This recipe is from our Grandmother’s Best Recipe Contest winner Surtida S. Her grandmother combined her Indian roots with Tanzanian flavors to create this incredible dish of millet flour dumplings braised in a tomato-and coconut-infused sauce chock-full of vegetables and aromatic spices. The smell and flavor of this recipe is intoxicating.
“One of my most vivid memories (and I have a lot of food memories associated with my maternal grandmother, Veena) is this recipe we called muthia. The word muthia means dumpling, but when we used the word, we meant this particular dish. I grew up in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. My grandmother came there when she was a very young child. She took elements of her Gujarati heritage and combined it with Tanzanian flavors, and this was one of the results. She grew up with very little, there was no food wasted. You cooked with all the bits—we ate chicken hearts, livers, gizzards, etc.—and used every last vegetable up. This stew could be stretched out with a lot of little things to feed many family members. I can still smell this being cooked, and I can still taste what I ate when I was a child.” – Surtida S.
Watch Andrew make this recipe:
Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Muthia Dumplings
- 1 cup millet flour (bajra)
- 2 tablespoons full fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- About 1/3 cup water, or just enough water to combine dough
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 pound chuck steak, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup shelled pigeon peas
- Handful of cluster beans (guar bean)
- 5 small Indian eggplants, sliced
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup water, or more as needed
- To finish: 2 tablespoons of coconut cream, salt to taste, fresh lime juice, cilantro and fried green chiles
In a medium bowl, mix all of the dumpling ingredients together. Add just enough water so that the dough comes together, about 1/3 cup. Place the dough in the refrigerator while you start the sauce.
Add 4 cups of water to a saucepan, with 1 teaspoon each of the ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil and then add the beef, adding more water if needed to cover the meat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the ghee in a deep, wide pan. Add the onions and sauté until browned, stirring often so they don’t scorch. Once onions are browned, add the tomatoes, remaining garlic and ginger, and fry until the oil begins to separate from the sauce. Next, add the cayenne, turmeric, coriander and cumin. Cook spices for a minute, then add the beef and the cooking liquid from the beef, and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour in the coconut milk. Next, add the pigeon peas, cluster beans, eggplants and spinach. Add the extra cup of water, or more as needed, so that you have enough liquid to simmer the dumplings in. Bring to a simmer.
Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the dough, and form a cylindrical dumpling in your palm. Gently place the dumplings in the pot, nestling them into the liquid. Do not stir at this time, as you will break up the dumplings. Cover the pan and simmer for about 40 minutes total. After 20 minutes, the dumplings will have set up.
Adjust seasoning one last time, and finish with the coconut cream, lime juice and fresh cilantro. Serve hot with fried green chilies!