From the plethora of dry vegetable curries that are cooked in the typical Kannada style, Cluster Beans Palya is the simplest preparation. Unlike the regular beans potato combination prevalent across India, this is different in its content of cluster beans and the spices used. In fact, the cooking style also differs considering there is no involvement of potatoes but some curry leaves. Also, it is the addition of niger seeds powder also known as valasulu or uchellu native to the regions of Karnataka and Maharashtra, that enhance the taste to another level. Besides, being a dry vegetable it tastes well with anything.

A Cluster Of The Dry Regions And A Preparation Of The South
The crop of cluster beans is well suited to grow in dry regions. As a result, the most cultivation of the cluster beans is seen in India as well as West Africa. However, the African species called Cyamopsis senegalensis is the ancestor of the cluster bean. Essentially Cluster Beans, also known as Guar in India, are grown in north-western India in the regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Kutch. In the current scenario, India is the main producer of cluster beans.

Cluster Beans grow in dry regions |Instagram - @theplentifulplatter


Coming to the term Palya, it is referred to the cooking process involved in preparing any dish in the Southern states of India. The word literally translates to stir-frying or sautéed using very less oil. The Kannada Palya is quite similar to poṟiyal as called in Tamil Nadu and Porutu in the Andhra region which is prepared in a similar manner.   

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms Cluster beans

  • ½ tsp Mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp Cumin seeds

  • 2 sprigs of Curry leaves

  • ¾ cup chopped Onions

  • ½ cup chopped Tomatoes

  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp Red chillie powder

  • 1 tbsp Niger seeds powder

  • Oil

  • Salt

  • Water

Method:

  • Begin by cleaning and chopping the cluster beans, and keeping them aside.

  • Over medium heat place a pan and pour two tablespoons of oil. Transfer the chopped beans to it and sauté for about five minutes. Or until the beans change colour, then remove them from flame.

  • In another pan over medium heat pour one tablespoon of oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. Sauté until it splutters then add the chopped onions. Fry this until onions become translucent and then add tomatoes.

  • Sauté all this for about six minutes and then add the beans. Combine all together very well. Then add turmeric powder, red chillie powder, niger powder, and salt. Give all a good mix and then add water as per the requirement.  Cover and let it cook until it all gets soft. Remove from heat and serve.

It is easy and quick to whip out Bhaji when Dal Chawal seems boring. One can adjust the severity of the spices in the dry vegetable but the end result will entice the taste buds. Serve with Dosa, Chapatti, or Akki Rotti the humble Cluster Beans Palya will taste tremendously good with anything.