Gujarat, the state that my family is from in India, is known for its prolific use of legumes. We eat a wide variety of legumes in a multitude of different ways. They are included in simple rice dishes to complex dals and rich meaty stews. They are a staple part of our daily diets. There are some varieties of legumes that I’ve only seen in Gujarat and that are rarely used in other parts of the world. I used to think that lal chora was one of these.
For years, I could not find the English equivalent of this mysterious lentil. I tried to explain to my friends who ate this delicious bean dish what the lentil was, but could come up with no equivalent. Our local Indian grocer was of little help as he too is Gujarati! I resolved that this lentil was wholly our own, not known to the rest of the world. But then, one day, I was wondering around an Asian market and came across a bag of beans that looked remarkably like my favorite chora labelled adzuki beans. Some internet research later confirmed that chora and adzuki beans were in fact one and the same. While I was a wee bit disappointed that these delicious beans were not unique to my part of the world, I was thrilled to know that these beans were popular the world over, and were even eaten as a dessert!
This preparation of adzuki beans is one of my all time favorite dishes from my childhood. It was on frequent rotation due to my frequent demands for it! The adzuki beans are cooked in a pressure cooker with water and salt. While the adzuki beans are cooking, a savory blend of onions and spices is made. Then at the end, you simply combine the two together for a delicious and filling meal! It is very simple to make, is very delicious, and really showcases my family’s garam masala. Be sure to set aside a small bowl of the beans once they are done cooking and drizzle on a bit of neutral oil, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. It’s a great snack before the full meal is served!
My favorite way to eat this bean dish, is to garnish it with cilantro and quick pickled onions. I’ll share the recipe for these delicious onions in my next post. The contrast of the rich, savory, almost melted onions in the base of the dish with the acidic tang from the pickled onions is absolutely wonderful. Also, like many dishes that feature my family’s garam masala, this dish goes exceptionally well with a squeeze of lime juice on top. Or, if you’re really into sharp acid like me, sneak several spoonfuls of the pickle brine and pour it in! It’s delicious!
Adzuki Beans with Green Onion ~ Aadhan na Chora
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 4||Total:|
A delicious, savory adzuki bean stew with homemade garam masala topped with pickled onions and cilantro.
- For the adzuki beans:
- 200 g (1 cup) adzuki beans (lal chora)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp oil
- Water, as needed
- For the onion blend:
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 bunch green onion, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp asafetida (hing)
- 1 tsp finely minced jalapeños
- 1 tsp finely minced ginger
- 1 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro, to garnish
- Pickled onions, to garnish
- For the adzuki beans:
- Soak the beans in warm water for a few hours, if you have the time. If you are unable to soak the beans, just add a few minutes onto the time for the pressure cooker. Place in a pressure cooker with about 1 inch of water over the surface of the beans. Cook at full pressure for 15-20 minutes. Depressurize the cooker according to the instructions of your pressure cooker. If it is approved by your manufacturer, run the edge of the cooker under tepid water to depressurize.
- (Take out a small scoop of the beans to eat with oil, salt, and pepper. It's sooo good!)
- For the onion base:
- Place the oil in the base of a large saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil warms, but is not yet hot, add the asafetida and allow it to cook until aromatic and sizzling. Add the yellow onions and salt, and stir. Cover and cook, stirring intermittently until the onions are translucent and just turning slightly golden. At this point, add the turmeric, jalapeños, ginger, and garlic and stir to combine well. Cook for a few more minutes. Add the green onions and a 1/4 cup of water and allow the green onions to wilt.
- Add the cooked adzuki beans to this mixture and stir well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the garam masala, stir well, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Allow to rest for 15-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld before serving.
- Garnish with plenty of cilantro, lime juice, and pickled onions and enjoy!
Eat with flat bread such as naan or roti
Excellent with rice or quinoa