Cluster Beans and Potato Bhaji (Dry Curry)
Gwar ki Phali aur Aloo ki Sabji
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Guar or Indian cluster beans are a summer vegetable in India but are available at most Indian shops in UK all the year round. They are very popular in the desert state of Rajasthan in India, probably because the plant needs little water to grow. Some varieties of this vegetable are also used as kettle fodder in India. For cooking, use the freshest and the most tender looking ones.
This easy recipe makes the humble guar into a very special dish that is suitable for special occasions. The recipe comes from my friend Banoo Petit, who also has Dhansak and a few other recipes on this site-Mamta. Serves 4
250 gm. (1 1/2 cup prepared) guar ki phali/cluster beans
100-150 gm small/baby potatoes. New potatoes are best.
1 medium onion (150 gm approximately), peeled
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (you can use tinned tomatoes instead)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
2-3 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. carom seed or ajwain (these provide the distinctive flavour of this dish)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds or jeera
A pinch of asafoetida or hing/hing powder
7-8 curry leaves or meetha neem leaves (not bay leaves)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder or haldi
1/4 tsp. chilli powder or to taste
1 heaped tsp coriander powder
1 level tsp. salt, adjust to taste
Top and tail the beans. Tender ones do not need to have side threads removed. Slice into 2 inch pieces. Wash and keep aside.
Cut potatoes into 2-4 pieces each. Very tiny ones can be used whole.
Chop onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor.
Heat oil in a pan and add carom and cumin seeds and asafoetida.
When seeds splutter, add curry leaves, onion, ginger, garlic and fry until golden brown.
Add all spices and tomatoes. Stir fry until oil separates.
Add vegetables, stir fry for a minute.
Add 1/2 cup water, bring to boil, turn heat low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender. You can stir a few times in between to make sure it does not catch at the bottom. If it looks too dry, add a little more water. The consistency is not runny, it is a dish with thick gravy.
You can sprinkle 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala at this stage.
Serve hot with dal/meat and hot Chapatti.