Guar (Cluster) Beans
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Guar beans are a vibrant yellow-green, long and narrow with tapered ends. The clustered seeds are visible beneath the smooth skin. Guar has a taste similar to that of a broad bean, among others.
Guar or Cluster beans are available year-round with a peak season in the late fall.
Guar is a drought-resistant legume that is most often seen in its ground form and is called ‘Guar gum’. Guar means “cow food” in Hindi, and historically this was its main use. Guar is also known as gawar or govarphalli; its botanical name is Cyamopsis tetragonoloba.
Young Guar is eaten as a vegetable much like green beans. The legume is found in curries, dahl, and stir fries. The Cluster bean is cut up into pieces and blanched in salted water then sautéed in oil. The bean picks up the flavor of most spices and pairs well with many other vegetables. Overcooked beans become soggy and tasteless. Mature Guar is most often used in commercial applications and is harvested for the seeds within the pod. The seeds are dried and ground into a fine powder known as ‘Guar gum’. This is used as a thickener for soups and puddings, as a stabilizer in cheeses and a stiffener in ice creams. The Cluster bean is said to have five times the thickening power of corn starch.
Guar or Cluster beans are native to India and thrive in hot, arid and dry climates. Brought to the US in 1903, they have been grown for commercial production in Texas and Oklahoma since the 1950s. The majority of the world’s Guar is grown in India and Pakistan, though the legume is also grown in small areas in Australia and Africa. Guar gum has applications that range from food to textile use, and is sold as a commodity.
Recipes that include Guar (Cluster) Beans. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Pham Fatale||Gawar Ki Phalli with Sesame and Curry|