There are days when one wants to eat something fancy or something spicy or elaborate. Then there are those days one longs for a simple, minimalistic meal of roti and sabzi. The other day I had a hankering for this particular gavar bean sabzi. Yes, I see those raised eyebrows and surprised expressions. But c’mon people! I do cook vegetarian and healthy, you know. Life’s not only about eating sweets. There is much pleasure to be had from eating vegetables. Even the ones that aren’t potatoes. Even Tanmoy is begining to agree with me on this!

This recipe is my mother’s. When we were kids we did not (understandably) like gavar beans. I’d be surprised if any kids do, actually. But these slender, somewhat harsh and earthy tasting beans are packed with fibre and minerals and vitamins and iron and calcium and what not and like all mothers, mine tried everything to get us to eat them. Papa saw to it that we finished first helpings, but they couldn’t get us to like it or ever, ever ask for second helpings.

Until this recipe came along, that is.

It is deviously simple. Even as a kid I liked it. But I will admit that it can be an ‘acquired taste’ for some. What I like best about it, apart from the fact that it lets you positively boast about what a healthy meal you just ate, is the many dimensions that it brings to the palate. There’s the very distinct earthy taste of the gavar beans themselves, the milk adds a very pleasing mellowness to it and the garnishing sqeeze of lemon lends a fresh third dimension. Hmmmm. I could’ve been talking about a fine wine, right now!

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Crack open a small sweet red onion. Do not cut it, but crack it open with a strong whack of the fist (challenge the ‘Man’ of the house to do that, if you can’t manage it yourself). Marathi people will know what I’m talking about. Serve the gavar beans with chapatis and the inner layers of this cracked onion.

Prep time : 30 mins
Serves : 4


400 gms Gavar Beans, cleaned and chopped into 1 inch long pieces
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder (or to taste)
A pinch of Asafoetida or hing
1/4 cup milk
Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in deep frying pan. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds start crackling, add the turmeric and hing.
  2. Add the chopped gavar beans and mix it well. Add the red chilli powder and stir. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the milk. Stir and cook covered for a few minutes. Add salt to taste and mix well. The milk will part and tiny cream granules will be formed. This is normal.
  4. Continue to cook with a lid on, stirring a few times in between, until done. For the last couple of minutes, cook without the lid and let any remaining liquid evaporate.
  5. Garnish with chopped corriander and a dash of lemon juice. Serve with chapatis with raw onion on the side.


When buying the gavar beans, be sure to choose the young ones and leave out the thick old ones. The thicker ones will be somewhat bitter and will have a ‘string’  on the spine which will have to be removed before chopping.