Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagna or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past. –Homaro Cantu
Though an only child of working parents, I was far from being a pampered kid. While my parents were away on work, my granny (Nani) took to my parenting and all my years as a naughty child and a capricious teenager I had a doting grandmother who possessed an iron fist in a velvet glove; she not only bestowed all her love upon me but also ensured to inculcate a sense of regiment in me.
I also do remember my granny for the culinary brilliance that she displayed every time she would cook for us. However, as I was growing up I witnessed her eye-sight gradually diminishing that hindered her appearances in kitchen but it was under her able tutelage that my Mom took to cooking and I became witness to the process of a legacy being handed over from one generation to other. If I can correctly recall this was also the time when I found myself smitten by these culinary adventures and occasionally started taking lessons from my Mom.
The culinary prowess and the dexterity of my granny were so well known that she was often beckoned by our keen and excited neighbors during Ganeshotsav (Ganesh festival) for preparation of Ukadiche Modak that was her specialty dish.
There were many more recipes that she had in her repertoire, but two of those recipes that have always shone like pearls amongst her innumerable heirloom recipes and those that would make me drool over every time it was prepared in our kitchen were Vaalachi Usal (Vaalache Birde) and Varan. It was customary for her to makes these preparations on festive days and those day my joy would know no bound. Mesmerized I would watch the two prominent ladies of my household stir some magic in kitchen and produce these delicious dishes with amazing finesse and dexterity, every time they would step into kitchen. As they would work their magic in kitchen, a tingle of anticipation would run through my taste buds in build up to these delicacies and I was never disappointed. The taste of these delicacies still linger on my mind and my taste buds, as I type this blog zealously.
This brings me to the recipe that I should now start to write about after an elaborate necessary pre cursor.
Vaalachi Usal is a Konkani preparation that is traditionally prepared on festive occasions. The chief ingredient involved in this preparation is dry lima bean also known as Kadve Vaal. These beans are soaked in water overnight, and then stored in a warm place that facilitates sprouting of these beans. The sprouted beans must then be soaked in water for another hour, which allows the skin to peel off easily and this completes the first step of the recipe. That’s a pretty exhaustive beginning you may say, but I can assure you of a delicious experience from this comprehensive preparation.
The taste can also be attributed to a tightly guarded secret that has hidden for long in Konkani/Malvani kitchen cupboards- Malvani Masala. You can learn more about this magical concoction of spices here.
I am filled with immense happiness and pride as I share my heirloom recipe that has been shared with me by my mother and Granny. You see, I am sharing a portion of my family legacy with this recipe. Try this recipe and remember to share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Find more Konkani recipes
- 250 grams Kadve Vaal(lima beans).Soak lima beans for 10-12 hours.After 12 hours of soaking time, drain the water.Now keep the soaked beans at a warm place until they sprout (8-10 hours).You can keep the beans in a turned off microwave for warmth.You can also tie the beans in a muslin cloth and leave unattended for 8-10 hours.After 10 hours, soak the sprouted beans in water for an hour.This will make the peeling off process easier.Let's peel the skin off the beans.
- 2 drumsticks cut into 2-3 inches pieces
- 100 grams potatoes cut into cubes
- 100 grams onions sliced into lengths
- 60 grams grated dried coconut
- ½ cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 125 grams tomato purée
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 12-15 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp asafoetida powder
- 5 tsp Malvani Masala
- Cooking Oil
- In a pan dry roast coconut until it turns brown in color
- We will take coconut off the heat.Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Fry garlic until it becomes light brown in color.
- Now add onions.Fry onions until it turns golden brown.We will fry the onions on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add coriander leaves and roasted coconut.Mix all the ingredients.
- Take pan off the flame and allow masala to cool.As it cools down, grind them into a fine masala paste.
- In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp oil.Add asafoetida powder and curry leaves.Add masala paste. Bhunao the masala.
- After 2 minutes, add turmeric powder, Coriander powder and Malvani masala. Bhunao the masala. Add 1-2 tbsp of water for Bhunao.
- Oil begins to ooze out from sides of pan after 5 minutes of bhunao. Add salt to taste, potato cubes, drumsticks,sprouted lima beans (vaal). Stir well to coat with masala.
- Now add 2-3 cups of water.Allow the gravy to boil on medium heat.
- As gravy starts to boil, reduce the heat to lowest. Cook the beans covered.Beans get cooked in 15 minutes.
- Add tomato purée. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes.After 4 minutes take pan off the heat.Vaalachi Usal is ready to be served.
- Vaalachi Usal can be served with rice flour bhakri, Varan and steamed rice.
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