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I first tried gawar, also spelled “guar” and “guvar” (cluster beans) last August when Erum was preparing her mother’s bagara baingan for the blog. Erum, whose family had immigrated from Mumbai to Karachi, had grown up eating gawar sabzi, and showed me how to prepare it the way her nani (maternal grandmother) did. It was delicious.
Gawar is a type of French bean that has a faint bitter taste. It is difficult to find fresh gawar outside of India and Pakistan, which are responsible for 80 percent of its cultivation in the world. In India, gawar is primarily cultivated in Rajasthan and Gujrat. While in Pakistan, it is mostly grown in Punjab, Erum had trouble even finding it in Islamabad.
I however, was lucky enough to locate it in El Paso’s lone Indian grocery store (frozen, let’s not get excited), and thought it was time to break out the gawar sabzi recipe that Erum had shown me exactly a year ago. It did not disappoint, and took me 30 minutes flat.
You can serve gawar sabzi with roti, orrice alongside some daal. If you cannot find gawar/cluster beans, you can adapt this recipe and use regular green beans – just note that the taste will be milder and what makes this dish special is the unique taste of gawar itself. Enjoy x
Gawar Sabzi (Cluster beans)
- 2 tbsp oil canola/sunflower/vegetable
- ½ white onion thinly sliced in half rings
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp ginger paste
- ½ tsp garlic paste
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 12 oz gawar found in specialty Indian stores
- 2 large potatoes peeled and diced
- If you bought frozen gawar or cluster beans, thaw them before starting.
- Heat oil in a saucepan, and add onions. Fry onions on medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Add cumin seeds and fry till aromatic.
- Add ginger and garlic paste.
- Continue to fry onions till they are soft and translucent.
- Add a splash of water to deglaze the pan, and add diced tomatoes. Fry tomatoes and adding remaining spices and salt.
- Once the tomatoes have softened, add gawar. Lightly fry for a few seconds.
- Add the diced potatoes, and coat in masala.
- Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, and let the potatoes steam on low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Serve with roti or daal chawal.