Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak is a classic Gujarati sabzi, a stir-fry made using fresh hyacinth beans and deep-fried fenugreek leaf dumplings. The combination is lip-smackingly delicious and hearty, almost an Undhiyu but not quite. It is something that you must definitely try out if you haven’t already. Let me show you how!
I believe the best way to eat is seasonal and local. However, I find the boundaries between seasonal produce are blurring lately, with most things being available throughout the year. One way to counter this is by shopping from local markets and vendors, looking around for produce that is abundantly available and fresh. I often strike up conversations with the vendors on where a particular vegetable they sell comes from and how they cook it – quite interesting, I tell you!
On a recent veggie shopping expedition, I saw almost all the vendors selling piles of fresh hyacinth beans, and simply had to pick up some. These beans, ‘avarekkai‘ in Tamil, are in season right now. I also bought some beautiful tender fenugreek leaves (methi). This Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak was destined to happen, and it did. 🙂 You should make it too, while hyacinth beans are still in season.
Butternut Squash Poriyal, Red Pumpkin Halwa, Parangikkai Rasavangi, Vatana Ane Tuver Lilva Ni Kachori, Sugarsnap Peas Stir-Fry and Green Peas Masala are some other fall/winter recipes on my blog that you might want to check out.
What is Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak?
As I was saying earlier, this is a traditional Gujarati dish, commonly prepared in households in the winter. It is also typically prepared in Gujarati weddings. It has a sweetish tinge, as is common with several Gujarati dishes, but the other flavours (like spiciness and sourness) are just as balanced. I would say it is a beautiful blend of flavours, this sabzi. It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to rotis, plain parathas and pooris. I think the sabzi would also pair very well with these lovely Sorghum And Spinach Rotis my fellow food blogger Radha has showcased.
This is a semi-dry curry made using flat hyacinth beans, which are called ‘valor‘ in Gujarati. The tender pods are used whole, while the seeds are used in case of the more mature ones. The pods and seeds are stir-fried with a gorgeously aromatic tempering of mustard, asafoetida, sesame seeds and carom seeds (ajwain). A freshly prepared, fragrant mix of grated coconut, crushed green chillies, ginger and finely chopped coriander (called ‘lilo masalo‘ or ‘green masala‘ in Gujarati) goes into the pan next, followed by delicious deep-fried fenugreek dumplings (‘methi muthiya‘ in Gujarati). The combination of these three components is quite the explosion of taste!
How to make Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak
Here is how to go about it. It is a bit of a labour-intensive process, but I can assure you that the end result is completely worth it.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
For the lilo masalo:
1. 1 cup fresh coconut pieces
2. 2 green chillies
3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
4. About 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
5. A dash of salt
6. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
7. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
For the methi muthiya:
1. A small bunch of fenugreek (methi) greens, about 3/4 cup when finely chopped
2. 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
3. 1 cup gram flour (besan)
4. Salt to taste
5. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
6. Red chilli powder to taste
6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. 3/4 tablespoon sesame seeds
10. 1/2 teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
11. Oil for deep-frying
1. About 400 grams of hyacinth beans (valor), 3 cups when chopped, including seeds
2. 1 tablespoon oil
3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4. 1/2 teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
6. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
7. Salt to taste
8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
9. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
10. 2 teaspoons roasted coriander powder
11. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
12. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
13. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder
We will start by getting the hyacinth beans ready.
1. Wash the hyacinth beans well under running water, to remove any traces of dirt from them. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out.
2. Wipe the hyacinth beans using a thick cotton napkin to dry them. Now, they are ready for prepping.
3. Pinch off the tops and ends from the beans and remove the strings.
4. Use your hands to snap the tender beans into two. You can also use a knife for this purpose.
5. Remove the seeds from the more mature beans.
6. Collect the seeds and prepped hyacinth bean pieces in a bowl. Keep aside. 400 grams of hyacinth beans should give you about 3 cups of seeds and pieces together.
Next, we will prepare the ‘lilo masalo‘ or fresh hara masala that will go into the dish.
1. Take the fresh coconut pieces in a small mixer jar. Chop the green chillies roughly and add them in. Peel the ginger, chop roughly and add it in too. Do not add in any water. Pulse the ingredients a few times to make a coarse semi-dry mixture – do not make a fine paste. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl.
2. Add in the finely chopped coriander.
3. Add salt to taste and the jaggery powder.
4. Add in the lemon juice.
5. Mix up all the ingredients well. Your lilo masalo is ready. Keep it aside.
Now, we will prepare the fenugreek dumplings or methi muthiya.
1. Wash the fenugreek greens well under running water, to remove any dirt from them. Place in a colander and let all the water drain out.
2. Chop the washed and drained fenugreek greens roughly and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.
3. Add in the gram flour, salt, jaggery powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, sesame seeds and carom seeds. Mix all the ingredients well.
4. Add in just enough water to make a batter of dropping consistency. The batter should neither be too watery nor too thick. Set it aside, covered, till needed.
5. Take the oil for deep-frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame. Allow the oil to get nice and hot, then reduce the flame down to medium.
6. Drop a few blobs of the batter into the hot oil. Deep fry on medium flame till golden-brown on the outside, then transfer the dumplings to a plate. Prepare dumplings from all the batter, in a similar manner. Keep aside.
Next, we will prepare the Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Add in the carom seeds, asafoetida and sesame seeds. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds, without burning.
2. Reduce flame to medium. Add the prepped hyacinth bean pieces and seeds to the pan, along with a little salt. Mix well.
3. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of water over the beans. Cover the pan and cook on medium flame for 5-6 minutes or till they are about 60% done. Uncover intermittently and stir, sprinkling a little more water if needed, to prevent burning.
4. At this stage, add in salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (if using), garam masala, roasted coriander powder, roasted cumin powder and jaggery powder. Mix well. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes more or till the hyacinth beans are completely done.
5. Reduce flame to low-medium. Add in the prepared methi muthiya at this stage.
6. Also add in the lilo masalo we prepared earlier. Mix well, but gently, ensuring that the muthiya do not break.
7. Cook for 2 minutes on low-medium flame, then switch off gas. Your Valor Muthiya Nu Shaak is ready. Serve warm, with rotis, pooris or parathas.
This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is plant-based too. It can be used by someone following a vegan diet.
This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe as well.
This recipe can easily be made gluten-free. In that case, you would need to skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. Also, if you are using store-bought garam masala, do make sure it fits your dietary preferences.
Tips & Tricks
1. I have used the regular green hyacinth beans that are commonly available across India. These are called ‘avarekkai‘ in Tamil, ‘valor‘ in Gujarati. These beans work best in this sabzi. Make sure you use fresh hyacinth beans, especially the ones in season are very flavourful. Alternatively, you may use any variety of flat beans that are easily and locally available to you. I also often use ‘Belt Chikkadikayi‘ in this sabzi, a variety of flat bean that is commonly available in Bangalore – it is thicker and greener than the hyacinth beans I have shown above.
2. Do not skimp on the coriander and coconut used. It might feel like a lot initially, but it turns out just right in the end.
3. Be careful with the salt. We add salt to the lilo masalo as well as while cooking the hyacinth beans. Even the methi muthiya contain salt. Make sure you do not overdo the salt.
4. Adjust the quantity of jaggery powder and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.
5. Taste the sabzi after adding the lilo masalo. If the heat from the chillies is not enough, you can add in a bit of red chilli powder. This is purely optional, though.
6. Use very fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) to make the dumplings (muthiya). This makes a world of difference.
7. Sprinkle just a little water as needed while cooking the hyacinth beans. Do not add too much water, as this sabzi is supposed to be dry.
8. Deep-fry the methi muthiya on a medium flame only. Frying on a high flame might cause the exterior to blacken, while the interior remains raw.
9. Make sure the oil is just the right temperature, while frying the methi muthiya. After it has heated up for a bit, drop a blob of the muthiya batter into the pan. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil needs to be heated some more. If it rises to the top and gets a nice golden-brown colour, the oil is just perfect. If it rises up to the surface too fast and starts smoking or browning immediately, the oil is too hot – take it off the flame for a couple of minutes to cool it down a little.
10. Jaggery is added at different stages in the preparation of this sabzi – in the lilo masalo, in the methi muthiya and then again while cooking the hyacinth beans. Make sure you don’t overdo the jaggery, otherwise the sabzi might end up getting too sweet at the end.
11. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery powder I have used here.
12. Jaggery powder is nothing but the powdered version of jaggery, available in several departmental stores in Bangalore. I use it because it is super convenient to do so. You may use regular blocks of jaggery instead, too.
13. I make roasted cumin and coriander powder in small batches, store them in air-tight bottles and use as needed. You may use store-bought coriander and cumin powder instead, too.
14. Traditional Gujarati kitchens use a blend of coriander and cumin powder called ‘dhana jeeru‘. Dhana jeeru goes into almost every Gujarati preparation, so it is prepared in bulk, stored carefully, and used as needed. You may use Gujarati dhana jeeru in place of the roasted coriander and cumin powders that I have used here.
12. You may add garlic cloves to the lilo masalo, if you prefer. I make this sabzi both with and without garlic.
13. You can cook the fenugreek dumplings in a paniyaram/appe pan with a little oil, instead of deep-frying them. Since I make this sabzi only occasionally, I do not mind the deep-frying.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!