Monday, July 12, 2010

ChavLi chi usaL (Curried black eyed beans)

One of my favorite Maharashtrian staples is usaL, a curry made with sprouted beans. This curry is generally made using “goDa/kaLa masala”, which is a spice blend used in most Maharashtrian foods and varies slightly from one household to another. I usually make this usaL with the masala that my mom makes, but here’s a modified version using commonly available spices.
ChavLi (black eyed beans): 1 cup (before soaking) OR 1 can (~15 oz)
1 big onion – finely chopped
3 medium size tomatoes – finely chopped
10-12 sprigs of cilantro - chopped
2 cloves of garlic – chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger – grated
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon garam masala (Can use ground allspice instead of garam masala)
1/4 teaspoon grated jaggery or sugar (adjust quantity depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste
1. Soak the black eyed beans overnight. Drain and keep aside.
2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and once they start popping, add cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.
3. Add asafoetida and chopped onion. Sauté till the onion turns golden brown. Add tomatoes and half of the chopped cilantro. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and chili powder. Mix well and fry till the mixture starts leaving oil.
4. Add the beans, garam masala and sugar. Fry for a couple minutes and add water. Let it come to a boil, then cover and cook till the beans are soft.
5. Garnish with cilantro and serve with chapati/roti or rice.
To save time and energy, the soaked beans can be cooked in a pressure cooker (with 2 cups of water and some salt) before making the curry. A much easier option would be to use canned beans :-). But the usaL tastes the best when beans are cooked in the pot with the spices!!