Besan ki Sabzi: Gram Flour Squares in Curry

29 Oct

Besan Sabzi - Gram Flour Squares in Curry

Besan ki sabzi is a curry we make for festive occasions. Besan batter is cooked, cooled, cut and fried, then simmered in curry. It takes time, it takes skill – but the result is worth every bit of the effort.

The word "sabzi" (i.e. vegetable) in this dish is something of a misnomer. Besan is gram flour, a gluten-free high protein flour. The only “sabzi” in here is what goes into making the base of the curry.

Besan Sabzi - Gram Flour Squares in Curry

You Need:

For besan squares:

  • Besan (gram flour) – 250 grams
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Onions – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
  • Green chilies – 2, finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves – finely chopped
  • Oil – 1 tablespoons for cooking + more for deep-frying

For curry:

  • Tomatoes – 5 small
  • Onions – 3 small
  • Ginger – 1-inch piece
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons

How To Make Besan ki Sabzi:

1. Make besan batter

In a large bowl, sift together besan, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt.

Besan (Gram Flour)

Pour enough water into the bowl to make a thick batter. Blend well to ensure there are no lumps.

Mix finely chopped green chilies and coriander leaves into the besan batter.

Besan Batter

2. Cook and square

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a kadhai or skillet. Add half a cup of finely chopped onions. Cook on medium heat till translucent.

Onions Frying

Pour in the besan batter.

Besan Batter Poured in Oil

With a quick, firm hand, keep stirring the besan batter around in the kadhai, scraping the bottom of the kadhai regularly.

Besan Batter Cooking

The batter gets tighter as it cooks. Your aim should be to make sure the cooking happens evenly and there is no burning.

Besan Batter - Nearly Done

After a few minutes, the besan will have only enough moisture to solidify when it cools. You should be able to press it down smoothly with a spatula. Somewhat like this:

Besan Batter Cooked

For the next step, get your Nimbleness Hat on! You have to do this quickly while the besan is hot and soft.

Scoop out the cooked besan from the kadhai onto an oil-coated plate.

Flatten the besan into a 1-cm thick layer.

Besan Batter Cooked, Spreading Out on Plate

Let the besan cool for 30 minutes.

Besan Cooked and Cooling

Once cool, cut the besan into 1-inch squares (rhombuses or diamonds work too!)

Besan Squares

The kadhai might have a crust or residue of besan stuck to it. Don’t scrape and throw this away. Moisten it with some water and let it stand. After a while you will be able to gently pry it out into the water. Use this water in the curry in step 4. This way you have no wastage and also get a richer curry.

Besan Batter Crust

3. Deep-fry the squares

Heat enough oil in a kadhai or skillet for deep-frying. When the oil is hot, slide a few besan squares in, taking care not to crowd the pan.

Besan Squares, Frying

Turn the squares over when they are golden-brown.

Besan Squares, Frying - Nearly Done

Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon, when golden-brown on both sides.

Besan Squares Fried

4. Make curry

Make a paste of two small onions, 3 cloves of garlic and an inch of ginger.

Make a paste of the tomatoes separately.

Tomato Paste, Onion Paste

Chop one small onion finely.

Heat oil in a kadhai or skillet. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Follow with finely chopped onions.

When the onions are golden, add onion-garlic-ginger paste and cook for 5 minutes.

Onion Garlic Ginger Paste, Frying

Add the dry spice powders: red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt.

Onion Garlic Ginger Paste with Spices

Stir and cook for another 2 minutes, then follow with tomato paste.

Fresh Tomato Paste

Cook it all together for five minutes, or till it takes on a deeper color.

Tomato Paste, Cooking

Add 1.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. [Include the moistened crust of besan from step 2 into the curry.] Simmer for another five minutes.

Curry for Besan ki Sabzi

Note: Besan squares absorb and thicken the curry. Stop further cooking when your curry is slightly thinner than how you want it at the time of serving.

5. Put it all together

Slide the besan squares into the hot curry.

Simmer for a minute, then take the kadhai off the heat.

Besan ki Sabzi, Cooking

Besan ki sabzi is ready to eat. Serve hot with Indian breads or rice.

Besan Sabzi - Gram Flour Squares in Curry

Meal today: triangle parathas, besan ki sabzi and aloo-parval bhujiya.

Besan Sabzi with Aloo Parval Bhujiya, Parathas


Interested in more besan recipes? Try besan ka cheela for breakfast or methi pakora kadhi on the side with rice at lunchtime.

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