It’s nippy tonight – it has snowed in the mountains and it is raining in Delhi. Some beans and rice is just what I would like…
I was lucky to get a little of the stash of fresh cranberry beans that a cousin brought over from a visit to the valley and shared with my mom who, indulgently, shared it further with me. I had never seen these beans fresh before. They are called thool razma in Kashmiri. Much rounder than the regular kidney beans, they do indeed, resemble tiny spotted eggs! I had never cooked with them or even eaten fresh ones before so I asked my mom for some general directions. She suggested I cook them with potatoes using the usual Kashmiri combination of fennel and dried ginger powder.
Unfortunately that week I got no time to try offbeat stuff. I was too busy even to photograph these prettiest of beans – those specks of pink-purple are rather attractive. You would have agreed had I a picture of them before the yellowing. The pods were getting squishy sitting inside the plastic bag. It was no way to treat beans that were obviously special. So, I shelled them and held them in the fridge one day more.
The next day I was determined to do justice to my exotic vegetables. Each quince got the attention that is rightfully its royal due. As did this cupful of cranberry beans. After the marmalade was done, I put the beans and potatoes to cook on one burner while on the other I made short work of the last quince which was cooked with eggplant for a most satisfying bumtchoonth wangun.
The beans too turned out really well. These are very starchy; just how I like my beans! As I chatted with mom on the phone about the recipe she informed that my Nani would add a little yoghurt while cooking and I could imagine how that would be good. Who knows what else she omitted to tell me! I, of course, unlike my secretive but well-meaning mother, have not held back any ingredients. Before I forget the recipe I share it with you here. And it is just in time for Sra’s Legume Love Affair too, which started at The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Fresh Cranberry Beans with Potatoes
(serves 2 – notice how my cooking portions have reduced? Symptom of empty-nest syndrome )
1 C shelled cranberry beans
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
1 tomato, chopped (about 1/4-1/3 C)
1/2 t saunth (dried ginger) powder
1 T saunf (fennel) powder
1 1/2 t coriander powder
1 1/2 t red chilli powder
1/2 t turmeric powder
1 T yoghurt (optional)
1 T mustard oil (or peanut oil)
1/2 t garam masala (optional)
Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Saute onions till pink. Add tomatoes and cook till the mixture has browned and the oil separates. Add all the powdered spices and stir till they are lightly roasted. Quickly add yoghurt (if using) or some water to prevent spices from burning. Add the cubed potatoes and the cooked beans and about a cup or cup-and-a-half of water. Add salt and give everything a stir. Close the lid of the cooker and pressure-cook on medium heat for 10 min. Turn heat off. Once the pressure has subsided remove the lid and stir in the garam masala. Add more water as needed – the dish should not be watery but have a thick gravy. Serve over steamed white rice.