National Undhiyu Day, held every January 14, celebrates the Undhiyu, a mixed vegetable dish that is a regional specialty of the Gujarati people of India. The name of this dish is derived from the Gujarati word ‘undhu,’ which means ‘upside down.’ The dish is traditionally cooked upside down underground in earthen pots, called ‘matlu,’ which are fired from above, opposing the orthodox method of firing from beneath. It is a seasonal dish, comprising a wide variety of vegetables that are available on the South Gujarat coastline — including all the encompassing regions — during winter, such as green be. These veggies are then spiced with a dry curry paste that’s a mix of various spices and sometimes freshly grated coconut.
History of National Undhiyu Day
The Undhiyu can trace its origins to pre-industrial India when food was cooked on wooden fires. Undhiyu comes in different tastes and forms depending on the availability of the ingredients. There are most notably two types of Undhiyu; one from among the Bohras and another from among the Gujaratis. The history of these two peoples is intertwined, as the Bohras migrated from Yemen to settle in the Gujarati region of India many years ago. This migration resulted in cultural exchange, and as such, Bohra food has traces of Yemeni and Gujarati food.There are many varieties of the Undhiyu, including the Surti Undhiyu, which has been sampled by most people interested in Indian food — thanks to the restaurants who specialize in this cuisine and add them to their menus year in, year out. Surti Undhiyu is said to be a variant served with puri at weddings and banquets. It is a mixed vegetable casserole, made with red lentils and seasoned with spices, grated coconut, and palm sugar in a mild sauce, and further garnished with chopped peanuts and toasted grated coconut. It is usually served with rice.
Undhiyu is the special meal prepared for the Uttarayan, which is the Indian festival of kites. The Gujaratis specialize in making Undhiyu, and the people say it is made with over 15 seasonal vegetables. On Uttarayan (Festival of Kites), when the kites soar in the sky, people on the ground line up for Undhiyu doing the rounds, and Undhiyu is as popular as a platter of jalebis. Undhiyu is the one dish that is said to be capable of ‘dividing loyalties’ among the Gujaratis, as it has achieved a cult status that transcends the Indian borders, making it into something beyond just a regional dish — a national dish with a special day dedicated just for it.
National Undhiyu Day timeline
In 1067 the Dawoodi Bohra migrate to the part of India now known as the state of Gujarat.
India becomes independent of Britain and receives her sovereignty in 1947.
The state of Gujarat is created in India in 1960.
The first Uttarayan or festival of Kites is celebrated in India in 1989.
National Undhiyu Day FAQs
What goes well with Undhiyu?
You can try to eat it with some fluffy ‘pooris’ or Bajra Roti. But feel free to try some other similar combinations and see what works best!
How healthy is Undhiyu?
Undhiyu is a dish containing a lot of vegetables that tend to be overlooked in our daily meals. Using a moderate amount of oil to complete Undhiyu, it can be considered a very healthy dish.
How many calories is there in Undhiyu?
It depends on exactly what ingredients you use and the amount of them. Generally, a serving of Undhiyu has around 700 calories.
National Undhiyu Day Activities
Make some Undhiyu
One of the most obvious ways to celebrate National Undhiyu Day is to make some Undhiyu for the culture. Look up a suitable recipe and get cooking!
Eat some Undhiyu
Well, now you’ve made Undhiyu, what next? Eat it with your friends or family! And partake of the magic of National Undhiyu Day.
Share your recipes online
Share your Undhiyu recipes online! Help someone learn it too, and spread some of that Undhiyu love.
5 Facts About Undhiyu
It takes a long time to cook
Cooking Undhiyu demands patience, as the dish requires hours to be completed.
It is a dry dish
After being completely cooked, Undhiyu has a dry appearance.
It has variations
A variation of Undhiyu, called Surti Undhiyu, is served at weddings and banquets.
A community dish
Since Undhiyu is associated with festivities, it is a great option to eat with your friends and family while relaxing.
There are modern versions
Traditional Undhiyu may take a lot of time to prepare, but some restaurants and recipes provide options to cook it quicker and go along with our busy routines.
Why We Love National Undhiyu Day
Undhiyu is nutritious
Undhiyu has a high nutritional value because it is made mostly from vegetables and spices, which all have great health qualities. You are free to enjoy more than one serving!
It is perfect for vegetarians
It is a great vegan meal as most of the components of Undhiyu are plant-based ingredients. This can bring most people in the community together!
It is of cultural importance
Undhiyu has a cultural value to natives of Gujarat and Indians in general. As we enjoy the dish, it is also important to focus on its cultural importance.
National Undhiyu Day dates