Mochakottai Kuzhambu (Lima Beans Curr

From a very early age, I have had dishes using lima beans flaming hot. My mind is therefore conditioned to eat this legume really chili hot. When Hari first joined my family, he made a dish using lima beans – and it was not hot at all. My taste buds were left with a sense of disillusionment. I thereafter never tried using lima beans.
Many years ago, when my sister was visiting me, I requested her to teach her recipe to Hari. To my utter dismay, her recipe was even milder than the one Hari used to make. This meant that the legume never entered my home. Recently, however, I had a craving for a really chili hot lima bean preparation. So, I taught Hari the recipe that I personally liked. And he did turn out an outstanding dish – but with the chili way under the tolerance limit. It was still way better than the milder versions that I had had over the years. So, I decided to share the recipe.
For those of my friends who cannot tolerate chili, I make no apologies. This dish is definitely not for you. But for those who do like chili hot preparations, go ahead and enjoy this one.

Mochaikottai Kara Kuzhambu

To Cook The Lima Beans
1 1/2 cups lima beans, washed
2 1/2 cups water
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Unrefined salt to taste
To Roast And Grind
2 onions, chopped
10-12 garlic cloves
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
1 tbsp chili powder – adjust according to taste
2 tsp sambar powder (see this blog under “Chutneys & Powders” for recipe)
3 tbsp grated coconut
Unrefined salt to taste
For The Gravy
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf, perunjeeragam)
1 onion, chopped
7-8 garlic cloves
1 large tomato, chopped
3 tbsp tamarind juice (or 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste)
1 sprig curry leaves
Wash the lima beans and transfer to a pressure cooker
Add the water, salt and turmeric powder
Cook for 5 whistles
Let the steam release naturally
Open the lid and set aside
To Roast And Grind To A Paste
Heat a wok and add the onions and garlic
Sauté till the onions are translucent – sprinkle a little water if necessary
Add the tomatoes and salt
Cook till the tomatoes are mushy
Add the coriander powder, sambar powder, chili powder and grated coconut
Cook till the raw smell of this masala evaporates
Remove from flame and cool
Then transfer to a blender
Grind to a smooth paste
Set aside
To Make The Gravy
Heat the same wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds
Add the chopped onions, curry leaves and garlic
Sauté for a minute
Add the chopped tomato and cook till mushy
Add the tamarind juice, cooked lima beans and ground masala paste
Adjust salt and mix well
Add a little water if the mixture is too thick
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes
Remove from flame
Serve hot with steamed red/brown/millet rice, idli, dosa or even Indian flat breads

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