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Also known as
Guar, gawar, govarphalli
The guar bean or cluster bean , is an annual legume, is the source of guar gum. Guar can be eaten as a green bean, but is more important as the source of guar gum. Young, fresh cluster beans have a narrow and long body with tiny pods. They are very popular vegetable. they are native to India and are widely grown, not only in Andhra but also in other parts of country (dry, warm and arid regions).
Young ones are harvested for vegetable use. The mature pods - the seeds are harvested to be dried and powdered to flour known as guar gum. Guar gum is used as thickening agent in commercial food preparations like ice creams etc. The cluster beans are not only low in calories but are also very effective in lowering the blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Rajasthan grows most of the guar produced in India and it is harvested in October-November. However this vegetable can be found throughout the year in most markets.
How to select
Chopped cluster beans
Even the young, fresh cluster beans need to be topped and tailed and may also need stringing. Just pluck the end of a cluster bean with your hand, and then pull downward; if a thick thread comes away, the bean need stringing, so do the same on the other side. The beans can then be sliced either using a sharp knife or with your hands. Cut or pluck them to pieces of one-inch length.
The bean must be picked when young and tender as it becomes woody, fibrous and hairy as it matures and becomes inedible.Culinary Uses
" Add the cut cluster beans to boiling, salted water and cook until just tender and drain. Usually one or two minutes is sufficient. When overcooked, beans turn to flabby, flavorless things. So keep an eye on them and do not overcook.
" They Cluster beans are often cooked like broad beans are cooked. Cluster beans are stringed and chopped into small pieces. Chopped cluster beans are boiled in water till soft and added to tempered oil along with some ground spices. Cluster beans curry is finally finished with a good amount of scraped coconut.
" Tender cluster bean pods dish up as a popular vegetable all over India. They can be curried, fried, steamed or boiled.How to store
Store fresh cluster beans unwashed in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. Wrap them in paper towel or place in a paper bag. Avoid storing them in plastic as trapped moisture will hasten spoilage. Check your beans often and discard any that develop soft or dark spots.Health Benefits
" Rich in dietary fibre. Studies show that a diet rich in dietary fibre lowers blood cholesterol levels.
" A cup of cooked cluster beans contains nearly 110 calorie. Most of the pod is protein, while the seeds are largely carbohydrate-rich endosperm.