Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lilva Papaya nu Shaak (Indian beans and Papaya vegetable)- a Gujarati delicacy

I am a true Gujarati as far as food is concerned. I can talk, eat, sleep and wake up food. I have so far posted about 35 recipes but have not yet covered food from Gujarat. It's like Ghar ki murghi daal barabar ;) The other day, when I went shopping for vegetables, I saw one of my favourties- lilva, a kind of bean which we cook together with raw papaya. I was thrilled. I didn't even haggle over the prices (aren't you surprised?). I just stuffed my bag with half a kilo of lilva and a small papaya to go with it. I am going to post today a recipe for lilva papaya nu shaak (a Gujarati vegetable). This recipe is passed on by my grand mom to my mom and now to me- yay, I am rich!
Lilva Papaya nu Shaak is a special delicacy hailing from Patan, North Gujarat, which is my native place. During Diwali, the rate of lilva in Patan is as high as Rs. 1200/- per kg and they sure do have buyers. It is cooked with simple ingredients allowing the natural taste of the vegetable to linger on your palate. Papaya give it body and is a humble accompaniment of this pricey vegetable. A squeeze of lemon while serving enhances the flavour. It tastes delicious with phulkas and with steamed rice too.

500 g lilva (papdi) (an Indian bean)
1 small sized raw papaya - chopped in medium sized pieces.
2 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
1- 1.5 tbsp oil
2 tsp chilli powder
1/2-1 tsp turmeric powder
two pinches of hing (asafoetida)
Salt to taste
3/4 to 1 cup water (add more if necessary)

When Serving:
1 lemon
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) (optional)


1. Remove the beans from the shells, just like you would do for the peas.
2. Rinse them thoroughly with water and remove all excess water.
3. Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan. Add hing (asafoetida) and mustard seeds. Once they start crackling, add curry leaves. Now add beans and papaya and give it a mix. Add about a cup of water.
4. Add all the spices. Give it a good stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
5. Add finely chopped tomatoes. Mix once again.
6. Now close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook it till 3 whistles on high-flame. Let the pressure release on its own. Do not try to force open the cooker.
7. Once it has cooled down, open the lead and cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium flame and give it a good stir.
8. Remove from heat. Serve hot in individual vegetable bowls and add a gentle squeeze of lemon in each bowl. You can also garnish with coriander leaves.
It tastes yum with phulkas smeared with ghee. You can also it this delicacy with plain steamed rice.

I ate lilva papaya nu shaak with another Gujarati preparation - Adad Tuvar ni dal (Split urad and piegon pea with cumin and ghee tempering).
Love it!

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