Smell of curry leaves. Clink of bangles while doing the taDka. Smell of coriander and hing. I don’t know whether it was all of these or something inexplicable that changed my hatred for beans into a newfound love and longing even. I remember carefully screening out the smallest piece of beans from kozhambu much to the dismay of my mother who would try her best to “cheat” me by crushing or making teeny bits of the vegetable to make sure it went into my tummy unnoticed, by me. By me. The hater of beans. My mother never ever understood why anyone would hate beans. But then, there I was, a bindle of contradictions.
I can’t tell you how it all changed because I really have no clue. But I can tell you that beans kooTu is now one of those dishes I can eat anytime. Like rice, dal and potato fry or curd rice, it is my other comfort food. It brings back my memories with a suddenness that I can’t place. It makes me long for those days when the first rays of sunlight made their way through the lattice and lit up my mother’s kitchen as she made the taDka for the beans playa when I sat waiting for her to make my hair and making desperate pleas for jam with chappati instead of beans. It is funny how things change and memories hit you with an unimaginable force and make you long for that dish you once despised.
The thing about memories is that you can also re-create them to some extent. Like, when I made this beans kooTu with amma on Skype for the alphabet challenge.
- Nostalgia or a sudden urge to make the dish
- French beans (I used 300 gm) finely chopped (or if you are in the mood to disobey, chop them in large chunks)
- Moong dal (1 cup)
- Salt to taste
- Desiccated coconut (according to your taste, I used about 2/3 cup)
- Corriander leaves (a bunch)
- cumin seeds
- Green chillies (2)
- Dried chilies (2) – change as per your preference
All that you need to do is:
1. Boil moong dal in water (I used about 2 ¼ cups of water) until the moong dal is almost cooked.
2. Add the chopped beans to the moong dal and let it boil.
3. Meanwhile, grind the ingredients under the “to grind” section.
4. Once the beans are cooked, add the ground paste and add salt.
5. Let it boil a bit and you will know when it is done.
I think one of the biggest reasons why I love cooking is how it takes me back in time with such ease. It is amazing how churning up a meal in less than 30 minutes can take you to a place thousands of miles away. Right from the smell of the taDka to the way I arrange the ingredients on the kitchen platform to the sound of the mixer to how I finely select the best coriander leaves – just about everything reminds me of how much my mother resides within me. And that, is one amazing feeling I can’t get enough of.