Bhujia: Read About This Purvanchal-Style Vegetable Preparation
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Amongst the many styles of vegetable preparations in Purvanchali cuisine, the bhujia – a stir frying method of cooking with ingredients is quite fascinating. Similar to the South Indian poriyal, where the cuts of vegetables and even-sized and precise, the bhujia also utilises a similar approach during the preparation process. Vegetables like radish, taro root, okra, ivy gourd, potatoes and snake gourd are some of the commonly used ingredients for this dry sabzi.

As diverse Purvanchali or Bhojpuri cuisine is in its wide number of bread preparations like litti, pua, dhuska and thekua, the dishes they’re eaten with also play an important role in adding to the experience. For the bhujia, vegetables are cooked in mustard oil and seasoned with spices, until they cook in their natural moisture and get to a point where they develop a crisp crust. This juxtaposition of the soft vegetable with a crisp exterior also pairs well with parathas and rotis.

Most interestingly, Purvanchali vegetable preparations have their signature underlying flavours – for example, the chokha will have a smoky aftertaste as a result of flame-roasting vegetables – whereas the kalauji cooks whole vegetables with a savoury stuffing. Similarly, the bhujia’s caramelised crisp flavour is also excellent when paired with a simple serving of dal-chawal. Another nuance about the bhujia that gives the dish its unique flavour is the chaunk – or a style of tempering where cumin seeds, red chillies and garlic are tossed into hot oil, as a way of extracting maximum flavour. Here is a recipe for the popular ivy gourd or kundru bhujia to enjoy with your chapatis, parathas and bread.


  • 250 grams kundru
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
  • 3 red chillies, broken
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 6 cloves whole garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt, to taste

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  • Slice the kundru into matchsticks and set aside while you bring the mustard oil in a pan to smoking point. Add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, garlic, red and green chillies and allow them to splutter.
  • Add the ivy gourd to the pan and toss in the whole spices to coat the vegetables. Season with the spice powders and salt and cook for 10-12 minutes on a low flame.
  • If the sabzi is too dry before the vegetables are cooked, sprinkle a tablespoon or two of water to help the kundru soften.
  • Increase the flame and continue to mix the vegetables until all the moisture evaporates and they develop a light brown colour. Turn off the flame and add the lemon juice before mixing well.
  • Serve hot with rotis, parathas and dal-chawal.