Full Of Beans!!

At least, if not in the bamboo basket, this post is! Full of beans!! This is a common variety grown in the hilly areas of Assam. It looks like the Lobia/Phaseolus vulgaris which is cultivated in most areas of India.  There are so many plants that are endemic to this region and most do not come up on Google search. In my mother tongue the name of this plant literally translates to “carry” as in carry a load. The name must’ve been given because, instead of a spacious bamboo trellis, it’s happy enough on a bean pole and will bear generously without the luxury that’s usually reserved for the various kinds of Hyacinth beans.The blooms are a bright yellow. This is of the speckled seed variety as shown in the photo below. And the only ones that I’ve grown. As for the blooms of the creamy-coloured ones, the colour of the blooms could be different. With garden produce that have long associations one usually has an image or some images tucked away in some crevice of the mind. The sight of these beans remind me of mats in my parents’ backyard full of dry beans. Under a strong sun the beans would come apart with a little snap and a crackle thus making it easy to separate the “chaff from the grain”. And then they would be stored to be taken out at intervals, soaked overnight and cooked either on their own or with smoked meat or dried fish. These were never bought in the market then. Everyone grew them. But now they’re easily available, neatly packed in packets in the weight that you desire.Here’s a simplest bean dish I made. It was soaked overnight and then pressure-cooked with salt and turmeric powder. Then in a little oil I fried up some finely chopped onions, added ginger and garlic paste, two chopped green chillies, a quarter tsp of cumin powder, a quarter tsp of coriander powder, chopped tomatoes, then added the beans. For the garnish I used cilantro or as we say in India–coriander leaves.

Smoked meat, pork especially, enhances the taste of this dish. In that case the meat is fried with spices and then the pressure-cooked beans are added. In the case of dried fish, the fish pieces are lightly fried and added to the dal.

Whatever way this dish is prepared, it goes well with steaming hot rice, the staple food of our region. In our villages, when people come across each other, the most commonly used words are–Have you eaten (rice)? And answering that in the affirmative implies that all is well!

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About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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22 Responses to Full Of Beans!!

  1. Susie says:

    Your beans remind me of purple hull or black eyed peas. The dish sounds wonderful!

  2. Alice Joyce says:

    I’m always surprised at the beauty of pea blooms!
    As for the dish you’ve prepared: One word… Yummy.
    All best for 2010,
    Alice

  3. Stephanie says:

    Hmm… may try some of these beans soup one day. Your plate of soup look so yummy 😀 The only beans that I always take is those canned baked beans in tomato sauce he he…

  4. joey says:

    Love beans, this recipe, and the look of your new blog, Kanak!

    • kanak7 says:

      Joey, love that you stopped by! When I started blogging, I had intended to include recipes too. But somehow in the colourful maze of bugs and blooms, they took a backseat. I’ll be posting Indian/north-eastern recipes from time to time.

  5. Diana says:

    Hello Kanak,

    I found you! and love your new look/ new site.

    We stock dried beans of all sorts and your recipe sounds wonderful. The blossoms of these plants are often overlooked, but those of the eggplant as you suggest are quite stunning, and sweet pea blossoms always make such a nice dainty bouquet for the table.

    Kanak, if you don’t mind my asking, was there a reason for switching to wordpress?

    • kanak7 says:

      Di…thanks for coming over…loved reading what you’ve written. About the shift, it was getting difficult to format my posts. The last four posts were very difficult and the text looked as if someone was playing around on the page. Rather than not post (and die a thousand deaths) I moved to WordPress.
      I’m happy here but the thought that I should have posted about the possible shift didn’t occur to me then. Now I feel, I should have done that. Glad you asked.

  6. Wonderful to dedicate a post to beans!! So important in our lives. I love the yellow Hyacinth bean flowers. Great photos and your bowl of stew looks delicious.

    • kanak7 says:

      Carol…I may be spilling more beans in my coming posts:) Thanks! The yellow blooms are not of the Hyacinth beans. They belong to the lobia-like beans. Thanks for the mention about the photos!

  7. Carla says:

    Are these beans you have grown? How wonderful, the recipe sounds yummy:) Thanks for letting me know you moved!! Merry Christmas to you and yours too:)

  8. walk2write says:

    Seems like quite a few of my blogging friends have made the switch to WordPress. Your transition must have been a smooth one. I love the look of your new site! As for the problems with formatting on Blogger, I’ve just about had enough of that nonsense too. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas!

    • kanak7 says:

      Well, there were a few hiccups initially but I like the many user-friendly features here. Will be using many of them in the coming year:) It’s very pleasant here now and all of us are celebrating…there’s a Christmas dinner, a picnic in a nature reserve and a house-warming party to name just some of them. Without the unrelenting heat that we’re subjected to in summer, everything seems possible, enjoyable. Wishing you the best~ for Christmas and New Year!

  9. NatureStop says:

    Hi Kanak,
    Am back for a short while…ha ha ha
    Would have loved to try out the pork dish with beans.Maybe nxt time am home I’ll come over minus Arun:)
    Love your Header!!!.Hope you have a GREAT Christmas!!!

    Ruby.

    • kanak7 says:

      Hey Ruby….would LOVE to see the Seychelles trip photos!! Too bad you couldn’t make it to lunch! All because of that jungli janwar;)))) But so glad to see you here!:-) Will hop over now…heading to Erica’s tonight, a post-Christmas at Sano’s….and on and on!! Have a wonderful Christmas too!!

  10. Hello Kanak

    I’m thrilled because although I’ll miss the style of your old blog I’ve been having such trouble getting it to load, I’d near but given up. Today, this new version came straight onto my screen – comments and all! (Hope it wasn’t a one-off fluke!)

    Isn’t it interesting how pork and beans go together all over the world?

    And because I’m now a long way behind with your news (and insects too!) I don’t know whether or not you celebrate Christmas. In our family we do – so I hope it is ok to take this moment to wish you and your family all the very best.

    Lucy

    • kanak7 says:

      Hi Lucy, I’m so happy to know that my page actually loaded and I hope it isn’t a one-time thing!! We don’t celebrate Christmas at home but we all head over to our friend Erica’s place. It’s a tradition that we happily follow:) I love her decorations, and of course we all sing carols.

      I’m thinking of more beans and pork for my posts!! Because of the cold there are fewer insects now but the afternoons are still a good time for trying my luck! Thank you for all your good wishes. I’ll take this opportunity to wish you A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  11. Charlotte says:

    Now I sure hope that you check into my blog soon Kanak … you’ll soon see why … the fifth day of Christmas is devoted to India! Happy holidays and happy blogging for 2010.

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