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Kothavarangai Poriyal | Cluster Beans Stir Fry

Living away from India, there are many things I miss - family, friends, festivals and of course food! I try to cook the dishes that we miss being away from home. But here we don't get many vegetables we usually cook with back in India and sometimes have to resort to frozen vegetables. After some bitter experiences with frozen veggies, I completely stopped buying them. During a usual grocery shopping at Indian store, I saw this packet of pre-cut cluster beans in frozen section. I love cluster beans and was tempted to buy them.

Cluster beans is a type of green beans with a slightly bitter taste. It is known as kothavarangai in Tamil, guar/gawar in Hindi and kothamara in Malayalam. This low-calorie and nutrient rich vegetable is good for heart, bones and diabetics. It helps reducing cholesterol level, managing blood pressure and improves blood circulation. We usually make sambar, poriyal (stir-fry), usili (stir fry with lentils), kootu and sabji / curries with this beans.

I made a South Indian style stir fry with that packet of cluster beans and luckily it tasted good. I felt they were slightly more bitter than the fresh ones. The tamarind and sugar helped to balance the bitterness. This stir fry tastes best when served with rice and sambar, but it also goes well with any kuzhambu and curd rice.  Let's see how to make this healthy cluster beans stir fry.


{ South Indian style cluster beans stir fry with coconut }
Serves 3


300 gm kothavarangai / cluster beans
3 tbsp grated coconut
2-3 green chillies
½ tsp tamarind paste / marble-size tamarind
3 tsp coconut oil / sunflower oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 red chillies
Pinch of asafoetida / hing / perugayam
½ tsp split urad dal / ulatham paruppu
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste


1. Trim the ends of the beans and chop them finely. If using frozen pre-cut beans, wash the beans once and drain water completely.

2. Grind the coconut and green chillies coarsely. Soak tamarind in 3 tbsp warm water and extract the juice. If using tamarind paste, dilute in 3 tbsp warm water.

3. In a pan heat oil and add mustard seeds. When in splutters add red chillies, asafoetida, urad dal, curry leaves and fry till dal turn golden.

3. Add beans, turmeric powder and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the tamarind extract, salt and mix well. Cover and cook until the beans has cooked, stirring in between.

4. If any water is left, cook uncovered till the water has evaporated. Now add the coconut-green chilly mixture and fry for another 3-4 minutes.

Notes and Tips
  • If you find the beans is too bitter, add little sugar while cooking the beans.
  • We usually prepare without onion and garlic. If you want, you can add 1 small chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves after tempering.
  • Before adding coconut, make sure there is no water left after cooking beans.
  • I used pre-cut beans which where already chopped into ½-inch long pieces. 
  • Adjust green chillies according to your spice preference.


  1. Simple yet perfect dry side for rice and roti or pulka

  2. Delicious and healthy poriyal. Simple dish but beautifully presented Sona

  3. healthy n simple stir fry!

  4. I have never added tamarind to this curry, will try out your version next time, looks yumm..

  5. Love the addition of tamarind... looks really delicious...

  6. Adding tamarind is something new to me. Nice clicks and poriyal looks delicious.

  7. Simple and tasty stirfry!

  8. Fantastic clicks and a simple healthy and delicious cluster beans fry.

  9. Delicious ur food shot.... :)

  10. Healthy and tasty poriyal looks very delicious.

  11. I love cluster beans.. we don't get them in Brazil .. I always have it first thing when I land in India.

  12. I haven't heard of cluster beans before, but I am going to have to keep a look out for them.

  13. Simple and perfect poriyal!! Delicious!!

  14. Healthy tasty poriyal reminds my childhood days those days mom insists us to eat this veggie.


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