Maharashtra loves matki; have you tried it?

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Matki or moth beans are highly nutritious. (Photo: Pixabay)

Owing to their numerous health benefits, lentils, legumes and pulses have always been an integral part of the Indian diet. One such nutritious, easy-to-make and delicious dish made using moth beans is the Maharashtrian specialty Matki Amti or Sprouted Moth Beans Curry. The gravy or dal preparation made out of the legume is not only delicious but also packs a healthy punch.

The tiny cyndrical-shaped lentil, which is also known as matki, is mostly found in shades of light brown or tan with the inner part of the bean being slightly yellow in colour. It is considered to be a rich source of protein and is a staple in several vegetarian dishes in Maharashtra. Moth beans, which have a nutty taste, can be eaten as sprouts or as split or even whole beans. It is mostly used in Maharashtra to make a stir fry called usal, and can also be combined with other masalas to make it into matki amti. It is also used in cheela, pulao, khichdi and chaat preparations.

While matki can also be made dry or in the form of a salad, here is a quick recipe for the evergreen spicy amti which goes well with rotis and rice.

Matki Amti

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Ingredients

2 cups - Sprouted moth beans
2tbsp - Oil
A pinch of hing or asafoetida
1/2tsp - Mustard seeds
1/2tsp - Cumin seeds or jeera
1/4tsp - Turmeric powder
1/2tsp - Red chilli powder
1/2tsp - Coriander powder
1/2tsp - Goda masala (a variation of garam masala)
2tbsp - Jaggery
Few coriander leaves for garnishing
6-7 no - Curry leaves
1 cup - Grated coconut (optional)
1/2-inch - Ginger
1tsp- Tamarind
2 no - Green chillies
Salt to taste

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Method

*Grind ginger, tamarind and green chillies into a fine paste. You can also add grated coconut and little water. Keep the paste aside.

*In a small pressure cooker, keep the matki immersed in water and pressure cook it for one whistle.

*Once the matki is fully cooked and the pressure is cooled down, drain the water. Keep the cooked matki aside.

*In a pan, heat oil on a medium flame. Add mustard seeds, hing, cumin and curry leaves. Allow it to splutter and then add the ground paste and mix well. Cook on a low flame for a few minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and goda masala or garam masala.

*Give it a good mix.

*Add little water and adjust the consistency. Now add jaggery and mix well. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the curry starts simmering. Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Before serving, squeeze some lemon.

Method for soaking matki

Note: While matki is widely available in several markets, it is a good idea to use fresh ones by soaking them overnight at home.

Soak matki for 7-8 hours or overnight and drain the water completely the next day. Keep the drained matki covered in a warm dry place. It will soon start sprouting. Cover and keep it aside for another day or two until they are fully sprouted. Use it immediately or keep in the refrigerator and use within a couple of days.

Here are some of the benefits of sprouted moth beans

*It has high antioxidant levels which reduce the risk of catching infections.
*It is a rich source of magnesium, fibre and potassium which helps reduce blood pressure.
*It is also considered to lower cholesterol levels.