An encounter with sword beans

If you don’t have the patience of a grandmother DO NOT attempt to cook sword beans for lunch. Wifey realized it on her first attempt while knifing the sword beans!  That’s Talwar Sem in Hindi.

sword beans

That’s why despite its nutritional benefits sword beans hasn’t become popular in the kitchen. I’ve yet to see a chef on the cookery shows telling his/her viewers: “Chalo aaj sword beans banaye (Let’s prepare sword beans, today).”

Sword beans arrive in the market in the second week of October and continue to be available till the second week of the following month, at a kingly price of Rs 120 a kilo!

Like most beans, sword beans need to be peeled from their spines and then peeled from the insides too. Not an easy thing to do. You’ve to use the knife point to dig under the skin and then peel it off. After all this work what’s left is not much. Meaning if you buy a kilo what is left after peeling and de-shelling is just around 400g. What a waste?

Last Sunday during my weekly visit to the farm I couldn’t resist picking up the newly-arrived sword beans swaying in the morning breeze. There were around 15 of them.

I brought them home ready to have a sword fight with wifey. I also remember what our house maid had sneeringly remarked having seen them on the kitchen table: Tumi eh khat ka? (Do you eat such stuff)?

Sword bean (abai in Marathi) is considered a rustic vegetable and a favourite among the tribals and villagers. That’s the impression I got when Mangal handing the initial harvest praised them.


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