Guvar (Cluster beans) with Potato Curry (Guvar bateta nu shak)

Guvar are also called cluster beans and available fresh in most Asian grocers.  They also sell a ready prepared frozen version which is handy to keep in the freezer.  I make this curry regularly but never thought to post the recipe until a phone call from a very close family member was asking me on how to cook Guvar (Cluster beans) with Potato Curry.  As I explained the dish to this person – I decided to include the recipe in my blog.  This one is for you – You know who you are!!
Curry made using fresh guvar is the best.  Cooking time for Guvar (Cluster beans) with Potato Curry is difficult to judge as fresh tender guvar cooks a lot faster than older guvar. My tip would be to check and allow it to cook until it gets soft.  If it takes too long to cook – you can add a pinch of soda bicarbonate to help with the cooking process. Several of my friends cook this in the pressure cooker but I prefer to cook them slowly on the cooker top.  This may take a bit longer but it allows all the spices to blend in and doesn’t over-cook the guvar.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 4 cups of cut and prepared guvar
  • 1 cup of potatoes diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain (also called ajma or carom seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chilly powder
  • 2 teaspoon of dhana jiru (mixture of cumin and coriander powder)
  • 2-3 cloves of blended garlic
  • 1 cup of blended tomatoes ( you can use fresh or tinned)
  • Pinch of soda bicarbonate (only use if the guvar isn’t tender)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon jaggery – This is optional.  If you like your curry sweet and sour, you can add this at the end of your cooking.
  • fresh coriander for garnishing (optional)


1. To prepare the guvar, trim the top and bottom of the guvar and cut then into small pieces.  Traditionally women just did this by hand but you can use a knife if you find it easier. If the guvar isn’t tender, you may have to remove the hard fibrous ends that come off when you chop the ends.

2.    Heat the oil and add in the ajwain seeds.  Ajwain adds a lovely fragrance to the guvar but it also helps with digestion.

3.    Once the ajwain go dark, add the washed potatoes and guvar .

4.    Add the garlic, salt, turmeric, chilly powder and dhana jiru.

5.    Stir well and allow to cook for a minute.

6.    Add 3 cups of warm water, cover the saucepan and allow this to cook for 10 minutes on  medium heat.

7.     Stir the curry and check that the guvar has softened. If not give it another 5-10 minutes.

8.     Once the guvar softens, add the tomatoes and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.

9.    You can garnish the Guvar (Cluster beans) with Potato Curry with coriander if you wish to. Adding potatoes to the guvar makes the gravy nice and smooth.  Serve this curry hot with chapattis.