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Birdyachi Usal /Waalache Birde (Field Beans Curry)

Kadwe Waal

Kadwe Waal

Sprouted and peeled Kadwe Waal

Sprouted and peeled Kadwe Waal

Birdyachi Usal/Waalachi Amti

Birdyachi Usal/Waalachi Amti

If I am asked to name two things that I love in Maharashtrian cuisine; the one I grew up eating, the first favourite will hands down be Birdyachi Usal followed by Kothimbir Wadi (a coriander leaves and chickpea flour crunchy snack).

Birdyachi Usal; also called Waalache Birde or Waalachi Amti, depending on what region of Maharashtra you are in; has the Waal papdi beans as the central ingredient with a coconut and spice based curry. Now, every family has its own version of this curry; and I am sharing my family recipe here.

The Waal beans themselves come in two varieties; the slightly harder and bitter Kadve Waal  (picture attached) and the more softer, quicker to cook and sweeter in taste Surti or Gode Waal. There is an easy way to differentiate visually, the Kadwe Waal have a brown seed coat and the Gode waal have a pale whitish seed coat. In general, the Gode Waal take less time to cook, but also get squishy easily and the main advantage with them is that they are readily available in a sprouted, peeled form easily with vegetable vendors in this part of the country.

My preference for making this curry however remains the Kadwe waal, as I think they have a really nice flavor of their own that balances the sweetness of the coconut and jaggery and the sourness from the tamarind or kokum.

Making the curry itself is not very difficult. The cumbersome part is getting the skin off every sprouted bean, we make this a family activity and it is a nice excuse to make everyone gather around the table and spend some quality time together.

Ingredients:

Dried Kadwe Waal  (Field) Beans, 1 cup;

1 red onion, finely chopped;

3-4 small cloves of garlic;

3/4th cup freshly grated coconut;

2 coursely chopped green chillies;

½ tbsp Coriander seeds;

1tsp Cumin seeds;

Pulp from 4-5 pods of tamarind or 4-5 pieces of kokum;

1/2tbsp Jaggery, chopped;

Red chilly powder to taste;

1/4tsp Mustard seeds;

Asafoetida, a pinch;

Tumeric, a pinch;

1tbsp Oil;

Salt to taste.

Method:

  1. Soak the Kadwe Waal overnight in water. The next morning, drain off the water and tie up the Waal beans in a clean kitchen cloth and keep aside until the beans have sprouted. You can do this in a Sprout maker too. (This takes 1-2 days depending on the weather, and takes longer in winters)
  2. Once the beans have sprouted, transfer them to warm water and soak for 5-10 minutes. Then take them in a plate. Hold a bean between your thumb and index finger and apply pressure such that the seed coat comes off. Repeat for all the beans. Throw away any beans which may have black spots in the seed.
  3. Add salt, turmeric and just enough water to cover the beans; and cook the beans in a Pressure cooker. (Place in a pressure cooker, let it hold full pressure at high heat, then reduce the flame to low and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the gas and let the vapour pressure release by itself.)
  4. Place the grated coconut, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and green chillies in a grinder jar and blend to make a smooth paste.
  5. Heat the Oil in a Kadhai/wok. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Then add the asafoetida.
  6. Add finely chopped onions and fry them till they are golden brown. Then add the coconut spice paste and fry until oil starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  7. Add the cooked Waal beans, salt, jaggery, red chilly powder and tamarind/kokum pulp. Add water to your desired consistency boil for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serves with steaming hot rice or chapattis.
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This entry was posted on November 3, 2014 by in Recipes, The Family Recipes Project and tagged , , , .
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