Kathirikkai Mochai Poriyal (Eggplant and Field Beans Fry)

In 1984, we attended a Marathi wedding. In the wedding feast, a dish of brinjal and mochai (field beans) was served, and I was impressed by the taste and even asked for a second helping. My daughter, who was only 10 years old at that time, still remembers that incident. I tried to recreate the dish, but I could not get the exact flavour and consistency. A few months ago a Facebook friend, Vandarkuzhali Rajasegar, who is also an Assistant Professor in Foods and Nutrition, posted that she had made a dish of brinjal and white channa (whole Bengal gram/white chickpea). I immediately asked her for the recipe. Though she gave me a mere skeleton of the recipe, without amounts, I knew immediately that I had hit upon that 1984 dish. I standardised it using mochai, and I got the exact flavour after all these years 😀

Kathirikkai Mochai Poriyal - Kalas Kalai

Kathirikkai Mochai Poriyal (Eggplant and Field Beans Fry)

Nutritive Value

Dry mochai, or field beans, is one of the richest members of the pulse family. It contains 25g of protein per 100g. It is always combined with a vegetable, especially those with a neutral flavour, because this pulse has a very strong flavour. It is also notorious for producing flatulence 🙂 When served with plain rice, the rice and the mochai together give a very high quality protein.

Ingredients

  • 300g Kathirikkai (Brinjal/Eggplant)
  • 1/3 C Field Beans
  • ½ C peeled Sambar Onions (Shallots)
  • 1/3 C peeled small Garlic
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 C Gingelly Oil (Sesame Oil)
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves (optional)

Broil and Powder together

  • 1 T Coriander Seeds
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds

Method

  1. Soak the field beans overnight in water.
  2. Pressure cook the field beans in a cup of water for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the stems from the brinjal and quarter the vegetable lengthwise.
  4. Heat the gingelly oil in a medium, heavy-based kadai or wok.
  5. Add the garlic cloves. When tiny blisters appear on the garlic, add the sambar onion and fry till the surface is cooked.
  6. Add the brinjal and stir. When half cooked, add the turmeric and chilli powders and salt. Continue to cook till the brinjal is tender.
  7. Add the field beans and half of the cooking water, and cook till well blended.
  8. Add the powdered masala and stir.
  9. If the fry is too thick, you can add a little more of the cooking water and stir.
  10. Add curry leaves, stir once, and remove.
  11. Serve with plain rice.

Notes

  1. Drop the dry field beans into a metallic vessel. The ones which fall with a bell-like sound when they hit the vessel will not soak at all, and should be removed.
  2. I use Kashmiri chilli powder for its mild flavour and rich colour. If you are using any other variety, use only half the amount.
  3. Choose a small variety of garlic so that there will be many in the 1/3 cup, and they will blend with the field beans and you can use them whole. If you are using a large variety of garlic, do not cut in two to make it small. The cut surface will give a completely different flavour and taste to the dish.
  4. Peel the garlic and the sambar (shallots) onion the previous day and refrigerate. This will save your pre-preparation time.
  5. Use only gingelly oil. No other oil will give you its rich and earthy flavour.

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