All of you overwhelmed me today. No, you really did. I posted this picture last night and wanted to write the post too. However, I hardly managed to think straight with that sleepy head of mine, let alone writing a full post. So, I said 'Let me just publish a teaser and see what happens'. And what do I get today in the morning? 12 comments! Not one or two, but one dozen! And almost all of you have guessed it right. Well done, Friends. You are smart and you are quick. If you ever entered a quiz contest, and if there were a 'Buzzer Round' in it, you would surely win it. I assure you. So, this post is dedicated to Shilpa, Revathi, Nabeela, KrishnaArjuna, Nandita, Perspective, Faffer, (phew...another five to go) Suhaag, Nandan, Anon, Sumitha, Zoya...and many more who have guessed it right, but have not left a comment.
As Zoya has mentioned, this bean is called 'Chawlichi Sheng' in Marathi. Until I got married, it was never a part of my diet, but very much a part of my vocabulary. That too in the figurative sense. Ok, let me explain it. A slender and tall woman is called 'Chawlichi Sheng' in Marathi. For example, Anna Kournikova can be called a CS, or maybe Malaika Arora, or perhaps Halle Berry (basically all those women who I
Coming back to the long beans, I was saying that I had never eaten or cooked them before marriage, because it's not a part of the diet in my parents' families. However, after I got married and became a part of a Konkani family, I got to know/eat this vegetable. It makes a regular appearance on my mother-in-law's table. Maybe because I ate it at her place for the first time, I always prepare it the way my MIL does, although it can be cooked the Maharashtrian way too. Here's the way she prepares it.
Recipe for Alsande Upkari (Steam-cooked long beans)
approx. ¼ kg. Long / cow-pea beans
1 medium sized boiled potato
a generous pinch asafoetida powder
salt to taste
1 tsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
3-4 dried red chillis, broken into two-three pieces each
2 tbsp gated coconut for garnishing (optional; I haven’t used)
1. Wash and top & tail the beans. Cut them in 1 inch long pieces.
2. Cut the potato in cubes. (The size does not really matter here, because the potato is boiled and hence the question of it taking less/more time to cook does not arise.)
3. Heat the oil in a pan. Once it is fairly hot, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.
4. Add the broken red chillis. After a second or two, add the beans.
5. Sprinkle some water (about two tablespoons for non-stick and ¼ cup for regular pans). Add salt to taste. Stir the beans well and cover the pan with a lid.
6. Open the lid after three-four minutes. Some steam should be gathered inside now. Add the potato pieces.
7. Stir the beans again and let them cook until soft yet crunchy. (Can the beans then be called 'al dente'?)
8. Just before turning the heat off, open the pan and add the asafoetida powder. Stir the Upkari well, put the lid back and turn the heat off. (I know, this is different from the usual 'hing in the tadka/asafoetida in the hot oil' routine, but believe me, it tastes great like this.)
9. Serve after about 1o minutes, so that all the flavours get time to blend well with each other. Garnish it with grated coconut, if you like, before serving.
The traditional practise in Konkani households is to add asafoetida water, which is simply a small piece of asafoetida dissolved in water. However, this means a tiny bit of preparation, and I also sometimes am left with excess of it, which I don't know where to use. So,adding asafoetida powder is the only bit that I do differently from my mother-in-law.
Sending this one over to Kalyn for her Weekend Herb Blogging event.