This is a traditional PP recipe using a very elusive ingredient (at least in Mumbai markets) called Bajirao Ghevda (बाजीराव घेवडा). Till a few years ago, this bean was relatively easier to find. This is available at a select few places and only a handful of vendors stock it in vegetable markets typically at Khar, Dadar, Vile Parle etc. I am told that it’s quite abundant in Alibaug. This veg is seasonal and is available only in the months of Jan – Feb at these places. The beans are broad which makes it easy to fill them with loads of stuffing. They are quite fleshy and have a lovely flavour of their own. You can taste them distinctly despite the stuffing. This is a pretty versatile recipe. You could replace the bean with Capsicum halves or Snake Gourd (पडवळ). Any fleshy veg with a cavity to hold stuffing works fine. Likewise, the filling may be varied each time you make this dish. FrJom a completely vegetarian filling, to chicken/mutton mince, prawns (कोलंबी or करंदी is what most PP homes would typically use.) Here’s what the bean looks like (This recipe is for around 12 beans – approx 4 portions)
For the Stuffing –
3 medium onions – chopped fine
a handful of coriander leaves – finely chopped
Green Chillies – finely chopped
Salt to season
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp (you could add more if you want it hotter)
Pathare Prabhu Sambhar (I will do a separate post on this some day. Most PP homes make their own, there are a few people who sell this commercially but the distribution is restricted to PPs and those who have some PP connections/roots)
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Prawns (If using कोलंबी, chop/break into bits. If it’s करंदी which in my opinion adds a lot more flavour, use whole.) – 1 Cup
Besan – 4 tbsp (This will vary depending on how much water leeches out of the onions when making the stuffing)
Top and Tail the beans and open them out from one side to create a cavity for the stuffing. Set aside for now. Chop the onions, Coriander, chillies really fine and mix with a tsp of salt. Set aside for a couple of minutes till the onions leach out their moisture. At this point, add the besan and combine really well. Add all the powdered masalas and prawns to the mix. Check the seasoning and adjust the consistency of the stuffing with a little more water or besan. The stuffing must be of a dropping consistency (slightly thicker than pakoda batter.)
Now stuff the mixture into each bean and place in a steamer. These will need to be steamed for around 15 minutes, till the beans as well as stuffing are cooked.
Once the colour of the stuffing changes and the once running / dropping consistency mixture clings to the bean you’ll know it’s steamed.
Now shallow fry each one of these till they’re brown and crisp on either side. You could serve these with ketchup or green chutney as a starter.
Personally, I like these as an accompaniment to my meal of steaming hot rice with some mild shiryache (शिर् याचे)… A separate post on shiryache coming soon…