Monday, September 3, 2007

Pavta Usal (Stir Fried Lima Bean)

In Maharashtra the word Pavta is slang for a village simpleton. Or more precisely a term used by city folk to describe a simple person from a village who has moved to the city. Someone who sticks out like a sore thumb. Much like the wonderful people in Times Square who are not locals. Moving at their own pace, always looking up in awe at the tall buildings. It is also the Marathi word for Lima Bean. The Lima Bean we get at home is much smaller than the one found here in the US. Each bean is no bigger than the nail on your little finger. It also packs more flavour. Probably because most of the vegetables available in our markets in India are locally grown. Pavta was a staple in my mother's kitchen and she'd always a maintain a bag of fresh beans in her fridge. Pavta usal (stir-fried Lima Bean) was something she cooked very often. It was a quick, easy and delicious meal and I found it in my tiffin almost every week. For some reason none of the restaurants I know served Lima Beans which is strange. This dish is very quick and easy and cheap, too. And goes well with chapati, bread or rice.

2 cups Lima Bean (Pavta)
3 tsp Oil
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Maharashtrian Goda Masala
6-8 Curry Leaves
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a wok and add mustard seeds and curry leaves
When they start to splatter, reduce heat and add Chili, Tumeric and Goda Masala
Stir the masala into the oil and allow it to cook for a minute
Add Lima Beans and Salt
Stir so that all the beans are coated with spices
Add 1/2 cup water, stir and cover with a lid
Stir occasionaly till beans are cooked
Serve with a hot chapati