Winter Special - Try This Green Garlic Zunka
Image Credit: Zunka bhakri

Zunka, a gram flour curry made with a tempering of mustard seeds, onions, green chillies and spices, is synonymous with Maharashtra’s rustic fare and food of the humble. It is usually accompanied by jowar bhakris, thecha and a smashed raw onion. With the onset of winter and abundance in the diversity of fresh produce in local vegetable markets, fresh green garlic makes an appearance.

Apart from its extensive use in winter specials like undhiyo, stuffing for parathas and even chutneys, the seasonal green tastes sublime in the zunka. The spicy, slightly sweet curry packs quite a punch with strong flavours like onions, cumin and coriander. Considered as the poor man’s food, it was first introduced as part of a scheme by a political party with the intent of making nutritious food accessible to the common people in Mumbai. Find a recipe to make a seasonal variation of this beloved dish:

Recipe for Zunka:


  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
  4. 10 pods fresh green garlic (keep the green parts for later)
  5. 2-3 slit green chillies
  6. 1 medium onion, chopped
  7. ½ teaspoon haldi
  8. ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  9. 3 tablespoons gram flour
  10. 1-2 tablespoons hot water
  11. Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a pan and temper the asafoetida and mustard seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the chillies and green garlic cloves. Sauté until they turn aromatic and add in the onions.
  2. Continue to cook the onions until they go from translucent to pink add the haldi and chilli powder. Stir well. Season with a bit of salt and mix, before adding in the gram flour. Continue to toast the gram flour in the tempering for a few minutes until it loses its raw flavour and aroma. Increase the heat and continue to stir the mixture until it starts to deepen in colour.
  3. Add the hot water in and stir until the mix in your pan begins to fluff up. If it appears too dry, add a little more water and stir to avoid any lumps. Garnish with the chopped green parts from the garlic and serve to eat with hot bhakris and thecha.