July 18, 2008

Gawarfali ki Sabzi

This summer I resolved to try out the summer vegetables that show up in every market I visit. While I always ate all vegetables and cleaned my plate without as much as a whimper, there are vegetables that I dislike. Tinda is one of them. But I bought it, made it, and guess what, ate it too. Likewise, I bought cluster beans and yard long beans, snake gourd and bottle gourd, and everything else that summer threw at me. What worried me was the fact that if I didn’t make certain vegetables, I could no longer retain my title of “not-at-all-picky eater”. Moreover, if and when I have children, I figured my likes and dislikes should not govern their meals. If I forget about a certain vegetable over time, by the time I have children, I might have erased memories of some vegetables from my brain completely. Now that I have a blog, I can cook these vegetables, enjoy them in different ways and save them here for eternity.

Cluster beans (known as Gawarfali in Hindi, Mitkesaang in Konkani, Kotthavarangai in Tamil, Mattikaya in Telugu) happen to be the variety of beans that takes the longest to cook. Appa’s grandmother used to call it, “Avasarathukku edhiri” (loosely translated as the enemy of emergency/urgency). I have learnt that the best way to cook these is in my pressure cooker. Amma cooks them in advance and freezes them so that she can use them at a moment’s notice.

I came across this recipe in Tarla Dalal’s Rajasthani Cookbook and modified it immediately and set to work. (My system is not ready yet for the heat of Rajasthani food and given some health problems I had recently, I am sure it never will be.) It helped that I’d cleaned, strung and chopped the beans earlier. This can be really time consuming otherwise.

2 cups Cluster Beans, chopped, pressure cooked and drained
1 cup Curds
1 tbsp Gram Flour (Besan)
1 tsp Chilli Powder
½ tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Oil
¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
¼ tsp Asafoetida
½ tsp Fennel Seeds
Salt to taste

Beat the curds with the gram flour, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt. (A friend recently told me to use the blender to get the perfect texture while beating curds rather than use a whisk.)

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the mustard and asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the fennel seeds. As soon as the fennel crackles, add the curd mixture and bring to a boil over low heat, while stirring continuously. Add the cooked cluster beans and cook for another 5 minutes.

We had this with rotis for lunch and I know I will make it again next summer. For this summer, I have several other recipes to try out with this vegetable.


Deepa said...

Lovely! Thanks. I too have tried to expand the veggies I eat, and it's not been easy for me. Arnav notices I have higher standards for him, than I do for myself :). GOod reason to change. BTW, are you likely to be in Madras next summer? I am trying to structure my work so I can take off next summer also, and am planning an India trip. --Deepa

sra said...

I quite like this. I enjoyed reading your post, esp about how you want to eat certain vegs just because you want to keep the label of not-picky-eater!

TBC said...

I like your resolution.:D
There are so many veggies out there that I've never tried and another set of veggies that I dislike as a result of which I keep using the same 5-6 ones over and over again!
I've cooked with cluster beans only a couple of times, and it was bitter each time. :-( Had to add stuff to offset the bitterness.

Anonymous said...

good girl raaga :)...the only wya i have had this is usili...should make this one...and to spicy food..aiyoo!!..



that looks nice .. never had this before ..

Raaga said...

@Deepa: I have no clue about next summer. I don't make plans that much in advance. And your summer is very different from ours :-)

@Sra: Diff'rent stokes for diff'rent folks, huh ;-)

@TBC: at one time, I only cooked carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, capsicum, mushroom, broccoli, corn apart from tomatoes, potatoes and onions. I simply hadn't explored stuff! I'd eat everything, but cook only things I knew! :-)

Raaga said...

@Rajitha: Can't eat spicy ya... I had also eaten it only as usli or as steamed and sauteed :-)

@VP: do try it.