Sindhi Besan Curry
A tasty main dish, goes well with rice. Basic recipe adapted from 50 great curries of India by Camellia Panjabi
You will need
1 ½ teaspoons tamarind pulp
6 cocum pieces (optional)
2 – 3 medium potatoes
1 small carrot
10 – 12 okra (bhindi)
6 green chillies
4 baby aubergines
150 g yam
65 ml oil
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
12 curry leaves
½ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
½ cup gram flour (besan) or wholewheat flour
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
12 – 15 cluster beans or thin French beans
1 heaped teaspoon sugar
8 mint leaves
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
Soak the tamarind in 100 ml of water and, separately the cocum in 100 ml of water, each for 30 minutes.
Scrub the potatoes. Cut into quarters or chunks if using large potatoes. You can leave the skin on. Scrub the carrot and cut into thin 4 cm thick strips. Trim the stem of the okra but leave a stub or the okra will become mushy when cooking. Chop 2 of the green chillies. Cut the aubergines in lengthwise. Peel and cut the yam.
Using a cooking pot of at least 2.8 litre capacity, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil and add the fenugreek seeds followed by the cumin seeds. After 30 seconds, add the ginger, chopped green chillies and curry leaves.
Fry for a minute, then add the asafoetida, and gram flour or wholewheat flour. Stir continuously for 4 – 5 minutes. The flour will absorb the oil and form a paste, but you must stir it now in order to give body to the taste. Turn the heat down to low and sauté properly.
Add the chilli and turmeric powders and another tablespoon of oil and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes. Then add 1.6 litres (1.6 litres of water for thin gravy like thin dal or 800 ml water for thick gravy - then the spicy vegetables well coated with thick gram flour mixture) of hot water, stirring continuously and the paste dissolves in the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the vegetables( the yam first, followed 10 minutes later by the potatoes and 5 minutes later by the other vegetables), with salt, sugar, the 4 whole green chillies, tamarind water, cocum and cocum water. Boil until the vegetables are cooked. Then add the mint and coriander leaves. The curry will be thicken slightly on cooking.
The whole green chillies are for those who like to eat chillies whole. If serving as a soup, leave out the whole chillies. The curry should eaten with rice.