Friday, June 24, 2011

Zucchini With Besan (Zucchini Side Dish With Garbanzo Flour)

Zucchini With Beasn
Thanks to Paji's generous shopping, I had a never-ending supply of zucchinis a year ago. One might ask why he bought so many in the first place since they are not particularly one of his favorites (the reason I grate them into soups) - huh :)! I made molakootal, aviyal, roasted vegetables, raita, bajjis and soup (wow, all that!) ... and still had a few zucchinis left! It seemed that I had a veritable "akshaya patra" of zucchinis! The frugal part of me with the motto of "waste not..." riveted into my brain could not let them spoil nor toss them into the compost bin. As I was determined not to be beaten into utter submission by a bunch of veggies, I had to come up with a novel way to use up the cornucopia of the zucchinis :D.

I had an idea to cook them this way - how could one go wrong with sweet, tender zucchini, and besan (garbanzo flour)? And not only did the zucchini disliking Paji love it, he avidly ate the leftovers (amazingly there was a little leftover) the next day for breakfast! I am sure I can count on even larger bags of zucchini from now on; I guess I better make sure we have plenty of besan in the pantry ;D.

Just a quick note on the concepts of akshaya patra and cornucopia: both symbolize abundance. In the Indian epic Mahabharata, the akshaya patra was given to Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandava Princes, by the Sun God to ease the difficulties of trying to procure food for himself and his entourage during his long exile. This wonderful vessel was the source of inexhaustible supply of food for the Pandavas while they wandered in the fearsome jungles.

According to Greek Mythology, cornucopia, the source of copious riches, is the horn of the goat Amalthea. Amalthea was entrusted with bringing up the infant Zeus when his mother Rhea wanted to protect him from his father Cronus who swallowed all his children immediately after their birth. When Zeus accidentally broke Amalthea's horn, he transformed it into a horn of plenty or cornucopia.

Note: Panch phoran (translates as the 5 spices), also known as panch phoron or puran is a whole spice mix from the North-East region of India and consists of five different seeds: mustard, anise or fennel, nigella (kalonji), fenugreek, and cumin; sometimes another seed similar to celery seeds called ajwain is also added. It can be easily put together using equal amounts of the individual spices. I usually add a pinch or so of each of the above-mentioned spices to the cooking pan.

The besan can be dry roasted in a skillet just until fragrant before adding to the curry or used raw.

4 Servings


3 medium Zucchini
1 Bell Pepper, any color (optional)
1 cup Besan (garbanzo flour)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Red Chile Powder (cayenne)
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Panch phoran
1 pinch Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric


1. Wash and dry the veggies and coarsely chop them into bite sized pieces.

2. Heat the oil in a kadai or skillet and cook the panch phoran until fragrant and starting to pop.

3. Add the rest of the spices, chopped veggies, and salt; mix well.

4. Sprinkle the besan on top of the veggies and cover.

5. Cook on low heat stirring occasionally until veggies and besan are cooked and besan looks like coarse, but soft bread crumbs. Remove the cover for the last few minutes of cooking if the curry is very moist. There should not be any lumps of dry, uncooked besan left.

6. Serve hot with rice/chapatis, dals, curries, etc. Enjoy!!


Hari Chandana P said...

Nice and healthy combination.. looks gr8 !!
Indian Cuisine

Priya Sreeram said...

good one !

Geetha said...

Hari and Priya, Thank you for your comments. Let me know how the dish works for you. Happy Cooking! - Geetha

Anonymous said...

Never actually liked zucchini.... but after trying this recipe...have been having it twice or thrice a week... thank you for such simple and delicious dish :)

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, I am so glad to hear that you like this zucchini recipe so well that you are enjoying it 2 or 3 times a week; that is saying a lot! Perhaps now you might like to try the Zucchini Olan next. Happy cooking and eating!