A couple of months ago, as I waited in the kids’ school to pick them up, Rengoni came out of the door looking all flushed and excited. I noticed that she had a plant pot in her hand…the tender shoots of a bean plant was gradually making it’s way up. It seems that her class had sown some seeds each and this was the result. They were now supposed to bring it home and take care of it.
And take care of it she did… checking on it every day and religiously watering it. The plant was now firmly on the ground (courtesy:her dad) and winding itself around the supports that had been placed for it. Our little gardener did take her job quite seriously… when it rained, she was happy that her plant would be fed…when it did not rain, she consoled herself with the fact that, after all, plants do need sunshine as well…and did the watering herself. She lovingly tended to it, day in and day out, at times , lending a helping hand to the plant in winding itself round the support. The gleam in her face and the excitement in her voice, when the first flowers came out; when the first tiny bean made it’s way into the world; and when it kept growing was really one to be treasured.
My dad (bless his soul) was an avid gardener… it was his life long passion… he seemed to be the happiest in his garden. I don’t think any of his children inherited that passion to such an extent. As for myself, well…I do manage to sprout a few things now and then, but honestly, they are really very few and far between. I’m more of the ‘once in a blue moon’ type of gardener!
When the time came for Rengoni to pick that first ready bean from the plant, she made sure that we had all gathered for this ‘momentous’ occasion in her life.
From the plant to the hand that planted it…
So the bean was plucked and then handed over ( almost ceremoniously!) to me to make the most out of it. And what did I make out of it…well, a very simple and quick mixed vegetable which is almost a regular in our house. As I had only that one bean at my disposal, I used more of the rest of the vegetables. Usually, I use more of the beans and slightly lesser carrots and potatoes. But it tastes good either way. So this one is for our budding gardener-
1 runner bean ( usually more), cut into diamonds
1 carrot, cut into sticks
2 medium sized potatoes, cut into small and thin pieces
a handful of fresh or frozen green peas
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 bay leaf
1 whole red chilli
1/2 tsp paanch puron (it tastes good even with only whole cumin seeds)
salt to taste
a pinch of sugar
1 and1/2 tblsp of oil
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Add the paanch puron, whole red chilli and bay leaf.
- When the paanch puron splutters, add all the vegetables ( bean, carrots, potatoes and peas) along with the onion.
- Add the pinch of sugar and season with salt.
- Stir well, reduce the heat to low and cook covered till half done, stirring lightly, every now and then.
- Add the turmeric powder and cook covered till done ( when all the water has evaporated and the vegetables are completely cooked). Again, do not forget to keep stirring now and then to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Also, do the stirring a bit gently, so that the vegetables do not become mushy.
- Just before removing from the pan, increase the heat to high and stir for a couple of seconds.
That’s it! The cooking takes very less time and this mixed vegetable goes well with rotis and as a side dish with rice. We really love the simple flavours of this dish and usually have it with plain rice and dal. I’m now sending this over to Deepz for GBP/summer’07, an event, originally started by Inji Pennu.