Annakoot ki sabzi is a vegetable fry ideally prepared with 56 different ingredients. Every ingredient, even salt, is counted. And while it may have 56 ingredients, the recipe for Annakoot vegetable is very simple. Annakoot literally means “mountain of food” and on this day Hindu devotees worship Mount Govardhan by preparing and offering large amounts of food.
I love every festival that has food in it 🙂 and this one is about a mountain of food!
As children, Annakoot for us was the day when dad and uncle would go to the local vegetable market and buy as many vegetables as they can find and then our grandmother will setup an outside kitchen and cook one single vegetable fry with all the fresh produce in a huge pot. Mom and aunt will make rotis, kadhi and rice in the kitchen. Starting from 1pm till night, the entire day, we had guests coming at home and everyone is fed Annakoot ki sabzi, roti and kadhi-chawal. It was also packed and sent to relatives who couldn’t come.
The story behind Annakoot festival
The festival of Annakoot (also known as Annkut or Govardhan Puja) is celebrated a day after Diwali. The story behind Annakoot festival is a mythical story but with a very deep meaning. During the times of Krishna, the cowherds and their families living close to Govardhan mountain in Vrindavan, depended on the mountain for most of their needs — food for themselves and their cows, shelter and protection. But they worshipped Indra, the God of rains. Lord Krishna, instead urged people to worship and pay respects to the Govardhan mountain as that really plays the role of God in their lives.
On Krishna’s insistence, people started worshiping Govardhan mountain. This angered Indra, and he caused a torrential rain in the village for days. To protect the villagers, Krishna lifted the Govardhan parvat on his little finger and the entire village stood under the mountain. He asked the villagers to get whatever vegetables they had and a big meal was prepared under the mountain by using little of all the vegetables to feed everyone. This meal was called annakoot. After 7 days of rain, Indra conceded defeat and people continued to worship Govardhan mountain.
Another reason to celebrate Annakoot
A more logical story of Annakoot festival is that Diwali marks the change of season in Hindu calendar and many new vegetables start coming in the market like cauliflower, peas, carrots, etc. To celebrate this bounty of new vegetables, Annakoot curry was prepared and offered to God as a gratitude for the harvest. A little of every vegetable is used to make Annakoot recipe. While today most vegetables are available throughout the year, the tradition is still continued in many Indian families.
Whatever the story, the end result is a huge pot of annakoot sabzi made with 56 ingredients and offered to family, friends and guests. 56 is not a compulsory number for the ingredients, it just indicates to add as many vegetables as you can find. It really is a potpourri of vegetables and flavours. One would think what is the combination of all these ingredients and yet they all come together beautifully in this recipe.
This year, for annakoot ki sabzi we had 60 vegetables and 5 fruits (raw banana, raw papaya, custard apple, guava, pomegranate, jungle berries) totalling about 10 kgs. And to make a big pot that would serve more than 50-60 people, it took us almost 2 hours. But below I am sharing the recipe for making the traditional annakoot curry for 10 people. Since it is like a mother of all mixed vegetables, it is difficult to make it for small servings as with even just a piece of each vegetable, you would end up with about 1 kg of veggies.
In the recipe, is a partial list of vegetables that we used that will suffice for 10 people. You can make your own mix of vegetables. Since annakoot is an offering to God, no onions and garlic are used in the recipe.
This is a very traditional recipe. One that has been passed on from generations. I really hope you like a little introduction to the Annakoot festival, its original and the food festival that it is. If you like this recipe, please take a moment to rate it below and/or leave your comments at the end.
- 2 round eggplants
- 1 cup squash
- 1 cup mixed green beans
- 1 radish
- 1 carrot
- 1 cup leafy greens [spinach, radish greens, carrot greens, fenugreek etc]
- 1 potato
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 raw banana
- ½ cup raw papaya
- 1 star fruit
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 gooseberries
- 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp fresh turmeric
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 2 green chillies
- 1 bayleaf
- 8 fresh curry leaves
- 1 black cardamom
- 2-3 cloves
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2-3 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- a pinch of asafoetida
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste or ½ tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 50 ml mustard oil
Clean, peel (if required) and cut all the vegetables.
- Put a big pan on medium-high heat. Add mustard oil.
- When the oil starts to smoke, add bayleaf, fresh curry leaves, black cardamom, cloves, dried red chillies, black peppercorn, green cardamoms, cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Mix well and cook for a minute.
- Add grated fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, green chillies, 1 tbsp lemon juice. Mix everything together and cook for a couple go minutes. Lemon juice cuts the pungent flavour of mustard oil.
- Add all the leafy green vegetables. Mix well to coat everything in the masala.
- Add the rest of vegetables except for tomatoes, gooseberry, star fruit, tamarind and any other sour vegetable that you are adding.
- Mix well and cook covered on high flame for about 15-20 till they start to turn soft. Stir every 5 minutes so that the vegetables are evenly cooked and they don’t stick to the pan.
- Add the remaining sour vegetables. Add dry mango powder (if using) and garam masala power. Mix well and cook covered for another 10 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with roti or poori.
- Use no onions and no garlic.
- Sour vegetables are added towards the end as they slow down the process of cooking of other vegetables too.
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