I have been reading a lot about oils these days. Like which one to use for what type and method of cooking, depending on the season, climate etc. And let me tell you, it isn’t easy to understand these things. You read articles everyday advocating a completely new variety of oil or your favourite celebrity chef endorsing an oil packed in a trendy sleek bottle . And you get all these “green” images in your mind and the next thing you know.. you are at the store buying the shiny pack of oil which costs almost double the price of your regular oil. Phew!
Did I just throw a universal rant over you or is it just me?
OK, I would confess! I have done that a few times with various oils. It started with Olive oil, then Rice bran oil, followed up with Canola oil and the latest fad was Rapeseed oil. Ohh, and dare I forget the “extra virgin cold pressed” bit!
Well, after going nuts (pun intended!) over differences between seeds’ oils and vegetables’ oils, I am doing a proper research on this stuff to get my head around it for the last time. And hopefully will be able to streamline my cupboard with the right thing for the right thing.
Having said that, I haven’t forgotten how healthy our Indian oils are. Mustard oils and coconut oil are still top on my list and I am never going to take them off, no matter what the stupid articles on the health sites say. So we can stop the judge-y looks right there, shall we.
Moving on, today’s dish is not something that I normally cook up in my kitchen. Its not a regular, yet. But I liked it so much the first time I made it, it might soon make its way into the monthly menu soon. Cluster beans a.k.a guvar/gawar ki phali is a very nutritious vegetable similar to the usual green beans. It is full of protein, folic acid, and fibre etc. Making it an ideal choice for the weekdays’ meals.
The only problem is, picking and chopping of the cluster beans. It’s such a daunting task and S and I keep on shifting the responsibility to do so every week. You see, I delegate this task to him so he can do it at his own pace watching TV or Netflix or whatever interests him. But him being of the other sex, can only do one thing at a time. So it takes him about 3 days in a row just to pick about 500 gms of these beans. It makes me go mad and then it ends up with him announcing he is never gonna do this for me again and me buying it again for the next week. Its been going on in rounds for a year now and I don’t think will end till eternity.
I am ranting a bit too much today, aren’t I!
More side dishes you may like- Lauki with soya nuggets | Lehsuni Gobhi (cauliflower in garlic tempered oil)| Suva methi baingan (dill leaves with eggplant & greens) | Pudina dahi alu (baby potatoes in yogurt and mint sauce)
Let’s leave the topic at that and move on to the recipe. So once you have cleaned, picked and chopped the beans, the rest of the job is tad more interesting. At least that’s what S said when I asked him to help. Making of Dhoklis that is. Dhokli is the flour pads which you can see in the pic. Also used in Bihari and Rajasthani cuisine, these are made of chickpea flour and are very versatile add-ons to dishes.
Cluster beans have a very sharp flavour of their own, which mixes out very well with the bland flour pads (dhokli). The gravy is kept a bit runny so the dhoklis get dunked in nicely and absorb all the flavours. This recipe is of a no onion-garlic-ginger Gujarati style curry. It doesn’t even tomatoes in it, which is very unusual and interesting in my opinion. I hardly ever make anything without the absence of all these 4 key ingredients. The overall end result is very interesting and can be eaten on its own without any rice or bread aside.
Over to the recipe now.
What you need?
For the Dhoklis (chickpeas flour pads)
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (atta)
- ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
- ½ tsp red chili powder, salt each
- ¼ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
- A pinch of crushed asafoetida (heeng)
- 1 tsp of oil (I used mustard oil)
Fro the curry:
- About 250-300 gms cluster beans – trim both ends and chop into an inch long pieces
- 2 tbsp of cooking oil (I used mustard oil)
- 1 tbsp freshly grated coconut (optional)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder, red chili powder each
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, mustard seeds each
- A sprig of curry leaves
- 2-3 green chilies, chopped fine
- About 2-3 cups of water
How to make?
First, lets start with the flour pads- Add all the ingredients listed to make Dhoklis in a mixing bowl. Mix well and knead it using just enough water. About ¼ cup of water should be sufficient to get a medium stiff mass of dough. Keep aside covered, for about 20-30 minutes.
Once ready, roll it into a big thin cylinder or 3-4 cylinders (check the picture). Pinch tiny, equal sized balls out of it. Flatten each ball on your palm and make a depression in the centre by pressing with your thumb. (This is the part where I got S involved and he made another big fuss out of it! We still get cluster beans every alternate week though)
Prepare all the Dhoklis the similar way and keep aside.
Now, prepare the curry- Heat oil in a pressure cooker *(see notes if cooking in pan). Throw in cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Once they start sizzling, add in grated coconut, curry leaves and green chilies. Sauté for about half a minute.
Add the chopped beans into the tempering along with the salt, red chili powder and turmeric and mix well. Cook for a further of about 3-5 minutes, covered and stirring frequently in between.
Now add water, give a stir and let it come to a boil. Add the flour pads (dhoklis), mix, and cook the curry for 2 whistles on medium heat. Turn the flame off, and open when the pressure eases off.
Squeeze some lemon juice if you want, or mix in some grated jaggery (optional) and serve hot.
There can be many variations of this curry. You may like to add ginger, garlic, onion or tomatoes to it. Or you may like to skip the coconut or curry leaves. Its all up to your taste and he kind of curry you are preparing.
Since this is a runny version of the curry, it goes well with rice. If you are serving with roti or poori, you may want to thicken the curry a bit.
You may also add some peanuts to the curry. Add them to the tempering along with the coconut and curry leaves. It would add a nice bite and texture to the curry, makingit even more favourable to be eaten on its own.
If you like Gujarati food, try this Gujarati Suva Kadhi (Dill leaves simmered in yogurt sauce)
Or this interesting Gujarati daal (Lentil soup with peanuts and jaggery)