oil. Add ¼ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain) and let it splutter on a low heat.
7. Then, add the prepared ginger-garlic-green chili paste.
8. Sauté on low heat for a few seconds or till raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away.
9. Now, add 2 medium peeled and chopped potatoes.
10. Add 1 pinch asafoetida (hing).
11. Mix and sauté potatoes for about two minutes on low to medium-low heat.
Make Aloo Sem Ki Sabji
12. Add chopped flat beans.
13. Then, add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder and ½ teaspoon coriander powder.
14. Mix well.
15. Now, add ½ cup water and mix again.
16. Simmer on medium-low heat till the water comes to a boil.
17. Then, add 3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut.
18. Next, add 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds.
19. Then, add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.
20. Season with 1 teaspoon salt or add as required. Also, add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or as per taste.
21. Mix very well.
22. Cover the pan and simmer the vegetables on low to medium-low heat.
23. In between, check the vegetables and stir.
24. If the water dries up and potatoes are not cooked, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons more water or as required.
25. Cover the pan and simmer till the potatoes are tender and cooked. Once the potatoes are done, if there is any water left, cook without the lid till all the water evaporates.
26. Once done, add add 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
27. Stir and check taste. Add some more lemon juice, if required.
28. Lastly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and mix.
29. Serve Sem ki Sabji with roti, phulka or bhakri.
- This recipe can be made with any variety of flat beans.
- Make sure to string the flat beans, pull the pods apart and check for the presence of any mould or worms in them. If present, discard.
- You can even add potatoes and brinjals in this recipe, or add both or make this recipe without any of these veggies.
- The choice of fat to cook this dish can be sunflower oil or peanut oil.
- You can make this dish without adding the coconut and lemon juice as well.
- The quantity of sugar can also be adjusted according to your palate preferences.
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Sem Ki Sabji | Surti Papdi Recipe | Valor Papdi Shaak
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 green chilli – crushed
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves – medium, crushed or ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 inch ginger or ½ teaspoon chopped ginger, crushed
- 2 potatoes – medium-sized or ½ cup chopped potatoes
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 150 grams flat beans (sem) or 2 cups chopped valor papdi or 2 cups surti papdi
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or add as required
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or add as required
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons coconut – fresh, grated
- 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 1 to 2 teaspoon lemon juice or add as per taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves – for garnish
Preparation for surti papdi recipe
- Firstly rinse the flat beans or sem (valor papdi or surti papdi) very well. Then string each flat bean and pull the pods apart. You have to open the pods to see if there are worms or mould in them. Discard the beans if they have a mould or worms in them.
- Chop or break each pod in two.
- This way string, open and break each flat beans. You will need 2 cups chopped valor papdi or surti papdi. Keep aside.
- In a mortar pestle take the peeled garlic cloves, ginger and green chili (chopped).
- Crush to a paste. Keep aside.
Making surti papdi
- Heat oil in a pan. You can use peanut oil or sunflower oil. Add carom seeds (ajwain) and let them splutter.
- Then add the ginger+garlic+green chili paste.
- Sauté for a few seconds till raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away.
- Now add the chopped potatoes and asafoetida (hing).
- Mix and sauté potatoes for about two minutes on low to medium-low heat.
- Then add chopped sem or papdi beans.
- Next add turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder.
- Mix well.
- Add ½ cup water and mix again.
- Simmer on medium low heat till the water comes to a boil.
- Then add fresh grated coconut, white sesame seeds and chopped coriander leaves.
- Season with 1 teaspoon salt or add as required. Also add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or add as per taste.
- Mix very well.
- Cover the pan and simmer veggies on a low to medium-low heat.
- In between check the veggies and stir them.
- If water dries up and potatoes are not cooked, then add more 2 to 3 tablespoons water or as required.
- Cover pan and simmer till the potatoes are tender and cooked.
- Once the potatoes are cooked and tender, if there is any water left, then cook without lid till all the water evaporates. Once the sabji is done, add add 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- Stir and check taste. Add some more lemon juice if required.
- Lastly add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and mix.
- Serve Sem ki Sabji with roti, phulka or bhakri.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Sem Ki Sabji recipe from the archives, originally published in January 2018 has been updated and republished on February 2023.