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.
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;
Salt to taste.