Kachri Phali ki Sabzi is a traditional Rajasthani dry vegetable recipe. A simple, rustic, and delicious village recipe made of Kachri, which belongs to the melon family and looks like a wild cucumber, with fresh green beans (phali).
Due to the lockdown, the variety of vegetables is limited to absolutely local and seasonal ones! There is limited movement of goods across State boundaries and so most of the fresh produce is what is grown in the farms and villages nearby. Which is actually great 🙂
In the last month and a half of staying put at home, I’ve cooked potato in all possible ways, I’ve cooked eggplant in at least 7 different ways, I’ve made gourd, capsicum, pumpkin, okra, cabbage, cauliflower, arbi and I’ve cooked every possible type of lentil we have multiple times. I was looking for something new and just last week I saw Kachri at the vegetable vendor’s stall!
What is Kachri?
Kachri not only looks like a wild cucumber, in fact it is even called Wild Cucumber (also Bitter Cucumber) in English. It grows wild in arid desert areas and is a nutritious vegetable of the region. A rainy season vegetable, it has just started to show up at the vegetable stalls here.
In taste, kachri has a slightly sour taste but is quite bland overall. It will take on the flavors of the spices you add to the recipe. I don’t know how the combination of beans and kachri came about but it goes pretty well. Kachri, when cooked is soft and beans remain crisp and crunchy. Together they create a nice balance.
Kachri or wild cucumber can also be eaten raw or made into a chutney with chilies, and garlic. It will be a great addition to salads and will beautifully absorb the flavors of any salad dressing. It is also sun-dried and dried kachri powder is a natural tenderizer.
How to cook Kachri ki sabzi?
I had a distant memory of eating kachri once in Jodhpur when I worked in rural Rajasthan 10 years ago. But I hadn’t had it since and never cooked it or knew anyone who had cooked kachri ki sabzi. So, I asked the vendor himself for their recipe of kachri ki sabzi.
It’s lovely to live in a small city where I actually know the vegetable vendor. I like talking to him and his family. Often, I find out new recipes, typically made in villages and lost in urban kitchens.
First thing they said was that Kachri is cooked together with phali (green beans) so it is always kachri phali ki sabzi :-). And next, two pieces of advice that his wife gave for cooking Kachri were:
- To taste a small piece of raw kachri before cooking it as sometimes they are very bitter and not good for cooking.
- To remove all the seeds.
Apart from that she said, just cut into small pieces and cook like any other dry vegetable using mustard oil.
Since I was making it for the first time, I got just one medium sized kachri along with a bunch of french beans. It was a totally experimental recipe and one that we are surely going to repeat soon again. Everyone liked the sabzi and yay for one more vegetable addition to the menu!
Kachri Phali ki Sabzi | Wild Cucumber & Beans vegetable fry
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 250 gms Kachri 1 medium Wild cucumber
- 250 gms Green Beans 15-20 beans
- 1 tbsp Mustard oil
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 pinch Asafetida
- 1 medium Red Onion chopped
- 1 Green Chili chopped
- 4-5 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 3 tsp Coriander powder
- 2 tsp Cumin powder
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Garam masala
- Trim the ends of beans and cut them into ~2-inch pieces.
- Steam the beans or boil them in water for just 5 mins. Drain, run under cold water and keep aside.
- Cut off the ends of Kachri and peel. Cut a small sliver and taste if it is not bitter. Very rarely you might get a bitter wild cucumber. If it is bitter, it is not good for cooking.*
- Cut the kachri lengthwise into half and scoop out the seeds. Now cut into small bit size pieces. Keep aside.
- In a kadhai/wok, heat mustard oil on medium heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add cumin seeds and asafetida.
- Next add onions, green chilies, and garlic. Mix well and sauté for a minute till the onion starts to soften.
- Reduce heat to low and add turmeric, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Add the chopped kachri and mix well to coat the kachri and onions in the spices.
- Add one cup water, cover and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes till the kachri is soft. Check with a wooden spoon. If you are able to break the kachri with a wooden spoon, it is done.
- Add the steamed beans and salt. Mix well and cook covered for another couple of minutes. Sprinkle garam masala and mix.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with some ragi roti and yellow dal (like we had for lunch!) or as a side to dal and rice.
- Nutritional information is the approximate value for 1 of 4 servings. Since Kachri is such a local ingredient, I couldn’t find the exact calorie value of Kachri. This detailed study shows that Kachri is actually an excellent source of protein with 23g protein in every 100g!
- *If by rare luck, you have a bitter kachri, discard it and use this recipe to simply cook the beans.
I know it is a very regional recipe and you may not find kachri where you are. If you do, definitely try cooking with it. But if you don’t, treat this recipe as an inspiration for trying a vegetable that you haven’t cooked with before! 🙂 #trysomethingnew!
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