A, my husband, decided to start brown-bagging his lunch a few weeks back. This being summer, we are swamped with veggies like tinda, tori and ghiya, none of which he was used to eating before he got married. Though in my infinite nerdiness, I like all these veggies (wait, there's more, my favourite veggie is aubergine/ brinjal, followed by spinach!), he can only take so much of them before he rebels. And despite being an aloo lover, I can't have aloo every day. So the tug of war continues week after week, though he has redeemed himself and me at his office this week thanks to my afghani baingan and masala puris. So having catered to his whims, I thought it was time to take a time out for a health check with guarphali, known as gorikai in kannada, and cluster beans in angrezi.
Obviously I couldn't follow the easiest course and make a simple south-Indian curry out of it - mustard seeds+ karipatta choka + green chillies + coconut garnish - there was no way A was going to scarf that down without protest. So I had to innovate and find a way to make it less-guarphali-full. I tried adapting good old bhindi ki sabzi techniques to cluster beans and it worked a treat. Even I really enjoyed them this way, whereas usually I tolerate them, at best.
1/2 kg cluster beans, washed, topped and taiked and cut into 1 inch segments
2 tomatoes, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 pinch turmeric
2-3 green chillies, chopped fine
1/2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Put the oil on to heat.
Add the cumin seeds and turmeric. Wait till the cumin turns toasty, then add the green chillies.
Add the onions and fry on a medium flame until they are brownish.
Add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
Add the guarphali and stir to mix.
Cover the wok and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Uncover and check to see if the guarphali is done - they should be bite-ready but not mushily soft.
Add the salt.
This veggie goes well with chapattis, with a cucumber salad on the side. You can also serve it wiht rice and a bland dal, e.g. moong. The trick is to let the onions brown so they are slightly caramelised. The sweet taste of these onions blends well with the sweet-bitter taste of cluster beans.
PS. I was surprised to see in Wiki that they say that though Guar beans can be eaten as food, their more important use is as a source of guar gum, which is a dietary fibre supplement and is used in ice cream and as a stabiliser for cheese. Who knew?