Spicy Nutty Cluster Beans

vegehaul Oct 2007

Yes, about that stunner gavar recipe. I never cared much for these beans. It may have something to do with the name – in Hindi the word also means ‘a country bumpkin’.


But this summer I went from disliking them to not being able to pass them by. I went from cooking them once a year (so that my FIL could not truthfully say that I never cook these) to cooking them once a week. I agree, they’re gorgeous. 😆

There were a few hits and misses on the way to this truly fantastic recipe. Here’s the whole story.

Some time back I attempted Manisha’s nutty green beans, albeit with a little less oil. Naturally! 😀

cluster beans

I didn’t have the kanda-lassun masala she used in the recipe, and followed her suggestion to use garam masala (she must have meant Maharashtrian garam masala!). Sorry, those beans turned out nothing to write home about. I suspected that there was more to the masala than she was letting on…

A little later she wrote about left-over matters. By now I (ahem) knew her a little better and prodded a little more about the kanda-lassun masala. Turns out, she’s a little like my mom – she will not tell you all she knows the first time around. This time she let it slip that some goda masala might be in order. Okay, so if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Try asking her again.

ghati masala

And try again I did. Using all her tips (and reading in-between the lines), and using gavar instead of green beans, and ghati masala instead of kanda-lassun masala, I got myself such a wonderful recipe that I had to make it every week after that till the cluster beans season was finally over last week.

goda masala

You can get around the kanda-lassun masala by using ghati masala (I get my supply from TH’s aunt in Mumbai) + goda masala. If you don’t have ghati masala, triple the amount of garlic and onion in the recipe, and add lots of red chilli powder. Goda masala is not optional – so get yourself a Maharashtrian friend or, if you have nothing better to do, make your own.

chitkyachi bhaji

Spicy Nutty Cluster Beans
(totally inspired by this)

250 gms gavar (cluster beans), strung and snapped to 1” lengths, about 2 C
¼ cup freshly roasted peanuts, skinned and crushed coarse
½ a red onion, chopped very fine, about ¼ C
a few garlic cloves, smashed (I was using very small bulbs, desi variety)
¼ t turmeric
1 ½ t ghati masala (or use more of onion-garlic-red chilli powder)
½ t goda masala
½ t red chilli powder (optional)
½ t rai (small mustard seeds)
¼ t (mild) hing
1 T oil

Heat oil in a heavy pan or karahi. Add mustard seeds, cover with a lid immediately, and let splutter. Once the mustard has calmed down, add hing, followed by the onion and garlic. Fry this over medium heat till almost dry (about 5 min). Add turmeric and ghati masala. Stir till fragrant (a few seconds). Add the prepared beans. Stir and sprinkle with salt and goda masala. Add a tablespoon of water and mix. Cover and cook till done (about 10-15 minutes), stirring every few minutes. Mix in the crushed peanuts just before serving.

Try this once and tell me if it is not addictive. [Nabeela, your demand is my command!]

Manisha has her way with cluster beans: Chitkya ani Kalya Vatanyachi bhaji (Cluster beans with black peas)
Indira’s Cluster beans Curry
The Cook’s Cottage has another version: Cluster Beans Bhaji

Tags: beans, cluster beans, gavar, ghati masala, goda masala, vegetarian, under 30 min


Published by Anita

A self professed urban ecologist!

43 thoughts on “Spicy Nutty Cluster Beans

  1. I protest the mother thing! Strongly! You will receive a petition signed by all my various offline personalities and online avatars. Hmmph!

    In my defense, goda masala is as difficult to find as kanda lassun masala in the US. (Although things have improved in the last 6 months or so.) Therefore the suggestion to use garam masala, Maharashtrian or not. Cripes! Talk about trying to help and getting it thrown back in yer face! Where’s the gratitude?

    Oh! Oh! I see it now – all that link love! Now I’m feeling all rosy and warm inside!

    And, if you notice, Maharashtrians will generally add some gul (jaggery) to chitkyachi bhaji to help mask some of the bitter taste. Jyotsna also adds gul to her gavarichi bhaji!

    😆 Thank you, thank you…did I not say that?!
    “You’re the inspiration…”[sings]…totally!

  2. Anita, I love the warm feel of the first photo. Took me to my granny’s kitchen so full of produce, warmth and laughter. I am not able to procure the ing for goda masala. Do readymade ones do justice?

    😀 Manisha recommends the Ke-Pra brand (I think) – I have never used any of t he ready made ones.

  3. no, anita, i have goda masala, and even some kanda lasun masala sent by a blogger friend. but i will not cook beans. they taste like grass which a bovine creature has just anointed with something. j can cook it if he wants to.

    what other veggies can be used? root veggies? how about black eyed peas? maybe that’ll work. and how long does it take you to skin those damn peanuts? it’s the skinning that keeps me away from the desi peanuts, though i agree they taste more ‘authentic’.

    Then you are all set, Bee. When at first you don’t like, try again 😆 I felt exactly as you do….and Delhi gavar is not that good to begin with. Try it with gavar or green beans first…any of the veggies that you can make into poriyal, should be good.

    Skinning peanuts is easy – piece of cake! Wait till they have cooled off from their trip to the microwave – rub them between your palms to remove the skin, toss and blow – I do this bit in the garden so there is no clean-up!

  4. I disagree with you on the mother thing Anita…I have tried Manisha’s recipe, used a little jaggery also as she mentioned. It was an instant hit (I don’t remember which masala I used..but I didn’t use any of the masalas) :D. The kala vatana- beans combo was very delicious.

    Bee, I HATE these beans…but I simply loved this combo, give it a try once, its yumm….

    I see it is all sorted out… 😆 Now try this recipe 😉 too!

  5. Hi Anita, Well, I do not know much about the ‘masalas’ you were talking about, but i really love ‘Gavar Ki Phalli’ a looot ! But ! Alas in my place, its just difficult to get fresh and tender Gavar, Whenever i go to the store, it’ll either b already picked up by other buyers, or the old and coarse Gavar will b left. So, i really want some of these, am craving for it..
    Very nice pics 🙂

    As they say, if you can’t get fresh, try frozen! And if you really really love your gavar, you could always grow some and harvest them at their tenderest…I did have some simply prepared gavar in Belgaum, just like Manisha’s other recipe, and it was very good – in fact, not bitter even! All these hybrids have been bred out of flavour…

    For the masalas try your luck at your Indian store.

  6. Kya recipe hai :). Gawar phali is difficult to find here, i’ll try with other beans. i have goda masala but no clue about the ingredients of the other masala. extra kanda-lasoon sounds fine. i am pretty sure this will be addictive. i have tried the beans-wangi combo with goda masala before and i love it!

    Goda masala is indeed a very complex combination of spices and flavours – smoky and fragrant. Great with aloo-baingan too!

  7. Psst! Shilpa! Over here! Anita used my green beans recipe to make gavar! And, you’re right, there is only phodni and no masala (goda or kanda lasun) in my recipe. And yes, there has to be gul in gavarichi or chitkyachi bhaji.

    Musy, try the frozen gavar. It’s not bad at all. There is one brand though – Swad perhaps – where you have to thaw and wash the frozen veggies before you can cook with them.

    Anita, maybe now you might comprehend why I suggested garam masala 😆

    Yeah yeah…

    Thaw and wash?!

  8. Gosh, Now I will have to buy these darn beans just to see what the fuss is about. And I have to ask what this ghati masala be?

    Anita, I hope it is you who answers ‘cos other wise I might have to ask Manisha, TWICE.

    I am not too good at deconstructing spice blends- this one is definitely lots of garlic, onion, and tons of red chillies, that have been fried well. The list of ingredients here is staggering!

    Manisha, please feel free to answer other questions…this one’s mine. 😀

  9. Manisha, after posting that comment, I actually clicked the link which Anita has mentioned and understood she was talking about some other recipe :(. Instead of making myself look more stupid, I thought it is better to keep quiet :D. Somehow when I started reading this post, I thought she was talking about the other recipe with cluster beans and black vatana..Grrrr

    Most of the time, Manisha manages to make me look quite stupid… 😀 I exasperate her with really stupid questions.

  10. how about u just get us the recipe of ghati masala from TH’s aunt??? I would love to have my own 🙂
    The recipe looks yumm and i would live to try it. And i really was jobless and made my own goda masala sometime back – dont know too many Maharashtrian friends around here who are willing to share some precious Goda masala 😦

    Alas, TH’s aunt doesn’t make it herself! She has a trusted fella who makes it for her-but try this link, seems like a potent mix!

  11. Shilpa, even I was confused for a while! Kale vatane and gawar is a very simple recipe and I love it!

    And, did someone just shout twice? What the…who…

  12. If I have so much command over you my friend, I demand that you send me some Alphonsos, pronto!! 😉
    P.S: You had to post a recipe with thousands of exotic masalas, didn’t you? I suppose its revenge for all the ice cream recipes I’ve been posting….*sigh*

    Has been pureed and tinned and sent to the Indian store near you 😀 Bring it home this weekend, till I can send fresh ones next season.

    Yeah, what’s with all those ice cream recipes in this cooler weather?! Can’t say I was not tempted…You could use the time to make them spice blends, you know (as I run and hide).

  13. Best and rest, where do I fit in? 😡

    Skinning peanuts, ha ha! Bring out the red wine and see how fast you get skin…off the peanuts.

    And, yes, thaw and wash. I couldn’t believe it either. Produce of India, it said. Marketed by a company in Cun-eh-da. 😆 Was very hard to swallow when I realized that we had been eating dirt the first few times. Same with frozen methi. I stopped buying the methi. 😦

    I know Belgaum can do no wrong and that’s right – my parents grew up there after all – but I am sure the bhaji wasn’t bitter even cos Lakshmibai is sure to have added some gul.

    You are in a class of your own… 😀

    You think she added gur, hmmm…I thought maybe it was the attribute of the ‘famed’ heirloom variety that my MIL missed so much!

  14. hhaha..guys I didn’t know a simple cluster beans would evoke so much dust!..anita..if you don’t want to ask manisha for her secrets..try out mine..there is nothing in it except of course peanuts..which of course you are good at skinning off..but the curry outs out excellent!

    Ahha, another gavar fan! And one who is willing to share her secret ingredients…What, Srivalli, no link?

  15. I went looking for ANY kind of (fresh) green bean tonight…nada. I’ll look for the frozen Swad ones with the dirt, as I ain’t never et deez here funny-lerkin’ beans and’d like to. I’ve read about them though! 🙂

    Ghati masala: that looks like a fun recipe to kill an afternoon- 40 minutes?! It took me that long just to read the ingredients…

    I have one question though. Say we skip the ghati masala, and increase the 1/4 C onion into 3/4 C and the 1/2 t ground chiles into 1 1/2 t…but how oh how do we triple “a few garlic cloves”?!!! 😀


    Something tells me you are not quite the country bumpkin you are pretending to be!

    Maybe you should take a few of them cloves – repeat the step three times! 😆 Not like you will stop at the 1 1/2 t of chillies…

    You are hilarious you gavar fella! Nothing can slip by you or TLO!

  16. Gavar is finally basking in blogger love 🙂 . Anita I like the collander.

    Ain’t it pretty? Copper plated with tin on the inside – one of my fav kitchen things.

  17. Forgot to add I have a stunner gawar recipe too ;)…check out my archives or if you’re feeling lazy here’s the link

    Very stunning, Nabeela, and I can draw parallels with this one…that masala could well be considered a variation of kanda-lassun or ghati masala!

  18. Anita, I could not stop myself from trying this yesterday (after all the halla-gulla here). I used normal green beans as Manisha has mentioned and used actual kanda and lasun (as you mentioned). It was great :D.

  19. just glanced through the list of ingredients on that site and it looks something like a more potent Goda Masala. But no onions in the list. Or maybe I missed it in that long list.

  20. Lovely lovely photos – and a beautifully done website. First time visiting, but I will be back to try out some of the recipes. For now, just looking at all the gorgeous pictures & drooling 🙂

  21. Listen, when you all have all the masala recipes worked out, can you please drop me a line and let me know 🙂 I’d like to try them too. And you better believe if I can’t find the things here, I am asking you all to send me them (lol) I may be laughing but I am serious 🙂

  22. haaa country bumpking…. i used to always wonder why these beans are called ‘gavar’ 😀 !!! dont get gavar here in africa…will try with normal green beans…

  23. I can’t read the recipe yet — I am still drooling over the photos. That first array of veggies is nothing short of spectacular!!


    And the real loot starts now, with the onset of winter!

  24. well…this has been rolling all over..you guys are so funny…hhaha…you should read what manisha has said about you…hohoh…I can expect another sparkle to go off now..I am coming from that link you anita….

    and abt the link..here it is…check it when you are feeling better from what manisha had to say on you..:D:

    Hmmm…in a gravy – interesting!

  25. Hey, send this yum masala to my Spoonful of Christmas, please, please lovely please. I loooove masala powders. Will be happy to post it up for you 🙂

    Anything, for you, Zlamushka! I do have another recipe that I have used as a house-warming gift!

  26. Hey Anita,
    Back here after long.
    Perfect recipe for me – just have these beans washed and chopped sitting in the fridge since a while….
    I have bought Bedekar’s Ghoda masala, which includes copra, nagsekar and all that you wrote about, so it should be good….ghaati masala nahi hai…so will just add more kanda lasoon – will try this tonight – need a simple meal after all the feating and mom’s and aunt’s
    Happy Diwali

    Good to see you here, Nandita. Hope you did try the recipe – it is a very satisfying one. Happy Diwali!

  27. Hi…Happy belated diwali to you…your recipe is really different from the way we make it in Rajasthan…we use hing n a lot of dry masalas after steaming the Gawar-fali(thats what we call it there)…will surely try yours after I get access to goda masala…do we get it ready made?

    Yes, you can get packaged goda masala.

  28. Just discovered your blog! and as a recently moved Delhiite am glad that I have someone to pick their brains on where to get what! 🙂

    Very coincidentally my best friend who was in town last week told me about this recipe and how nice it turns out and how I should try it out. I triumphantly told her gawar season was over now! Now that I have seen a pic and the rave review, want to try it NOW :pout:

    Thanks, will be back!

    Yes, gawar season is truly over now. You could try this recipe with some other beans such as French beans (in Manisha’s original recipe) or semphali, both of which are in season.

    Welcome to the Mad Tea-Party, and to Delhi too!

  29. I keep coming back to this recipe to drool some more. I might make it for Thanksgiving to replace the usual green bean casserole, which consists of the following put into a baking dish and slammed into an oven for awhile: canned, french-cut green beans, Campbell’s (registered trademark symbol) condensed cream of mushroom soup, French’s (another trademark symbol) french-fried onions (a bit like very dry, crispy onion pakoras..but not. These are also festively-sprinkled over the top). It turns into a bubbling green goop that has graced the Thanksgiving table since…well…a long, long, long time. Although I am thinking that the pilgrims went without… 😀 I think your/Maneeshy’s recipe would be a tad more exciting! However, you may now feel honoured to be blessed with the aforementioned recipe in exchange. Fair is fair! 😉

    Straying from tradition, are ya? I’m here a day late – so did you? If you added lots more chillies and were going for the ear burning – nose streaming effect that Manisha loves so much.

    Err, the French bean mush recipe…may not feature on these page, but thanks for thinking about a fair exchange…must mole be served over chicken only? You seem to have sworn vegetarianism, and the recipe may never see the light of the day!

  30. I was going to make my nutty green beans but then I went and got invited for a real American Thanksgiving dinner at 1 pm. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy, bean casserole etc. I don’t know about slammed into the oven part cos these folks usually eat fresh and healthy. Their tortilla soup had my ears burning and my nose streaming…anyways so I may be cooking dinner after all!

    Oh and get yer own blog, fella!

    Did you exchange your recipe for the tortilla soup one? Sounds like one I’d like to have!

    Oooh, how I miss turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and….[sigh]

  31. Mole poblano? What’s that? Actually I bought the chicken for it… so…getting closer Nitalu! 🙂 The traditional dish uses turkey actually, but even in Mexico chicken is often used.

    Yes, I did indeed make the gavar recipe- huge hit! Danny LOVED them especially, as it was cuminless. 😉 And I loved them too- thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe. I used just normal green beans…and oh…I added 1/2 t sugar. Really its an easy recipe…did the peanuts first so it was out of the way. And yes, I did the tripling, so medium-hot for the chiles (too hot for James, which left more for the rest of us)…I ended up using about 9 cloves of garlic… 😀

    TLO: yeah yeah yeah… 🙂

    There are many cumin-less recipes…all of Kashmiri practically, and a good bit of Maharashtrian ones!
    Sugar? Why ever not? I bet it’s another nice twist!

  32. The original recipe is with normal green beans! This gavar business is Anita’s twist. But 1/2 tsp sugar. No!!!

    But whatever gets your taste buds, I guess! Sigh.

    Why so wistful, dear TLO? It’s only a half spoon of sugar…

  33. Aw…and I thought that little touch of sweetness was so delightful! (“Delightful”…who says that? I don’t, so I don’t know why I type it! But the word is fitting…)

    I, for one, will try it next time. Yes, delightful, it must be.

  34. Woow!!!! that sure looks slurpy.. I didn’t know that something like cluster beans can be so tasty.. and of course with the added benefit of reducing blood sugar levels 🙂

    Lip-smacking good 😀 ; try it!

  35. Hi, I guess you are trying to be funny by repeatedly using the word “Ghati”… i wonder what is the need for such racist Jokes? and no, i am not a maharashtrian, but i really find such jokes in very poor taste!! this is a public forum & maintaining decorun amd respect would be nice!

    I have no clue what the heck you are talking about! Where’s the joke? What racism? Does “ghati” not mean “of the Ghats?” You want me to call Ghati Masala I bought by some other new name??? It’s called that!

    And, this is not a public forum; it is my personal blog that is accessible for public viewing.

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