Kothavarangai Pulikulambu ~ Cluster Beans spicy gravy

I learned this recipe from my MIL. I am not a huge fan of cluster beans and I remember my Grandma making a mean kothavarangai paruppu usili during my childhood. Apart from that I never gave that much importance to this particular vegetable. But this is one veggie that is very famous in the countryside rather than the cities.

My MIL has this plant in her backyard and some dish out of this veggie crops up in regular intervals during the lunch time whenever we go for a visit and this happens to be my favorite.
You'll need: 
Kothavarangai / cluster beans – 100 gms
Sambar onions / shallots – 10 to 12
Tamarind – a small lemon size
Sambar powder – 3 tsp (as per ur spice level)
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
For tempering:
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Channa dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Trim the edges of the cluster beans and cut them into finger length size. Soak and remove the skin of shallots and chop them fine. Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract thick puree.

Heat the oil in a pan and add all the ingredients for tempering one by one in the given order. 

Now add the chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent. The trimmed cluster beans goes in next and sauté well for 3 to 4 mins over a low flame till the raw smell of it disappears and oil starts leaving the sides.

Now add the tamarind extract, sambar powder and salt and mix well. Cook covered with a lid over a small flame for 10 to 15 min till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears and cluster bean is cooked well.

Serve this hot and sour gravy along with rice with a dash of ghee. You couldn’t have asked for a better lunch.

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