Sheem Bhorta was not in the first draft menu I had chalked for the lunch with friends.
By when a neighbour sent me gorgeous sheem from her garden, harvested the same morning, I knew in an instant the menu needed to be gatecrashed into.
A SOS call to Maa late evening her time.
What do you reckon I make with the sheem ? I ask having read out the rest of the menu.
Something fuss-free please, I have loads to do at the kitchen already.
Sheem Pur ? Maa suggests.
Would love to Maa, the girls would detest though me being in the kitchen once they’ve arrived. And I cannot fry them ahead of time.
Try a Sheem Bhorta then, Maa recommends.
And proceeds to offer steps for a couple of variants.
I hang up.
Clear in my head by now which of the options I want to pursue.
The Sheem Bhorta, despite how humble and earthy it is, turned out to be one of the biggest hits in the menu. Almost everyone asked for the recipe. And some implored for the same to be published on the blog.
And when D called a couple of evenings back that she desperately needed the recipe, her mother-in-law was leaving town and she was dead keen to cook this before that, I finally overcame my Olympian laziness to put pen on paper and publish the recipe on the blog.
So here it is, an earthy Sheem Bhorta – Mashed Sheem. An overload of sinfully caramelised onions. A throw of wicked green chillies. A whiff of kalonji. A generous drizzle of mustard oil. Served with piping hot rice. Food heaven !!!
Sheem Bhorta | Bharta (Mashed Flat Beans with Fried Onions and Raisins)
- 250 g flat beans or sheem
- 1/3 cup beresta or fried onions
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 4-5 green chillies
- 1/2 tsp kalonji
- 1/4 cup coriander leaves finely chopped
- 2 tbsp mustard oil
- Wash the flat beans, top, tail, string and halve each of the beans.
- Blanch the flat beans in boiling water with a pinch of salt till they are just tender. Drain the water.
- Allow to cool down to room temperature, blitz to a smooth paste. Keep aside. Coarsely grind the fried onions and raisins. Keep aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, throw in the kalonji and green chillies. Allow to splutter. Add the flat bean paste, sprinkle in the salt and cook till the mashed beans are coming off the pan.
- Now add the coarsely ground fried onion and raisin. Give it all a hearty mix.
- Adjust seasonings. Finish off with chopped coriander leaves and a generous drizzle of mustard oil. Serve hot with steamed rice.