Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cluster Beans in a peanut masala - Kothavaranga Peanut masala curry

Cluster Beans as the name suggests grows in clusters and makes it hard to harvest them. If you are not careful you might uproot the whole plant. I do not buy kothavaranga as they are called in Tamil that often. On a whim I decided to grow and they have been fairly productive all summer. There are not that many recipes with cluster beans that I am familiar with. The most common recipe with them is to make a paruppu usili. For those not familiar with what paruppu usli means, it is a blended, then steamed lentil mixture, roasted and mixed with vegetables. An extremely tasty and filling side dish.

Besides this I am not very familiar with many recipes. Of course like every other vegetable they can be stir fried with onions and coconut. For cluster beans cooking addition of asfoetida(perungayam) is a must. I sought my mother's help in finding some interesting recipes to try and this peanut masala curry was one she found for me. I am not exactly sure from where, either a TV show or a magazine.

The recipe can be made dry or a with a bit of moisture depending on your preference. I made it with a bit of moisture to be mixed with rice and it would have worked perfectly for roti/chapathi as well.

Dice the cluster beans, par boil them, drain and set aside. Prepare the masala ingredients.
Blend the masala to a smooth paste. Season and saute the onions, mix with the vegetables and add the blended masala paste.

Cluster Beans in a peanut masala - Kothavaranga Peanut Masala Curry
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 1 1/2 lb of cluster beans or Kothavaranga (3 cups small dices)
  2. 1/2 onion finely chopped
  3. 2 garlic cloves sliced
  4. seasonings: mustard, cumin seeds, split urad dal, curry leaves and asfoetida
  5. 1 tsp of oil
  6. salt to taste
  7. For the masala paste
  8. 1/2 tbsp of raw rice
  9. 1/4 - 1/2 cup of roasted and skin removed peanuts
  10. 5-6 red chilies (depending on the heat of the chilies)
  11. 2 tbsp of fresh or frozen grated coconut
  1. In a sauce pan, take the chopped cluster beans, sprinkle salt and turmeric powder (I did not use it) along with a tbsp of water and let cook for 6-8 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  2. While the beans are cooking prepare the masala paste. Heat a saute pan and in low heat roast the rice till starts to get brown. Remove to a blender. Roast the chilies for about a minute and set aside. Add the coconut and roast for another 4-5 minutes till it changes color.
  3. Add the roasted peanuts to the roasted rice, chilies and coconut and powder them. If you want a dry curry remove the powder and set aside. Since I wanted a gravy consistency I added about 3 tbsp of water and ran the blender for 1/2 minute more. Set aside.
  4. In a flat bottomed pan or kadai, heat oil and add the seasonings, urad dal first and saute till it turns brown followed by cumin seeds and then mustard seeds and when it starts to pop add the asfoetida.
  5. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent, add in the cooked beans and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the masala paste and salt and let cook for another 3-4 minutes.
    Serve with rice or roti.
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  1. I never cooked this bean as it's not available here in Kolkata. at least not in the markets where I frequent. but with time am looking for more vegetable options other than what we eat on a regular basis. will try growing it. the curry looks wonderful. with some dal and rice this is definitely very fulfilling.

  2. I didn't cook with them till recently. And now, I love them!


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