Recipe | Curried Long beans and potatoes – You can find inspiration just about anywhere
You can find inspiration just about anywhere!
People use horses and bullock carts to travel and transport things, kids still play outdoors, and women light the firewood for every meal they cook.
Paved roads, electricity, cell phones and internet are luxury here, but life is beautiful and blissfully simple. There is a sense of peace here that can’t be replicated in the cities.
Yes, this is the heart & soul of India – a typical Indian village, I visited during my last trip to Udaipur.
Free from the hustle & bustle of city, life move slowly here. Though villagers appear simple, they have a strong work ethics and are a very well socially-knit community.
A day starts quite early in villages. People wake up every morning by a rooster, clean the cow sheds, feed their pets before taking them out to plough their farms.
Chopal are the sitting places under large trees where village folks assemble after a day’s hard work in field to share ideas, experiences and stories till late in night.
“Kanha has been constantly calling and asking me to visit his house.” Mom told to me plucking ripe lemons from her kitchen garden that evening.
The picture is taken in 1973 with my younger brother on wooden horse and Kanha sitting at the back. Kanha was our house-help way back in late 60’s when we were living in Zawar Mines.
My dad was a doctor and had treated Kanha’s father at the hospital back then. Kanha’s father was a poor farmer who pleaded my father to let him stay and work for us.
Kanha was a small boy then, he stayed with us and helped mom in her daily chores at home. He was with us for ten years after which we moved on to other city and got disconnected with him.
After almost 40 years, he got in touch with mom again and insisted that she visit his home in a nearby village.
I had a chance to visit his house and spent a day in the village, during my last visit to Udaipur.
“Arrey, you call this a small hut? This looks like a palace to me“. I was extremely happy to see his growth over the years.
He owns a few shops in the village, a travel agency and has acquired acres of cultivation land to grow vegetables and essentials grains.
Yes, inspiration can come from anywhere. He has built his life brick upon brick with constant and unflagging efforts. His unalterable determination, hard-work and persistence is an inspiration for me!
His wife quickly lighted the Chulha (indigenous mud stove) and served us fresh buttermilk before I quickly ran out to immerse myself in the rustic surroundings in his village.
The three generations working together to cook a rustic Indian meal for us. His wife kneaded freshly ground cornmeal and the grand-daughter made Makki ki rotis (cornmeal flat-breads) on earthen griddle.
Kanha took us out in his kitchen garden, plucked some country vegetables for cooking another Rajasthani delicacy called fresh vegetable Pachkuta.
I took the opportunity to roam around in the village with him and get the taste of rural India.
I was touched by the hospitality of the people there who feel a sense of pride and honour to treat any guest who visits their village.
Give a choice, I would happily leave the comforts of city lives and resort to the uncomplicated simple village life. Rustic and simple living appeal me a lot, I would rather love to ride a bicycle than sit in a swanky car and cook my daily meal over wood fire than switching on my electric oven.
Hmm…if wishes were horses, beggars would ride 🙂
Our meal was a simple rustic Indian Thali which had a few curries, cornmeal rotis with homemade butter, Kheer, fresh curd, country cucumber in it.
However, the subji that won hands down was the traditional quick stir-fry called Pachkuta.
Pachkuta which means five vegetables in Hindi is a popular stir-fried dry curry in many parts of Rajasthan in India. This fresh vegetable Pachkuta recipe is different from another popular version of Panchkuta in Rajasthan, which uses a mix of five dried herbs such as Kair, sangari and kumat.
This recipes is prepared with an assortment of five or more fresh vegetables of winter season cooked with a very few spices and served hot with millet flat-breads. A few local winter produce such as Kachri, tinda and gawar fali are used in the recipe.
The first thing that hits you when you take a bite of this Pachkuta or Indian stir-fry is the heady flavors of asafoetida (hing) powder. Mom uses natural form of this resins which is sold as large lumps. A pinch of this asafoetida goes a long way to flavor any Indian dish, but too much of the same can make the recipe taste bitter and unpalatable.
Long Beans and Potato curry aka Chawla phali-Aloo subji
The slightly bitter tones of fresh Long beans are tempered and mellowed down with asafoetida powder, garlic-ginger and dry mango powder. Mustard oil is the preferred choice for cooking this curry which brings out all the flavors of spices in it.
It is the pounding of onion-tomato and garlic on stone grinder that brings a wonderful earthy taste to the recipe. I have never had something that fresh and tasty in my life ever.
- 250 gms Long beans
- 2 large potatoes
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 tbsp mustard oil
- Water as required
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp red chilly powder
- 1/2 tsp. dry mango powder
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
Method; Wash and remove strings from the corners of each Long bean (chawla phali) cluster bean and chop them into 1 inch pieces.
Peel and chop potatoes into small cubes
Pound chopped onion, tomatoes and ginger-garlic into coarse paste in pestle and mortar (use a blender if you don’t have one).
Heat oil in a kadai or wok and splutter cumin seeds in it.
Take a small bowl and add chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder (amchoor), salt in it, 2-3 tablespoons of water in the bowl and combine well.
Add coarsely ground onion-tomato paste and sauté for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
Add spice-mix water in the wok and continue to stir for 3-4 minutes.
Add chopped potatoes and Long beans in the wok. Pour about one glass of water in it, cover with a lid and let it cook for 8-9 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with cornmeal flat-bread, plain rice or any other Indian flat-bread.