Vaal Nu Shaak Recipe, A Sweet And Spicy Gujarati Staple

Gujarati cuisine is a unique blend of vegetarian delights, packed with flavour and nutrition. Located in western India, the state of Gujarat is known for its vibrant culture and diverse cuisine. The food here is influenced by Jainism and Hinduism, which emphasise the importance of a pure vegetarian diet. The concept of shaak, or vegetables cooked with spices, is at the heart of Gujarati cuisine.

Shaak is usually made from vegetables that are in season, which ensures that the dish is not only delicious but also nutritious. The use of spices, such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric, is also a hallmark of Gujarati cuisine. These spices not only add flavour but also have health benefits, making Gujarati food a perfect example of the adage, "Food is medicine."

Vaal Nu Shaak is a perfect example of this ethos. A spicy, sweet and aromatic dish made from hyacinth beans. They’re cooked in a spicy and tangy gravy made with a blend of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. The use of tamarind pulp and jaggery or brown sugar gives the dish a sweet and sour flavour profile that perfectly balances the heat from the spices. 

Hyacinth beans, also known as lablab beans or simply vaal in Gujarati, are native to Africa and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They were introduced to India during the colonial period and have since become a staple ingredient in many regional cuisines, including Gujarati cuisine. They’re a great source of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and folate. They are also low in fat and calories, making them a perfect addition to a healthy and balanced diet.

Video Credits: Cooking With Bhavna/ YouTube


  • 2 cups hyacinth beans (vaal)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish


  • Soak the hyacinth beans in water overnight or for at least 6 hours. Drain the water and rinse the beans.
  • Heat oil in a pan or pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft and mushy.
  • Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the hyacinth beans and stir well to coat them with the spices.
  • Add enough water to cover the beans, and bring the mixture to a boil. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 2-3 whistles or until the beans are cooked.
  • Add tamarind pulp and jaggery or brown sugar. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes or until the gravy thickens.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis or rice.