Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar
Serves 4-6 as part of an Indian meal
This style of cooking can be used for any pulse or vegetable or a mix of both. The tomatoes give it color and the kokum give it the required sourness. Kokum can sometimes make the curry a little darker than if only tomatoes are used, but the taste covers up for it. The sprouted beans are usually immersed completely in water with about 2 inches of water above it for around 15-20 minutes for the skins to rise to the surface and then removed. The skins are not removed for the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version. The variety of chawli used for this recipe is the very small sized one.
- ½ cup chawli beans sprouted to make 2 cups (black eyed peas/cow peas/rongi)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or powder (jeera)
- 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
- 6-8 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 or 2 green chilies slit or chopped finely if not very spicy
- 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- 5-6 kokum rind pieces
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1 tbsp coriander powder (dhania powder)
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder (optional)
- 1-2 cups water
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta)
- salt as required
SPROUTING: This dish needs a day or two pre-preparation to sprout the beans. Clean, wash and soak the chawli beans overnight or for three to four hours. Rinse and drain the water. Keep covered in a steel pot in a warm place for 8-12 hours. The sprouts become longer and thicker if no light is allowed to enter the pot. You can rinse the beans and keep covered for 8-12 hours more if the beans haven’t sprouted well. Once ready these beans will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Wash and rinse the sprouted beans and drain in a colander ready to use. When sprouted, the beans will become four times the size of the dry beans, so you will have 2 cups of beans for this recipe.
Heat oil in a thick bottom steel pan, pot or pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle and add the chopped onions. Stir and sauté till the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and green chilies. Sauté till the garlic and chillies release their aroma (around 30 seconds to a minute). Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and add the turmeric powder and coriander powder. Sauté the masala on a low flame, till the tomatoes become soft and the entire tomato-onion mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan or cooker and you see the oil leaving from the sides. This takes some time and needs continuous sautéing so be patient and do not leave the mixture unattended or it will start burning. Add the sprouted chawli beans, kokum rind, salt, and 1 to 2 cups of water and stir. Cover the pot and cook till the beans are cooked well. If using a pressure cooker or pressure pan, pressure cook for one whistle only as the sprouts cook fast. This bhaji is supposed to have very little liquid but you can add a little more water to suit your taste. Add three fourths of the chopped coriander and give the gravy a stir. Empty it into a serving bowl, garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis or steamed rice.
For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:
Use rock salt instead of refined salt.
Put the chopped onions in a thick bottom steel pot, add a little salt and let it rest for a few minutes to sweat. Heat an iron tempering ladle and add the cumin seeds/powder. Sauté a little and add it to the onions. Sauté the onions till the moisture dries up and the onions start to brown slightly. If necessary, add a little water at a time to cook them till soft. The onions should be soft and translucent. Alternatively, add very little water and pressure cook for one whistle.
Add the chopped garlic and green chilli and sauté till they release their aroma. Continue the rest as above.
NOTE: Kokum is the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree from India and which has a dark purple rind when ripe and is often sold sun-dried and used in Indian cookery for its sweet and sour flavour.