Sunday, December 9, 2012

White Pigeon Peas in Coconut - Konkani Style (Dhavi Tori Ghashi)

Come winters, beans, lentils and legumes of different sorts gain the center stage in my kitchen. Sometimes, out of necessity and more often out of need. Its easier to fix up dinner with a bag of beans than run to do groceries in chilly weather where fighting windchill, getting a frostbite on your hands and ears are more scarier than managing with what you have in the kitchen. For one, I choose to go with latter. I am also glad that  I have the choices which folks belonging to my generation happily use and choose. For instance - frozen meals, canned food (BPA free variety if you are very picky), frozen package of individual or mixed vegetables, prepared foods if you are too sick to cook which make your life a bit easier. If everything else fails, there are plenty of restaurants/ pizzerias which will gladly deliver food at your doorstep.

White Pigeon Peas - Raw and Soaked
I used this particular type of bean found in Southern India. Its known as Pigeon Peas in English. In Konkani cuisine, the beans are known as Tori and there are two different varieties of this bean - white one (Dhavi Tori) and black one (Kali Tori). I had earlier posted a recipe on the black variety of this bean here. The bean is very tasty, has a tad bit nutty and creamy flavor and the skin has a tough texture, but packs quite a punch when used in curries and gravies.

Ghashi is a particular variety of Konkani curry which has the regular masala of coconut, red chillies and tamarind. The finish is provided with a seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds. My Ma and Grandma avoided the use of Cumin seeds for the seasoning, I follow the same practise. I have used Yam (Suran) as a complementary vegetable in the curry.

~ Dhavi Tori Ghashi with Suran ~
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

White Pigeon Peas / Tori (Dhavi Tori) - 1 cup
Yam (Suran) [Fresh or frozen] - 1 cup
Coconut Oil

Ghashi Masala -
Grated Coconut - 3/4 cup
Tamarind pulp - 2 tbsp
Red Chillies (Byadgi variety) - 3-5
Turmeric powder - a pinch

For Seasoning -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Clean and soak the beans overnight and pressure cook them for couple of whistles along with Yam if you are using the fresh variety. Save the stock for Saaru
Heat a spoon of oil in a small frying pan and roast the red chillies on low flame. Allow to cool. Grind to a smooth paste along with grated coconut and tamarind. Bring the beans to a boil, adjust salt and add the ground masala and Turmeric powder. If you are adding frozen Yam, add it at this stage. Once thoroughly cooked, turn off the flame. This process takes around 15-20 minutes.
In the same frying pan used before, heat a few spoons of coconut oil and season with mustard seeds. Once they begin to pop, add curry leaves and red chillies. Pour this seasoning over the cooked curry, cover with a tight lid. Mix before serving with Rotis/ Steamed Basmati Rice.

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