Shengdana chi Gavarfali – Cluster Beans cooked with Groundnuts
You never know when you get to learn a new recipe. Vinita, Anu’s sister happened to stay with us for a couple of weeks last year. (As most of you already know by now, Anu is my daughter from another mother). When it comes to regular home cooked food, Anu cooks great food for my family but what I did not know was that her sister too is a fabulous cook. I’ve never been fond of cluster beans (Gavarfali) but Anu was craving to have some and requested her sister to make it the Maharashtrian way. When it was finally served Anu and Vinita, both, requested that I have one morsel and give it a try. I loved it! As I sat eating this deliciously cooked vegetable Anu and Vinita looked on, at gluttonous me, with a big grin on their face. Seriously, I was hooked! I'm quite sure you will be too.
250 grams gavarfali / cluster beans (buy the tender ones)
75 grams plain groundnuts
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons kanda-lehsun masala powder (onion-garlic masala powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons oil (a wee bit more, if you need it)
- Dry roast the peanuts on a griddle, on a low flame. When done allow to cool and remove the outer covering of the peanuts.
- Halve the peanuts with your hands or if you wish to have smaller pieces, pound them very lightly in a mortar-pestle or under a rolling pin. Keep aside.
- Remove the end bits of the cluster beans and break into one inch pieces. Keep aside.
- Heat oil; add the onions and fry till golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté till soft. (Feel free to add a wee bit to water to help them soften quickly but ensure that the water dries up.)
- Lower the heat to a medium flame, add the kanda-lehsun masala (onion-garlic masala powder), turmeric powder and salt. Sauté well but do not burn the spices.
- Add the cluster beans and give it a good mix. Sauté on medium flame for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the halved / pounded peanuts (retain a few for garnish) and sauté for two more minutes.
- Turn the flame to the lowest setting, cover and allow to cook till done. Stir carefully, occasionally.
- Cook till vegetable is done but don’t allow the vegetable to turn mushy. If there is moisture in the vessel when the cluster beans are nearly cooked, cook the vegetable uncovered for a few minutes on low flame till done.
- Garnish with remaining peanuts and serve with hot
- Please use tender cluster beans because thick over-aged ones are bitter and aren’t good to taste.
- I had used 75 grams peanuts because my family loves the crunchiness it adds to the dish but you may reduce the quantity to 50 grams or less depending on your preference.
- Please do not allow the vegetable to go mushy. Dry up the excess moisture, if any, as this dish is of dry consistency.
- Leave a few halved/pounded groundnuts for garnish, if you so wish, I did.
- Groundnut and peanut are the same. Some countries call it peanut and some call it groundnut. The Indian names for groundnut / peanut is mungfali (in Hindi) or shengdana (in Marathi).
- This vegetable also goes very well with plain dal and rice.
- Kanda-lehsun masala (onion-garlic masala powder) is a spice blend that hails from the Maharashtra state/region in Western India. If this spice blend is not available to you feel free to go with regular spices like chili powder, a wee bit of garlic powder, a wee bit of onion powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. The taste will differ, surely, but that is as close you can get to the actual Maharashtrian spice blend.
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