Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gawaar ki Phalli- Cluster Beans

Cluster beans, commonly called "Gawaar ki Phalli," back in India is a vegetable, like the poor bitter-melon, that not many people like. Apparently it tastes "strange." Well, like I say all the time, one has got to open up to different vegetables and start eating and liking them.

I have never found cluster beans in any of the regular grocery stores here. The Indian store, however, carries it sometimes. So last week when I happened to drop by the Indian store, I picked up some cluster beans. Finally made it today for lunch.

The most time-consuming part: De-stringing the cluster beans

Before you can cook them, you gotta cut off the ends of each individual bean. If the beans are overripe, they could be very stringy. Luckily for me, this time, the beans were nice and fresh and so it was OK--- though, I must confess, that when I finally was done with the very last bean, I felt sheer relief. Yep, that is THE most time-consuming part of cooking cluster beans.

Cluster beans all trimmed and ready to be cooked

All that hard work! The ends.......

The Other Ingredients:

1. Potato
2. A couple cloves of garlic
3. A couple tomatoes
4. Oil
5. Cumin seeds
6. Red Chilli powder
7. Turmeric Powder
8. Salt

My Very Simple Recipe:

1. After de-stringing those beans, I rough chopped them and washed them. I also chopped 1 potato and a couple tomatoes. I smashed up a couple cloves of garlic.
2. I got a pot going on the stove and poured in a couple tea-spoons of oil. Then some cumin seeds.
3. Threw in the chopped potato and garlic followed by turmeric powder and some salt. Fried it for about a couple to 3 minutes.
4. Added the tomatoes and stirred it all and finally added the cluster beans.
5. After adding the desired amount of red chilli powder, I added some extra water just enough to cover everything up and then brought it to a boil and covered the pot and decreased the stove flame.

P.S.: Now normally I first cook the potato and then add the other vegetable(s)-- but in this case, I have found that cluster beans tend to be pretty hardy and require extra cooking time and that is why I just cook the potato as well as the beans together.

6. After about 5-10 minutes,  the cluster bean curry was ready to be served for lunch!

Ready to eat with rotis/rice

Another P.S.:  I have somehow never managed to retain that original green color of the cluster beans. I guess it is because of the extra cooking time........anybody have any suggestions?

My mom makes another version of this wherein she incorporates peanut powder and adds jaggery and then adds some Kala Masala (Black Spice Mix). That is very delicious too!

I wish they sold pre-trimmed and ready to cook cluster beans--- then I would buy them more often!!


spartan said...

Heard a pinch of baking soda added when cooking (er..or was it soda bicarb?) keeps beans green .......

Dreamer said...

hmm-- did not know that. thanks for the tip! baking soda & sodium bi carb= same thing. :)

Yashaswini said...

I have never cooked Gawaar ki Phalli in my life( always hated it). Will try it today and let you know how it was!!Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Dreamer said...

Well, well, well--- there's always a first time! Glad u are going to try it- hope u like it!