For me and my hubby, Farasbi/French beans tops this "bland taste" list. I buy french beans in minimal quantity and use it in pav bhaji, kadhai vegetable, or rice dishes. However, my mom makes a unique combo using this veggie. She combines them with harbhare/black chana and spices them up with coconut, coriander mix. I remember my colleagues complimenting its taste and uniqueness whenever I carried it in my lunch box.
Since the time I have started blogging, I have pestered my mom for several recipes at odd times. I catch her online on Yahoo messenger alternate days, and almost every week there's a recipe request either for a blog event or for increasing my blog posts. Our conversation goes like this:
Me: Mom, tell me the recipe for Farasbi Harbhare vegetable.
Mom: Soak harbhare overnight.
Me: How much?
Me: What does approximately mean? Tell me, how much should I take to serve 2 people?
Mom: About 1/2 cup.
Mom: The next day, wash and cut farasbi. Cook both farasbi and harbhare in a pressure cooker.
Me: Hmmm..ok..(Frantically, noting all her instructions in a Word doc or Notepad, ignoring all the spelling mistakes).
Mom: Make a tempering and add vegetables to it. Next, add red chilli powder, salt, garam masala. (She's dictating all this at a super fast speed.)
Me: Go slow, go slow. And repeat the last sentence. How much red chilli and garam masala?
Mom: Andaje.. (meaning approximately)
Me: Aai, I told you "approximately" won't work. I don't want to mess up the dish. Plus, I want to post the recipe on my blog. I can't tell my readers to use approximate spices..They will stop visiting my blog.
Mom: (after much pondering)..Ok..Around 1/4 spoon red chilli, 1 tsp garam masala.
Me: Fine. Tell me the rest of the recipe.
And so, mom dictates the rest with some halts and questions from me. She uses a spicy mixture called 'vatan' in Marathi to spice up this dish. Here's a detailed recipe:
Farasbi Harbhare bhaji/French beans with black chickpeas
- Soak 1/2 cup black chickpeas in double the quantity of water, overnight.
- The next day, wash and cut the french beans in 1 inch pieces. You should have 1 cup of cut french beans.
- Drain the water from the soaked black chickpeas.
- Pressure cook the chickpeas and french beans for 2 whistles. You can either cook them together or in separate containers. Once cooked, drain the water and keep aside.
- Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 2-3 green chillies, and 10-12 coriander sprigs in a mixer/blender. Add water and blend into a paste. This is the spicy mixture or 'vatan' for the vegetable.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Make a tempering using 1 tsp mustard seeds, pinch of asafetida, and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
- Add the cooked french beans and chickpeas. Mix together.
- Next, add 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, salt to taste, 1 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp sugar, and 4 tsp peanut powder. Mix well.
- Add the spicy paste made in step 5.
- Add around 1/4 cup of water and mix again. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
Verdict: When I chatted with mom again, I told her the outcome of the vegetable. We loved it. We will be making this combo again and again. Do give it a try and enjoy its unique taste.