Sometimes, simple, homely meals can be far more satisfying than elaborate gourmet dinners. One such meal that I can never forget is also my childhood favorite. At lunchtime, mother would serve us a plate of hot rice with fragrant, hot dali toye poured over it, topped with buttermilk, and accompanied by delicious, hot and savory avara songe. This simple meal was so tasty that I could never have enough of it. Today, it became truly wondrous when I used freshly shelled lablab beans in place of the dried beans that we get from the grocery stores. Three months ago, we had visited one of my husband’s acquaintances. The husband, a poor, childless farmer had married again after becoming a widower early in his marriage. His ill luck seemed to follow him as his second wife met with an accident in town and nearly died of brain trauma. However, after much treatment and the prayers of a whole village, she had recovered partially. She greeted us with love, her speech slurred and baby-like. They presented us with tender coconuts to drink and the dear lady soon took out her little cardboard treasure box. Out came cute little seeds, beautiful, multicolored, and these she pressed into my palm, asking me to plant them in our garden right away. Two of the seeds were dark pink, a type of lablab beans (Lablab purpureus / hyacinth bean / bonavist bean / Egyptian kidney bean /Indian bean / Australian pea) that we had never before seen.
They soon grew into large branching vines and yesterday, my husband brought in a good number of mature beans, a few of them, almost dry too.
We sat down to shell them, fascinated with the sheer beauty and color of the beans.
I decided to make avara songe with porottas. The dear lady had asked us to drain off the broth to get rid of most of the bitter taste, always present in the beans. This I did, and the result indeed was fantastic, and as I said, wondrous, for the four of us finished the avara songe in a trice!
I am sure I won’t be able to sleep without sharing this recipe with you. If you are unable to get fresh, mature lablab beans in their pods, then just buy the dry beans from the supermarket and soak them in water overnight. Enjoy!