Cluster beans in Peanut and sesame sauce (or ‘Gawar ki Phalli ka masala’) an authentic recipe from Hyderabad (a Metropolis in South India), combines Peanuts, Sesame seeds, Fried onions and Tamarind.
The healthy and nutritious Cluster beans (we call it ‘Gawar ki Phalli’ in India) is low in calories, yet a powerhouse of nutrition, high in proteins, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
- 1/2 lbs Cluster beans
- 1/2 Big Onion diced
- 1/2 Big Onion sliced (ground to paste)
- 2 tbsp Groundnuts
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp Khus Khus seeds (Poppy seeds) [Optional]
- 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp Red chilli powder
- 5 Slit Green chillies (or Thai Green chillies)
- 3 spring Curry leaves
- 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp Nigella sativa (referred to as ‘Kalonji’ in India) seeds
- 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
- 2-3 Dried red chillies
- 2 tbsp Tamarind paste
- 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
- Cilantro leaves for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Cooking Oil
Note: Going by the tradition Cluster beans are never cut using a knife. It is believed that a particular enzyme in the beans reacts with the metal of the knife and renders the beans bitter.
This was my Mom’s belief as well and she trained me to break the beans using bare hands. It has now become my practice. But you can be flexible and cut the beans instead. I leave it up to your discretion!
Prepping and Cooking Cluster Beans:
- Wash the beans in Running water and pat dry on a clean cloth/ bounty.
- Take a medium sized pot with 3 cups of water. Bring this to a boil.
- Trim the tips of the beans on either sides using hands (can be trimmed using a knife as well). Once all beans are trimmed, break 1/4th inch pieces of the beans.
- Transfer these pieces in boiling water (Step 2) and let it cook for 20 – 25 minutes in boiling water.
- Then strain the beans and let it cool.
(Tip: You know the beans are cooked by taking a bean piece and breaking it with your fingers. If it easily breaks that means all your beans are cooked!)
Peanut and Sesame sauce:
- Heat sufficient oil in a non stick pan for frying onion slices until they turn golden brown.
- Strain them out and dab out extra oil by placing them on an absorbent tissue.
- In a separate sauce pan roast peanuts, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
- In a blender/ food processor add the fried onions, peanuts, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Add a little water if required and obtain a smooth paste.
- From Step 1, remove excess oil in the pan and retain sufficient oil for cooking the sauce.
- Once the oil is heated, add curry leaves, dried red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and Nigella sativa seeds. Fry them for a minute.
- Now add ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute or until the raw aroma of ginger and garlic are gone.
- Next add red chill and turmeric powder. and cook for 1/2 a minute.
- Now add the paste from Step 4. and water to get a semi gravy consistency and bring it to a boil.
- Add tamarind paste, coriander powder, green chillies and salt and let it cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Water can be added to maintain the gravy consistency). The Peanut Sesame sauce is now ready!
(Tip: Remember to always balance salt and water. Adding excess water will always reduce the saltiness)
- Stir in the cooked cluster beans into the peanut sesame sauce and cook for at least 10 minutes before removing the pan from heat.
- Transfer the pan contents into a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
(Tip: Cooking the sauce and cooked beans for 10 mins would enable the flavors and spices of sauce to penetrate into the beans.)
You can enjoy this curry with Rotis (Indian flatbread) or steaming hot rice!
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