Way back in my grandmother’s village, on one of my numerous childhood visits with cousins and sisters, there used to be this fun, campfire sort of snack. Fresh picked alsandhalu would be roasted in the dying embers of the afternoon fire. The result – smoky flavoured, smooth textured beans ready to be devoured. In our excitement to get to the goodies, we kids used to burn our tender fingers trying to open the hot outer casings, only to be chided affectionately. It was a simple snack, the preparation alone providing the much needed entertainment to kids holidaying in a remote village.
Today, I have no dying embers in my kitchen, but my memory is still fresh and if I close my eyes I can almost smell the smoked beans.
For our Sunday meal, I made a curry out of Alsandhalu. It’s a lively sort of recipe with tanginess and spiciness going hand in hand and goes very well with rice, rotis and ragi mudda.
Recipe Source: My Mom
Black- Eyed Beans – 1 Cup
Garlic – 4 – 5 flakes – Crushed
Tamarind – A gooseberry sized ball
Onion – 3/4th of a big onion – Finely Chopped
Tomato – 1 and 1/2 of a medium tomato – Finely Chopped
Curry Leaves – 5
Mustard seeds – 1/2 Teaspoon
Jeera – 1/2 Teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds/Vendhayam/Menthulu – A few
Turmeric – a Pinch
Chilli powder – 1 Teaspoon
Dhaniya Powder – 1 Teaspoon
Oil – 1 Tablespoon
Soak black-eyed beans overnight and pressure cook till tender. My Hawkins pressure cooker took 3 whistles.
Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup water.
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add mustard seeds and after they splutter, add jeera. Add fenugreek seeds and fry for a second. Do not let it brown. Add onion and garlic and fry till light brown. Add tomato and a pinch of salt and fry till the oil separates. Add turmeric, chilli powder and dhaniya powder. Add the beans and the tamarind water and let it simmer till it thickens a bit. You can add some more water if the curry is too thick for your taste. Add salt accordingly.
Garnish with coriander.
I use olive oil for health reasons and that too, a very small quantity. You can vary the amount as per your taste.