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Phansi kadhi
(Green beans in chick-pea flour sauce)


Although this recipe is traditionally prepared with green beans, most other vegetables can be cooked the same way. This recipe has been used for fifteen years in the kitchens of New Vrindaban, the Hare Ka community in West Virginia, which is as well-known for its sumptuous prasda as for its devotional atmosphere.

Preparation and cooking time: 30 - 40 min

2 lbs (900 g) fresh green beans
41/4 cups (1 l) water
3/4 cup (75 g) sifted chickpea flour
1 cup (250 ml) plain yogurt
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
21/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, washed and quartered
2 tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges each

Wash and trim the beans, then snap them in half. Cover the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water, insert a metal steam-rack, then add the beans. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pan to trap the steam. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the beans darken and become tender. Drain off the stock and save it.

Boil the water and add the chick-pea flour while stirring well, using a whisk if available. Then add the yogurt and stock and bring to a second boil, stirring always. Boil rapidly for about 15 minutes.
Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan and fry the mustard seeds. When they sputter, add the grated ginger, cayenne pepper, and asafoetida. Turn with a spoon for a few seconds, then pour the ghee and seasonings into the kadhi sauce. Add to the sauce the turmeric, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring more frequently as the mixture thickens. Then fold in the beans and heat to serving temperature, stirring constantly. Garnish with wedges of lemon and tomato.