I adore winters when it comes to cooking.
All the fresh produce that Mother Earth blesses us with. All the festive euphoria around Makar Sankranti. And of course, that blessed bouquet of winter vegetables – delectable carrots, plump peas, gorgeous beetroots, stunning sheem (flat beans) I could go on an on.
And I do need to confess, Sheem is one of my favorites. I just relish cooking with sheem.
Pair sheem with brinjal, for example, throw in some kalonji.
Stuffed sheem, fried till a gorgeous golden and crispy.
Or marry sheem with poshto, drizzled luxuriantly with mustard oil.
Or a delectable medley of sheem and fresh coriander leaves.
Simple, earthy, unpretentious yet delicious !!!
So when Nandita, a celebrated blogger and a dear friend, sends baby sheem from her kitchen garden, I knew it had to be a sheem paturi.
A Sheem Paturi. Lovely baby sheem, just a throw of peas. The furious zing of mustard paste. The meanness of wicked chillies. Balanced by the sweetness of freshly grated coconut. Packed lovingly into banana leaf parcels. Drizzled with mustard oil and secured with a twine. Pan roasted or deep fried. As you desire.
One thing I can guarantee for sure, the aroma when you unpack that lovely parcel shall stun your olfactory nerves for sure !!!
I thought the story of Sheem Paturi was to end here.
But Nandita had other ideas.
A couple of months later, I receive a note from her that she is trying her version of sheem paturi – the earthiness of sheem, the mischief of green peas and the sweetness of sweet potatoes, lovingly coated in a mustard paste, wrapped in banana leaf parcels and pan fried.
Too tempting, isnt it ?
I shall be trying Nandita’s version of Sheem Paturi this weekend, what about you ?
Sheem Paturi (Flat Beans with Mustard in Banana Leaf Parcels)
- 15-20 sheem or flat beans Depending on the size of the sheem you have. Key is to select very tender ones
- 1/4 cup fresh green peas
- 2 1/2 tbsp white mustard seeds
- 1/2 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp coconut paste
- 2 tbsp grated coconut
- 6-7 green chillies slit
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 tbsp mustard oil
- salt to taste
- banana leaves for the paturi parcels, washed
- Cut off the central vein of the banana leaves, trim the edges. Warm the leaves over a very low flame, taking care to not char or burn the leaves. (This softens the leaves and keeps them flexible, making the parcels is much easier that way.) Cut the leaves to small pieces.
- Soak the yellow and black mustard in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain the mustard. Make a smooth paste of the mustard with 3-4 green chillies, a pinch of turmeric powder and a couple of grains of rice.
- In the meantime, wash the sheem, pat dry. Top, tail and string each of the beans. (I used mine whole as I was lucky to get some delightful baby sheem. You might choose to halve or third yours depending on the size of sheem you get) Keep aside.
- Take the mustard paste, coconut paste, green chillies, turmeric powder and 2 1/2 tbsp mustard oil, mix well. Add the flat beans and green peas, sprinkle in the salt, another hearty mix and we are ready to go.
- Take a piece of banana leaf, add a small portion of sheem and peas to the middle. Top with a little mustard-coconut marinade, finish with a sprinkle of grated coconut.
- Wrap the banana leaf from all four sides to make a parcel, secure with twine. (Nowadays I do often use wooden toothpicks to secure the parcel. Although do need to confess that there's some sublime delight untying that twine and letting that aroma play with your olfactory nerves as you struggle with the twine !!!)
- Add ½ tbsp. mustard oil to a flat pan, gently place the banana leaf parcels on the pan, cover with a lid and cook over a low flame for 12-15 minutes.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.