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Amid COVID-19 restrictions, winter dish Umbadiyu loses customers

Updated on: 30 November,2020 06:31 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shirish Vaktania |

Business of local community near Valsad hit as people wary of travelling to Gujarat border for taste of umbadiyu, a one-pot, no-oil winter dish

Amid COVID-19 restrictions, winter dish Umbadiyu loses customers

The winter delicacy, umbadiyu, is cooked with zero oil and in a clay pot

A popular winter dish, umbadiyu, has lost customers this year, thanks to the pandemic. The stalls dishing out the delicacy on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway at Dungri, near Valsad have been going empty owing to pandemic restrictions. Maharashtra recently made COVID tests mandatory for travellers from Gujarat, hence Mumbaikars are not risking it by going to the state. Umbadiyu vendors say they will lose their entire year's income if this continues.

Umbadiyu is a popular winter preparation that closely resembles the famous Gujarati dish Undhiyu. It is made with a mixture of vegetables like potatoes, yams, beans and herbs. It is a zero oil recipe authentically prepared in a matka (clay pot) and cooked by external heating. The leaves of the Kalar plant are used to line the inside of the vessel, and the vegetables are placed on top of it in order avoid getting direct heat and to retain the flavour. A glass of buttermilk with a dash of turmeric is often served with this dish.

An umbadiyu stall lying empty
An umbadiyu stall lying empty

Geeta Patel, who runs an Umbadiyu stall at Dungri on the Ahmedabad Mumbai highway said, "We have been selling this winter dish on the highway for the last 25 years. Every year, we start our stalls in December and shut them down around February end. My entire family is dependent on the Umbadiyu business. Most of the our fixed customers are from Mumbai who come here especially for Umbadiyu. We use seasonal Surti papdi beans from Surat and sweet potatoes, yams and herbs. This year we are staring at a huge loss due to the restrictions. We received many calls from Mumbai asking if we are open or not."

Also Read: COVID-19: Mumbai's count falls to less than 1,000 fresh cases

She added, "My family only does this business once a year from December to February as we don't have much work the rest of the year. After the lockdown was lifted we were very happy and expected more customers to come this year as people started going out after being stuck at home for more than eight months. Now, these restrictions will badly affect on our business."

Geeta Patel and Meenaben Patel
Geeta Patel and Meenaben Patel

Meenaben Patel, another vendor, said, "These restrictions will destroy our business. We started our stall five days ago but the Gujarat government is not allowing us to keep them open due to the restrictions. Most of the our customers are from Mumbai and they usually come by the car to eat at our stall. The material that we stored from last Friday is all wasted as we did not get any customers. We are still hoping for a miracle and keep our shops open from 9 am to 9 pm every day."

No. of months that the Umbadiyu sellers work

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