I decided to introduce you to one of the purist recipes of Banaras today . Eastern UP to be precise . And I choose to cook only the quick ones you know .
This is an everyday subzi during summer days as the guards are considered cooling for the system and they are available in plenty . Seasonal gifts of nature. I enjoy all seasonal vegetables and use them in all the ways possible. This one, sponge guard is one vegetable liked by the husband quite dearly , all it's variations . One of the variations I have posted earlier and more will be coming in future as this a regular vegetable and i have many pictures in my drafts.
The subzi is called 'nenua chana ki subzi' or 'tori chana ki subzi' and although this is a quick recipe it needs some precision ...as it is with all simple recipes.
I like the guard slices well done but not disintegrating and the chickpeas well done and soft . This is difficult to achieve as the chickpeas take a long time to get done and the sponge guard cooks faster. Many times people don't mind hard chickpeas in the subzi or completely mushy slices of the guard in the subzi but I will do an extra step happily to get the perfect consistency I want....
black chickpeas soaked overnight 1 cup or a bit more
sponge guards 500 gm
onions sliced 200 gm
green chillied chopped to taste (i use about 4)
whole cumin seeds 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
mustard oil 1 tbsp
Boil the chickpeas in pressure cooker or in a pan with enough water and salt to taste. Do the pan coking of the vegetables in the meantime.
Heat mustard oil in a pan , I use my cast iron kadai hence the dark color of the curry. Throw in the cumin seeds and green chillies , in that order . The cumin seeds should get browned and green chillies just blistered...
Add the sliced onions and salt to taste . Fry the onions till they start sweating . Do not brown the onions. Add the turmeric powder and mix well.
Add the sliced sponge guards , mix well to coat and cover to cook . Enough water is released from the sponge guards to be cooked , just keep the flame low so it cooks slowly . Slow cooking makes this curry very flavorful .
Add the boiled chickpeas as soon as they get ready . If they are cooking simultaneously , they get ready by the time sponge guards start releasing water . This is the best time to add the boiled chickpeas . Slow cooking of the chick peas and sponge guards together brings the best flavors as i said .
The contrast in the texture and flavors of the guard and chickpea makes this curry very interesting. I like the way chickpeas give a nice bite with the soft slices of guard . The sponge guard has a nice sweetness to it , enhanced well by the onions . You would like the hit provided by the green chilies too, do not substitute them with red chilies or any other peppers . Actually do not substitute anything in the recipe as the ingredient list is already frugal .
Try the recipe if you are not familiar with it already . I know many people have grown up eating this. We like it with chapatis or even with rice . A bowl of fresh curds is all i need with it .