Cluster beans (gawar) cooked with prawns
Cluster beans is a bit of a put off for many because it has a slightly bitterish after taste. Cooked with the right combination of ingredients this humble vegetable can be taken to another level of flavour. Humbly, it marries well with masoor dal and is a great source of protein. Cluster beans are low in calories and is known to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Cooked with prawns the cholesterol levels go out of the window.
Gawar/Cluster beans – 400 grams after cleaning
Prawns – 20 large
Tomatoes – 2 large diced evenly
Onion – one large minced fine
Potato – one large diced evenly to match the size of the tomatoes
Capsicum – one large diced evenly
Garlic – 7 cloves minced
Ginger – one inch minced
Green chillies – 3 minced
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Fresh coriander- half a hand full
Chilli powder- 3/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder- 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder- 11/2 teaspoon
Oil as required
Salt to taste
If you want this dish to look presentable as all food should, then I recommend that you cut the cluster beans thumb nail size and maintain the same size cut for all vegetables except the onions.
Clean the prawns removing the central vein. Wash and marinate in a little turmeric and lime juice. Set aside for ten minutes and shallow fry in oil for not more than a minute on each side. Don’t overcook the prawns as we have to introduce it to the dish later.
Fry the diced potatoes in a little oil with salt. Brown the potatoes so that it showcases beautiful when added last.
In a pot heat the oil and drop in the curry leaves and chillies. When the oil in the chillies are released your nostrils will be filled with the aroma of chilli and curry leaves. Add the onion and sauté it till it is translucent. At this stage you can add the minced garlic and ginger. The purpose of sautéing garlic is to eliminate the raw odour. Now add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. To this mixture add the dry masalas and cook with little water to prevent the dry spices from burning while at the same time cooking out raw flavours.
Now add the the cluster beans and cook stirring continuously. I cover the pot for periods of one minute before stirring it again. You need to do this for not more than four minutes. Your vegetables must retain its green colour and crispy bite. Overcooked cluster beans are terrible on the palate. Now add the prawns with any juices or oil in the pan in which it was cooked. Add the capsicum (added last as it retains its crunch) and the fresh coriander. Cook for a minute, turn off the gas and cover and let the heat generated by the dish allow the magic to happen for the next five minutes. Eat it piping hot when cooked.