Entries from March 17th, 2014

‘Gorikai Menaskai’, Cluster Beans in Sesame Coconut Curry



‘Gorikai Menaskai’, Cluster Beans in Sesame Coconut Curry


The word ‘Busy’ has a new meaning in my life right now. From morning 7 to night 9 I am in a survival mode these days. I feel like I am constantly juggling tasks and by the end of the day when the kids are in bed, I am completely drained out. I sit in front of my computer at around 10 but by then my brain is far from creative. I couldn’t write anything beyond the title for this recipe for a week!

When I was at my parent’s place last month, I had photographed a couple of recipes. I am sharing one of them with you today.


‘Gorikai Menaskai’, Cluster Beans in Sesame Coconut Curry


‘Menaskai’, the traditional sweet and spicy curry famous in the Mangalore Udupi region was cooked very often at home. It was my dad’s favourite curry. Some popular vegetable choices for ‘Menaskai’ are bitter gourd, pineapple, mango, cluster beans and hog plums. The vegetable used in Menaskai is usually bitter, sour or sweet. Depending on the taste of the main vegetable used, the remaining flavours are balanced. If you use sweet pineapple or mango, you would use less jaggery and if you use bitter or sour vegetables, less tamarind and more jaggery to balance out the taste. My mom mostly made only bitter gourd menaskai and I never really enjoyed it most of my childhood.  It’s only now that I have learnt to enjoy it.


‘Gorikai Menaskai’, Cluster Beans in Sesame Coconut Curry


Although not as much as bitter gourd, cluster beans have a very mild bitterness to them, which makes them perfect for Menaskai. This special curry uses a very unique spice paste with just 3 ingredients. Black sesame seeds make a very rare appearance in our dishes and here it lends a special bold flavor to Menasaki.

Try this curry with a difference with fresh steaming rice. It tastes good with dosas and chapatis too.


‘Gorikai Menaskai’, Cluster Beans in Sesame Coconut Curry



Other vegetables which can be used instead of cluster beans are bitter gourd, pineapple, mango, cluster beans and hog plums. Balance the sweet and sour ingredients depending on the flavor of the vegetable used.

You can use both desiccated and frozen coconut instead of fresh coconut

I have used dried tamarind but tamarind paste can be easily replaced.

Although you can use white sesame seeds instead of black sesame seeds, it will change the flavour of the curry.

If you are serving it for dinner, try to cook it in the morning and let it sit the whole day. Menaskai usually tastes better the next day. After boiling it a few times, it gets really thick like a chutney and the flavours get much stronger.


‘Gorikai Menaskai’, Cluster Beans in Sesame Coconut Curry



  • 500 grams of gorikai or cluster beans
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups of fresh coconut
  • 6-8 dry red chilies
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp jaggery powder
  • 2 inch piece of dried tamarind or 1 tbsp of thick tamarind paste.
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 dry red chili


Cut the cluster beans into 1 cm pieces and boil it with a cup of water and salt to taste. Let the cluster beans be tender but not overly cooked.

Place the dry red chilies and oil in a pan. Fry it in low flame for 5 to 10 minutes till the chilies turn bright red and crisp. Add the sesame seeds and fry for a couple of seconds. Add the coconut and roast it all together till the coconut turns light golden. Let the mixture cool down. Grind this spice mixture with tamarind, jaggery and about ½ cup of water. Grind everything into a very smooth paste adding more water if required.

Add the coconut paste to the cooked cluster beans. Season it with salt and bring it to a boil. Add more water depending on the desired thickness of the curry. It should be as thick as the dosa batter. Taste it and adjust the flavours according to your preference. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

For the tempering –

Heat coconut oil and mustard seeds in a little pan. When the mustard starts to splutter, add the lightly crushed garlic cloves. Fry till the garlic turns golden and add the dry red chili. When the chili turns bring red, turn off the heat. Pour the tempering over the curry.


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