Gavar Nu Shaak| Gujarati Cluster Beans Curry

I simply can’t resist cluster beans when vegetable shopping. They are among my favourite veggies, and I have to pick some up when I spot a fresh bunch. I love the slightly bitter, mildly sweet taste of the cluster beans – ‘kotthavarangai‘ in Tamil, ‘gavar‘ in Gujarati and ‘gavarphalli‘ in Hindi. This Gavar Nu Shaak is one of my most favourite things to make with the beans, apart from the Kotthavarangai Vattalkozhambu I so love too.

Gavar Nu Shaak, Gujarati style cluster beans curry

What is Gavar Nu Shaak?

It refers to a stir-fry made using cluster beans, Gujarati style. Though it is a very simple dish to make, requiring very few ingredients, it is an absolute delight. It is full of flavours, a brilliant accompaniment to rotis or dal-rice. Cluster beans are known to have several health benefits, and this is a delicious way to consume them.

I learnt how to make this Gavar Nu Shaak when we lived in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It was a much-loved dish in our family, and still continues to be. The carom seeds or ajwain added to the tempering, the hint of jaggery, the garnishing with fresh coriander and grated coconut – all of these little touches make the stir-fry taste exceptional. The ajwain balances out the gas-inducing properties of the cluster beans, while the jaggery controls their bitterness.

How to make Gavar Nu Shaak

Today, I’m sharing with you all the recipe for Gavar Nu Shaak, the way I make it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. About 350 grams cluster beans (gavarphalli or gavar)
  2. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 3/4 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  5. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Red chilli powder to taste
  8. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  11. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut


Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Remove the strings from the cluster beans. Chop them into finger-length pieces. Keep ready.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Then, add in the carom seeds and asafoetida. Let these ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds.

3. Now, add the chopped cluster beans to the pan, along with a bit of salt. Add in a little water too. Mix well. Reduce the flame down to medium.

4. Cook covered on medium flame till the cluster beans are about 70% done. Uncover in between, add a little water if required, and stir, then cover and allow to cook again. This stage should take 3-4 minutes.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Bottom right: The Gavar Nu Shaak is ready

5. When about 70% done, add in the red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Sprinkle a little water if required. Cover and continue to cook on medium flame till the cluster beans are almost fully cooked, about 2 minutes more.

6. Still keeping the flame medium, add in the jaggery powder. Mix well. Cook on low-medium heat, covered, till the cluster beans are fully done. This should take a minute or two more. All the water should have dried up by now. Switch off gas at this stage.

7. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and grated coconut. Your Gavar Nu Shaak is ready. Serve warm or at room temperature with rotis.

Tips & Tricks

1. Choose cluster beans (gavarphalli) that are fresh, neither overly tender nor overly mature.

2. Cook the cluster beans covered, on medium flame, sprinkling water as and when required. Make sure the beans do not burn.

3. Sprinkle only a little water as required at intervals, while cooking the cluster beans. Do not add too much water.

4. Adjust the amount of salt, jaggery powder and red chilli powder as per personal taste preferences.

5. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery powder. I prefer the jaggery powder, though.

6. This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe, which is completely vegetarian and vegan as well. It is suited to people following a plant-based diet.

7. To make this shaak gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent. They are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell, in your comments!

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