Known as Guar in the North and Gori kayie in Karnataka, Cluster beans is one of the most common vegetables in the market. A native of India, it is extensively grown in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra and Tamilnadu on a commercial scale. Very little of the beans grown is eaten as a vegetable. Most of it is raised for Guar gum extracted from the seeds. This gum is widely used in food and pharmaceutical industry and also as a stiffener in cloth and paper manufacturing.This is a soluble fibre that forms a gel in water. The demand for this is so high that Australia and USA have started cultivation on a large scale.

For best growth, this plant requires good sunlight, a well-drained moist soil .It can be raised in summer and in rainy season. But the best time to start is after the rains in July. From sowing to harvesting it takes 45 to 65 days, depending on the seed used. The Pusa sadhabahar is a straight growing, hybrid variety and yields in 45 days where as the Pusa Mausmi is a long duration plant, with branches and takes 65 – 80 days.

Prepare the soil with compost and organic manure. Place seeds at an interval of 22 to 30 cm. If you are planting the branching variety remember to provide more space. Make a depression of 2.5 cm place the seed and cover with cocopeat and water. An average family will need only 4 to 6 plants. When the pink and white flowers appear, apply fertilizer and water well . Some plants, the taller ones, may need support at this point. As the pods get ready, pick them regularly even as they are tender. They develop quickly, getting tough and bitter as they mature.You will be able to harvest in 45 days and will be able do this twice a week for a nearly hundred days. Regular pickings promote formation of flowers and pods. Most of the new variety of seeds is resistant to diseases. But aphids, the major pest, can be easily removedwith a toothbrush and soap water.

Tender cluster beans are low in calories, high in fibre and provide a moderate amount of calcium phosphorus, carotene, thiamine and folic acid. The important nutrient you get is the soluble fibre present in the seed. Clinical studies show that it brings down serum cholesterol, reduces insulin requirementand helps healing duodenal ulcers. And it is an excellent laxative.

In our country this vegetable cooked in a variety of ways. Each region has its unique recipe. Considering its health benefits, cluster beans should be grown in every kitchen garden.

Cluster beans porial

One cup tender cluster beans chopped fine

One medium onion chopped fine

One green chili minced

Three pods garlic crushed

½ teaspoon humin powder

¼ tsp turmeric

½ grated coconut

Salt to taste

One sprig curry leaf

3 table spoons water

Mix all these ingredients, cover and cook.

2 table spoon oil, 1/2/ tsp mustard, one tsp uradh dhal. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds to splutter. Add uradh dhal and fry golden brown. Add this seasoning with boiled vegetable serve.

Keywords: cholesterol


Pottering AroundJanuary 13, 2011