Simba Rai

Flat beans or popularly known as Simba in Odia are again one of our winter delights. Simba Rai is very strong flavored curry made out of fiery Besara sauce. Flat beans have unique earthy flavor which plays the charm with the strong pungent of mustard sauce. Alongside potatoes meddle well to make a balanced curry. The photos of the recipe were taken when I cooked it in 2015 when I was pregnant. Then I had craved for this lovely dish and cooked to relish it with some hot steamed rice.

My Granny owned a small creeper of Simba in her back yard. I would eagerly wait for Saturdays when my mom would drop me to granny’s place. Grandma would be ready to receive me with the warmest hug and with my favorite breakfast. She would make sure to take me for a round to all her neighbors and friends, showcasing me and talking about my school, my paintings and endless praises as a star. God?! How much I miss those days? It brings so much happiness when you are around your grandparents, as you always are a reason for their happiness.

After this small round of fun, she would take me to her backyard showing her various plants. She would touch each and every Simba (flat beans) on the creepers to make sure that each bean has grown enough to be plucked and if so, she’d pluck them. I would be more interested in those small purple flowers that enhanced the beauty of the plant and I would suggest her to let the creepers climb in the direction to make the house look beautiful.

After coming back to home, she’d cut these beans in a jiffy with her Paniki, the traditional knife she used in her kitchen to cut veggies. Then she would grind the mustard paste with the Sheela Pua, and believe me there is no better grinder in the world that Sheela Pua. And before I realize, she would come with hot steamed rice and the Simba Rai curry and I would slurp it like anything. And believe me, I would make sure not a single grain is left.

Simba Aloo Raee
Simba Aloo Raee

Growing up is always like giving up those beautiful things. But almost every time I cook any of my Grandma’s recipes I relive those days. Cooking in the silent mornings when both the boys are sleeping, I feel like taking a small tour to my past to get glimpses of memories and happiness. Probably that’s why I love cooking so much.

Simba Rai
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Simba Rai is a thick, dry gravy dish made with Mustard paste traditionally known as Besara in Odia. It's a perfect accompaniment to hot steamed rice.
Ingredients
  • Flat Beans – 454 gm or 1 lb
  • Potato – 2 medium sized
  • Mustard Paste – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Panch Phoran or Phutana – 1 tsp
  • Dried Red Chili – 2 pieces
  • Salt – according to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash thoroughly the flat beans and cut them into small pieces. Wash and peel off the potatoes and cut into small pieces similar to that of the flat beans.
  2. Take a wide bottomed pan, heat it and add the mustard oil to the pan. After a minute, when the oil is heated up add the panch phoran and dried red chili.
  3. After a minute, add the flat beans, potatoes. Then to the veggies, add the salt and turmeric. Mix uniformly and cover the pan.
  4. Once the veggie is cooked in its own steam, check if the veggies are softened properly (half cooked). This step takes around 10 mins approximately.
  5. Mix the mustard paste uniformly and cook for 1-2 mins.
  6. Now add a cup of water and let the veggie cook properly and let the spice be properly absorbed by the veggies.
  7. Saute the veggies properly, let the water dry up properly.

Ingredients for Simba Rai:

  1. Flat Beans – 454 gm or 1 lb
  2. Potato – 2 medium sized
  3. Mustard Paste – 2 tbsp
  4. Mustard Oil – 1 tbsp
  5. Turmeric – 1 tsp
  6. Panch Phoran or Phutana – 1 tsp
  7. Dried Red Chili – 2 pieces
  8. Salt – according to taste

Steps of Preparations of Simba Rai:

  1. Wash thoroughly the flat beans and cut them into small pieces. Wash and peel off the potatoes and cut into small pieces similar to that of the flat beans.
    Washed Fresh Flat Beans
    Washed Fresh Flat Beans

    Cut Veggies
    Cut Veggies
  2. Take a wide bottomed pan, heat it and add the mustard oil to the pan. After a minute, when the oil is heated up add the panch phoran and dried red chili.

    Panch Phoran and Red Chili Tampering
    Panch Phoran and Red Chili Tampering
  3. After a minute, add the flat beans, potatoes. Then to the veggies, add the salt and turmeric. Mix uniformly and cover the pan.
    Veggies added to the Tempering
    Veggies added to the Tempering


    Cover and Cook
    Cover and Cook

     

  4. Once the veggie is cooked in its own steam, check if the veggies are softened properly (half cooked). This step takes around 10 mins approximately.

    Half cooked Veggies
    Half cooked Veggies
  5. Mix the mustard paste uniformly and cook for 1-2 mins.

    Adding mustard paste
    Adding mustard paste
  6. Now add a cup of water and let the veggie cook properly and let the spice be properly absorbed by the veggies.

    Add a cup of water
  7. Saute the veggies properly, let the water dry up properly.

Serve the hot Simba Aloo Rai with hot steamed rice, even it’s an amazing accompaniment to the Odia special Pakhala Bhata.

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