Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Gawar fali ki sabzi / Stir fried Clusterbeans

I am a Bengali. And a proud one too.
But I am also a part of three more different cultures. Which do not make me any less a Bengali, but have indeed taken me to new depths. I know much about those cultures, traditions, food, dress, rituals. In short, everything that makes me able to say that I am proud to know or be a part of these cultures.

But somewhere along the way my blog started to be called or known as a Bengali food blog.
And I ... a Bengali food blogger.
Nowhere at no time have I ever claimed that my blog has Bengali food only ... or authentic Bengali food.
I do cook Bengali food ... with as much authenticity as my phone calls home and my other food blogger friends' input allows ... also my memory plays a part here too.
But I do not like being dragged into being labelled as a 'Bengali food' blogger
I'd rather be the Bengali 'food blogger'.

One of the many kinds of food that I regularly cook is the Rajasthani food. Almost daily I make a dal ... which would have temperings that is far different from the Bengali temperings. There will be a sabzi or vegetable dish, which again reflects the Rajasthani home cooking than the Bengali one.

I have actually divided the two kinds into two categories.
On the days I make rice, I make the dal and sabzi with Bengali temperings ... say the paanch phoron or the jeera+ada baat/ginger paste or fried onions+radhuni. This is mostly on days I make fish.
And on the days I make rotis, the dal and the sabzis have a Rajasthani flavour .... like the hing+jeera or whole dhania+red chillies ... and so on.
Both sides of the family ... that is the two of us ... are fine with it. Which makes things much easier for me.
Dinner is always something more neutral ... like the aloo paratha, methi paratha, pulao, etc. etc.

Though I'd love to follow this trend every single day of the week ... I cannot. But do stick to it most days.
Weekends are not counted.

One vegetable I had never eaten before marraige is the Gawarfali / cluster beans.
In fact it was never cooked at home too. The first time I saw it was when I went vegetable shopping and B picked them up with much enthusiasm.
I had no idea how to prepare it. Result ... a call home.
Mummy patiently explained how to cut it, why we need to boil it first, ... and so on.
End of the day saw a good, new dish on the table that B polished off happily.
I did not touch it. I still don't.
But both B and the in laws agree that I make a decent gawar ki sabzi.
And am happy with that.

Cluster beans should be brought very fresh. So fresh that they should break easily when you snap them.
If dry, they'll neither cook well nor will taste good. In fact, the bitterness is more prominent then.

I make this sabzi exactly the way Ma in law makes it. No changes.

Need :

Fresh gawar / cluster beans - 250 gms, washed and broken into medium sized pieces
Potatoes - 1, chopped
Jeera / cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Hing / asafoetida - 1 pinch
Dhania / coriander powder - 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Haldi / turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Peanuts powder (optional )
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

How to :

Take enough water in a bowl. Add salt and the chopped gawar pieces.
Boil uncovered till the gawar is cooked. .
Remove, strain and cool ... this straining helps in getting rid of the slight bitterness the gawar usually has.

When cool, take them in bowl and mix in the haldi powder, the dhania powder, the peanut powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a kadahi.
Add jeera and hing.
Add the potatoes and fry well.
Add a pinch of salt ... just for the potatoes.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are done.

Remove cover and add the gawar.
Give a good stir and cook till everything comes together.
If needed, add a little water.
 Cook well till dryish.
Remove from heat.

 Serve hot with rotis and dal on the side.

I do make another version of the gawar ... will post soon.


  1. Sharmila, the bitterness is tolerable not that bad. By boiling separately and then draining it you are loosing the nutrition in it. What I do is make the tadka, add the gavar falli mix well to coat with tadka. Then sprinkle water over it and let it cook covered. That way you retain the precious nutrients. Try it. No one will notice the difference in taste.

    1. That is indeed a good point Anjali. I just follow Mummy's recipe and since am not too fond of it have never been inclined to try other variations. Will definitely try frying it directly the next time. Much thanks!

  2. Lovely quick recipe..

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  3. This is a new way of cooking cluster beans. Looks good and I bet the potatoes do help with the taste :) Usli with it is my favorite.

    My grandma has them growing in her garden, the ones I find here are like you said dry and not very fresh.

    1. Indo ... the potatoes do add some body to the fry. If they grow dry, then maybe they are of that variety. I have always found the dryish ones in Pune ... this is the first time I found them whole, in actual clusters. :-)

  4. I cook a similar dish, recipe of my Maharashtrian mother-in-law, without separately boiling it but by adding water while cooking. But to take away the bitterness, a little jaggery is added in the end. Somehow, I too am not very fond of this vegetable but my hubby likes it.

    1. MAdhu ... that addition of jaggery is a wonderful tip! Thanks! :-)

  5. Now i saw what it is i have ate them, just the name in fb i didn't get :-)

  6. Sharmila,

    My mum makes this in two ways, one as a dry subji, just like beans toran is made. The other is a kootu (gawarfali+mung dal). I love the latter, as I can hardly feel the bitter taste. I miss this now, as I find it only in Indian stores.

    Thank you for this recipe, I will make this when I get the vegetable!

    1. Vaishnavi ... can you please share the recipe for the kootu ... my husband love this vegetable and I'd like to try it. Thanks ... and hope you get some gawar soon. :-)

  7. yum yum of the easiest and tastiest bean dish to have with steamy hot rice and dal

  8. Appetizing.
    Among all the beans, my fav is gawaar.

  9. I've had it in before and your version looks so good. I know what you mean by belonging to different cultures and making different food and they still are comfort foods!

  10. I don't usually get fresh gawar here but I got some frozen from the Indian grocery on my last trip. Now I know exactly what to do with it!
    And I hear what you are saying. Our kitchens are so much more diverse than those of our moms.

    1. I got these absolutely fresh ones,in clusters, maybe for the first time too Vaish ... so couldn't help clicking them.

  11. Wonderful recipe Sharmila....growing up in Delhi, my mom used to make it several times. Sadly, at that time yours truly used to make dreadful faces and stoutly refuse to eat even a bit. However, now that I am a mom, I really want to introduce all types of green veggies to my little one. Now I know how to make gawar ki sabzi.

    1. I still do not enjoy this veggie Rakhee. :)

  12. I've never seen photos of cluster beans actually *in* a cluster -- this is lovely! I am growing long beans and some papdi beans this summer -- next year I may try these. The recipe and the story are great :)

    1. Thanks Linda! Even I got these in clusters for the first time ... so clicked them. :)

  13. I'd never cooked this vegetable until I read your post. Now that I did, it is on the way to becoming a recurring dish at the dinner table.. :-) Both me and husband loved it! A nice recipe, thanks.

    1. The man loves it Soma ... so I make it. Am not exactly in love with it. :)

  14. Great recipe. I'm like you. Don't get to cook Bengali dishes everyday.

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  17. Love your blog. So refreshing in the way it is written and cooking instructions very thoughtful too.


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