Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Ton Of Protein # 9 - Padval Dalimbya (Snake gourd with Hyacinth beans)


Left to right:
Dried Indian/Hyacinth/Lablab Beans (Val) & Snake Gourd (Padval)

This preparation is a combination of two rather uncommon ingredients. What I mean by 'uncommon' is that I have seen them, especially the dried Val/Hyacinth/Lablab beans, being cooked only in a few Indian households. More specifically, in families from some regions - particularly the coastal reagions - of Maharashtra and Gujarat. In Karnataka, like at my in-laws' place, they prefer the fresh, shelled Hyacinth beans (called Avrekai). Check out this post by Lavannya for a photograph as well as a recipe with them in it. Our resident gardener, LG aka Inji Pennu grows these beans (like pretty much everything!) in her garden. Here is where you can find out what the flowers and the fresh beans look like.

As for snake gourd, I know, that it is quite common in South India. Many of our fellow bloggers from the southern states of India have blogged about it. However, I am yet to come across a recipe from North India with snake gourd. Please let me know, if you know about any. If you want to see the pretty flower which later turns into a not-exactly-pretty snake gourd, check out this post by LG.

In my opinion, it is the unusual appearance and/or the slightly unpleasant smell that makes people cringe their noses at the mention of Padval or snake gourd. However, I have seen that those very people are happy to eat it when paired with soaked, skinned Val beans or Dalimbya, as we call them in Maharashtra. By the way, one could also use gherkins (Tondli in Marathi) instead of snake gourd in this recipe, which goes like this.

Recipe for Padval Dalimbya

Serves 4-5.


1 cup/approx. 200 grams dried Val beans (about 2 cups, when soaked & skinned)
approx. 200 grams snake gourd (packed two cups, when diced/sliced)

1/2 tbsp jaggery
1/2 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
approx. 3/4 cup of water

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder

chopped coriander leaves or shredded coconut for garnishing


1. Soak the dried Val beans in water for at least five hours or preferably overnight. Skin them on the following day. If they are well-soaked, it is quite easy to skin them. You have to hold one bean and press it with your fingers. The bean inside the skin just pops out. (It's a lot of fun to do that, actually. Perfect activity for when watching a movie on TV! :))
2. Cut the snake gourd vertically in half. Scoop out the seeds, if there are any. Now cut the halves diagonally in slices. Like in the next picture. (Alternatively, just dice the snake gourd after scooping out the seeds. I slice it like this only because I like it. :))


Left to right: soaked & skinned Val beans, sliced snake gourd

3. Heat oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the asafoetida powder.
4. Now add the skinned Val beans, turmeric powder and ¼ cup water.
5. Stir once, cover and cook on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes.
6. Then add the diced/sliced snake gourd, salt and another ¼ cup of water.
7. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat.
8. Once both - the beans as well as the gourd - are cooked well, add the rest of the ingredients and some more water (if necessary).
9. Turn the heat off after about two minutes.

Garnish with coriander or coconut, and serve warm with chapatis or with rice & dal.


Padval Dalimbya garnished with coriander leaves and baby corn


The trickiest part in making this dish is cooking the beans and the gourd without overcooking them. Because once overcooked, both tend to fall apart * badly *, and the dish ends up as one 'un-pretty' mush. I, after having cooked it umpteen times, still manage to make a mess of it. Yesterday, when I got it right (after many days!), I knew I had to blog about it. :)

I would like to send this post to Kalyn as my entry for her Weekend Herb Blogging. Since Anthony of Anthony's Bachelor Cooking is the host this weekend, I am off to him. Sayonara!

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Anupama said...

Yooo Hooo I am the first one !!! I love padval and love dalimbya too but have never tried them together. If the pic is anything to go by then it must taste really good.

Alka said...

Hi Vaishali,

Lovely post. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I am not sure this Val beans is available in the US.. do you know what it is called here? If it is not available can other beans be used instead? Thanks for all these great recipes.


Vineela said...

Hi Vaishali,
I love this snake gourd recipe.
I have different version of this .I love to try this curry when i will get next time from india groceries (its rare in my house coz my dear hubby don't like to see it in my kitchen ....)
Hope you enjoyed alot on your birthday.

Ashwini said...

You are back! Give us the sccop soon...
This is the most unusual combo I have seen (after your karaate randai of course!).
Alka - val is available in Indian stores here as 'kadwe val'

Linda said...

Vaishali, this looks scrumptious; such nice subtle spicing. I have some split val dal, maybe it would work with that. Now I hope I can find a decent looking snake gourd this weekend ;)

Madhu said...

Hi Vaishali,
Liked the combo very much. I wish I could get some at my grocery store.

About last post.... I mentioned 'plate idly'. Like idly moulds or bowls sometime we use plates to make Idlies....I thought you made this way.

Thanks for the recipe.

Priya said...

I usually make snakegourd with moongdal. This is very different from my other snakegourd recipes. Shall try it out soon.

And belated birthday wishes to you Vaishali, my kitty Ben's birthday is one the same day too( Aug 17) He turned 1 yesterday .

shilpa said...

Nice dish Vaishali. An unusual combination. I love snake gourd.So it is a must try for me, let me find out abt the beans now...

BTW...did I tell you? I donno what many of the veggies are called in English. So everytime I get confused, I come to your blog, see the pics and then write the English names. So you are like a English teacher for me :).

Manjusha Nimbalkar said...

Hey Vaishali,

Wishing you a Belated Happy Birthday!!!
Very nice presentation...

Paz said...

Lovely presentation.


Paz said...

P.S. Happy belated birthday! I wish you all the best. May all your dreams continue to come true.


Prema Sundar said...

Hi vaishali,
I used to make snakegourd in a kootu form. This recipe is different. and looks good.

Menu Today said...

Hi Vaishali,
First, My belated Birthday wishes!!!
The combination of snake gourd with Hyacinth beans is new to me. Try this method soon. Thanx for sharing.

Shankari said...

Never had this version, I have to look for this dhal in the grocery, it is ages I have used this dhal.
Beautiful presentation!

Vaishali said...

Anupama, I know, it is a sort of 'un-combination', but both of them really complement each other. You'll know it, when you make it. :)

Alka, as you might have already seen, Ashwini has answered your question. I hope you find them where you live.

Vineela, as I have written in the post, many people dislike this vegetable. Your hubby isn't really the exception. :) And yes, I enjoyed my birthday a lot; thanks to all of you!

Ashwini, I have been rather tied up lately. Don't get to blog as much as I'd love to. :(

Linda, 'suble spicing'.
I appreciate your comments, you know. They show the interest that you take in reading and analysing the recipes given by us - your fellow bloggers.

Madhu, I spoke to my husband after your 'plate idli' comment, and asked him about it. He then reminded me that I have eaten them at a restaurant in Bangalore. Now I remember them, and also know what you are talking about. :)

Priya, I have heard about the snake gourd-Moong dal combo, but haven't tried it yet.
And hey, I too am a cat. Well...I mean, I am a Leo...a big cat actually. ;-)

Shilpa, so, do you want to pay me my fees in dollars or in Euros?
;-) ;-) ;-)

Thanks, Manjusha.

Paz, thanks.

Thanks, Paz. ;-)

Prema, I'll wait till you write about snake gourd 'kootu' on your brand new blog. :)

Thanks for the wishes, Menu Today. This has been one of the happiest birthdays for me. :)

Thanks, Shankari. You should get them easily, if you have an Indian shop run by a Gujarati in your area. Gujaratis love to cook with these beans.

shammi said...

Looks scrummy, Vaish. I could kill for hyacinth beans... I LURVE them! Not so fond of snake gourd, but I could eat it if I had to - for instance, if it looked as edible as your photo! :)

PS. Glad your birthday was happy :)

Puspha said...

Very healthy dish.

Neelu said...

Hi Vaish.
Jabri hotya nankatai :) THanks sooo much for the recipe adhicha poorna peeth takun dila coz I thought ki it should b strechy how silly of me :(
But second time it was good . Hey I dont get padwal here , can u tell me what else I can make of the val ? I have that lying since long time!

Kalyn said...

Very fun. I've never eaten either of these, and I've been curious about snake gourd especially since I've seen it on quite a few blogs. Wish I could have a taste.

Neelu said...

O was it ur B'day ? I m so sorry i missed it... Belated wishes dear !

Linda said...

Padval Dalimbya came out tasting as lovely as its name, Vaishali. I used split val as that was what I had on hand, so it had a little different look, but the flavor -- fabulous! Thanks for another keeper :)

Vaishali said...

Shammi, thanks for the appreciation. I am sure, you won't mind having the snake gourd in this wonderful curry. :)

Pushpa, it's been ages since I checked out your blog. I need to do it now.

Neelu, vedeech aahes. Why did you throw away the batter?? Anyway, I am glad that the Nankhatai turned out well. Hope your SIL's children enjoyed them. As for Val, I'll try and post another recipe soon. And hey, thanks for the wishes.

Thanks for dropping by, Kalyn. I hope you find snake gourd where you live.

Linda, you tried it out? I don't believe this. Are you fast or are you fast?! Thanks for the feedback, Lady. Let me go check out your blog now.

Anita said...

I too have never had this combination before. My MIL used to make val occasionally and I like them now. I must replenish my stock so I can try this combo and surprise FIL who misses val...

Cooking Memoir said...


Your blog looks great and have recipes i have never tried before. Want to try your Nankhatia's soon.

I love snakegourd in any form and this one with dry val beans is interesting. But not sure if we will get it in the US.

Vaishali said...

I hope your FIL enjoys it, Anita.

Usha, Val beans should be available in the US. Do you have an Indian shop run by a Gujarathi in your area? You should find it there coz they love their Val beans. And hey, good luck with the Nankhatais. :)

Sheetal Kiran said...

I truly love trying new recipes with val ... thanks for this wonderful recipe, Vaishali!

I have added you to my blog roll, I am sorry for being presumptuous and adding you without asking. Please, do let me know if it's okay with you. Thanks!

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VarSha said...

Hey Vaishali ,
Its indeed a great recipe= i tried exactly as ur post and it turned out very tasty.

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