Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Bookmark Project: Tangy Curried Vaal

Well, well, well. I certainly learn something new every day. Usually in the first 15 minutes after I wake up, as I am sipping the first cup of tea and browsing through the latest RSS feeds.

I love all the beans in my pantry (and there are many), but the vaal (hyacinth beans) have a special place in my heart. Sprouted and peeled, they get cooked into two dishes that I have adored all my life. The problem is...the peeling! It is a little labor-intensive and needs a bit of planning, and this is why the poor vaal tend to languish in my pantry.

Aug09_1


Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes posted a recipe recently that showed me a new way to cook the vaal- unsprouted (I can live with that) and unpeeled (hurray)! Bookmarked!

And that's how I could make vaal today on the spur of the moment for a weeknight meal. All I did was soak the vaal in the morning for tonight's dinner. I adapted Shilpa's recipe slightly to omit a few spices and make a basic version of this curry. I seem to be genetically programmed to cook goda jevan (food with a hint of sweetness) and that's how a small lump of jaggery ended up in there as well. I loved the way it contrasted with the tangy tamarind and slightly bitter vaal. A simple curry with complex flavors. And no, you can't taste the peel.

Tangy Curried Vaal

Aug09_2

Adapted from Shilpa's delicious recipe

1. Soak 1 cup vaal for 8 hours or so, then rinse them and pressure cook them.

2. Soak 1 tablespoon or so of tamarind in a cup of hot water and extract the tamarind juice.

3. Roast the following together, then cool and grind into a fine powder. Add a tablespoon of cooked beans to the powder and grind again to make a thick paste.
1 heaped tsp. cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp. coriander seeds
1 heaped tsp. sesame seeds
1 heaped tsp. poppy seeds

4. In a saucepan, heat 2 tsp. oil. Temper the oil with mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and a sprig of curry leaves.

5. Add 1 small minced onion and fry it for a few minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to taste.

6. Stir in the cooked beans, spice/bean paste, tamarind juice and a small lump of jaggery. Add water as need to thin down the curry. Simmer for 10 minutes. Done!

I served the tasty curry with some freshly steamed rice and a simple subzi of eggplant and potato for a truly sumptuous weeknight meal.

This post goes to the bean-lovin' event, My Legume Love Affair. The 14th edition is being hosted at the home of this event, The Well-Seasoned Cook.

August has started and I find myself in a busy phase, work-wise. But I fully intend to continue cooking the bookmarks and featuring the successes in short posts like this one. See you soon!

27 comments:

  1. Vaal is one of my favourite legumes, but am lazy and time deprived to peel them. Thanks for this recipe I can enjoy it without the hard work! Your serving pot makes the dish look even appealing.

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  2. I have never seen hyacinth beans, but now I'm intrigued. Are they available in the US, or did you get them in India?

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  3. I'm going to bookmark your whole blog :D

    Like Julia Powell- go through all your recipes!

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  4. Your blog is to be bookmarked.

    I'm going to do a julia powell of a Julia child in you ;)

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  5. I've heard of hyacinth beans through other blogs, but didn't realize they are slightly bitter. Now, I am even more intrigued. Are they bitter b/c that is their nature, or only if you don't peel them?

    Thank you, Nupur, for this great contribution to MLLA.

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  6. Sprouting. Peeling. 2 reasons why I never make vaal.
    No sprouting. no peeling. Exactly why I am going to make this. The vaal in my pantry has been sitting there undisturbed for...i'd rather not say it!!

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  7. I love vaal too... this seems great. I shall try it out when S is back in town.

    Here are a few recipes you might like:


    http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2007/09/avrya-bendi.html

    http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2008/10/rangoon-mochai-sundal.html

    http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2008/11/rangoon-na-vaal.html

    http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/pooshnikkai-mochai-kootu.html

    No peeling involved here :)

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  8. Sure simple way..am loving it

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  9. Namita- The serving pot is a cute little thing I got from India, and I was trying to capture its shape as well as its contents, in vain :D

    Susan from Food Blogga- You do get them quite easily in the US, in stores that sell Indian groceries. They are labeled "Val" or "Surti Val". These are tasty beans, I definitely recommend trying them if you get a chance.

    A_and_N- LOL good luck with that! Meanwhile, I have to live to be 130 to cook through my bookmarks.

    Susan- It is just their nature that hyacinth beans have this pleasant, slight bitterness (the way some greens are bitter). I must say that sprouting and peeling them does reduce some of that, but both the peeled and unpeeled forms are very tasty in their own ways.

    aquadaze- I know exactly what you mean, sometimes beans can lie forgotten for years :)

    Raaga- Ooh, I missed all those recipes! They all look delicious, I'll have to try them out one by one.

    Priti- Thanks.

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  10. Cool..Love your version :), I have to try this soon. Btw..when I first started cooking with these beans, I didn't know they had to be peeled. But when I came to know, I had no interest to do that as we were already used to the un-peeled version :) (or I am just too lazy) :)).

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  11. Beautiful images! Sounds like a fantastic dish. I have lots of beans on hand at all times, but have not tried these.

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  12. I don't think I have ever tried these beans. The recipe does look yummy, and I'll be sure to pick up a packet of them on my next trip to the Indian store.
    By the way, I love this new bookmark series!

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  13. Wow!! I've never cooked with these. This looks wholesome and yummy - a definite bookmark for me ;-)

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  14. I like the fact that it is tangy... I did not eat vaal coz of the bitter taste.. but more coz of the peeling.. this one sounds the one for me!

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  15. That looks absolutely delicious...it would be great on it's own too..yumm..I also dislike laborious recipes..not that i do not make them..but it has to be pretty darn special for me to do anything extra!

    Rajitha

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  16. I used to love vaal all those years back when Mom used to make it - has become a distant memory after I left Mumbai!

    Thanks for bringing back those memories, I must look for them....and though I am not a "goad jevan person" but I must admit that I can't imagine vaal without the jaggery!

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  17. oh goody - another bean to try! :D I agree - peeling gets old (I did it the first couple of times I cooked dried chickpeas, but then I decided they were just fine with the peels), so a recipe like this is perfect for me! I don't know how My Love Affair with Legumes escapes my notice before - I'm looking forward to exploring past entries.

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  18. I don't think I've ever eaten or cooked with hyacinth beans.
    I guess I should use up the 10+ types of dals/beans in my pantry first before I even think of buying another kind!
    I love the vessel you've served the dish in. :)

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  19. Shilpa- Someday, when you have a little time, you must try the sprouted-and-peeled version of these beans, they taste wonderful that way too!

    Lisa- There's always a new bean to try no matter how many we keep on hand, right??

    Kamini- I'm glad you are enjoying this series- I'm really enjoying the hunt for great recipes in my bookmarks folder.
    Do find some vaal and give them a try- it is a delicious bean.

    Priya- They are very tasty indeed- worth bookmarking, buying and cooking ;)

    Manasi- Yes- then this recipe is for you!

    Rajitha- I won't go so far as to say I dislike laborious dishes, but I do like having different ways of preparing an ingredient, one of which needs very little time.

    Miri- Yes, vaal and jaggery do go together so well, the sweetness playing off the bitterness.

    Cathy- Peeling chickpeas must have been sheer torture!!! This bean is worth seeking out :)

    TBC- I know what you mean about endless varieties of dals. I rotate them, buying different ones each time.
    The vessel was from my India trip- stolen from my mom's stash ;)

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  20. Nupur, playing catch-up here I quickly skimmed this post and thought it said 'tangy curried veal'!!! I had to double check where I was ;)

    Thanks for highlighting Shilpa's recipe for no-peel val dal -- I love the taste but not the labor... lazy I know. I will have to try both versions now :)

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  21. Heh! For a minute there I thought this was Tangy Curried Veal -- and I was going to worry what the world was coming to if Nupur was taking up meat. Since it's vaal, it's a recipe i can embrace -- and will.

    Good to see you Sunday!

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  22. Linda- LOL vaal it is, much better than veal eh ;) ??
    I have seen vaal dal (split) on your blog but have never tried that myself, these are with the whole vaal beans. And they are very tasty- worth a try :)

    Becky- Trust me, vaal tastes much better than veal ever will :D
    And I highly recommend these "vaal" beans, Becky, they are very tasty!
    I'm so thrilled you could make it out on Sunday- and I hope you met the deadline!

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  23. THis looks so yummy. Will try it out soon ( do not have a stock of the beans). Great pictures as always.

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  24. Tried this out today - was absolutely yum!!! Going into my recipe book for repeats. Served it with a crisp arugula salad. I got a bit lazy and just tossed the onion and garlic in my vitamix and made a coarse paste as well and sauteed that. Then pureed whole fresh tomatoes (peel, seeds and all) and added that to the onion-garlic paste. Added some fresh torn basil in addition to the parsley, oregano and thyme. Delicious!!Made the house smell divine. Thanks Nupur and Julia! U guys are both awesome.

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  25. Oops I think I posted the comment above in the wrong section. Meant it for the Provencal quiche. Sorry!

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  26. I have been cooking with val beans for some time now, but I never knew that they were also called hyacinth beans, thank you for telling me this! I usually sprout val beans before cooking, but this looks like a very nice recipe and I will be trying it out.

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  27. This looks so yum..thanks for the wonderful recipe..should try it.

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