plantain and lablab beans | kachhe kele sem ki bhujia | making healthier subzis

I have been getting a lot of queries about light subzis, both curries and stir fries and I realised that though I make such subzis every single day I haven't posted many of them. This kele sem ki subzi or plantain and flat beans is one of those subzis that are light and delicious. Just adjust the chilly heat to your preference and this subzi suits you palate.

kachhe kele sem ki bhujia

Blogging about the day to day food here has given me immense satisfaction, many strangers have become friends and chat with me and mail me regularly, it was not in my wildest imagination when I started with these blogs. It feels good that somebody is trying your recipes and wants more ideas about healthy cooking every day. Many restaurant like curries with fancy ingredients are abound on the net but what is cooked in an average middle class household in India is very different from that, especially when we want to eat healthy yet tasty food day after day, using seasonal and cheap ingredients. Incidentally, the first criteria of a middle class homemaker going to cook a daily meal for her family is seasonal food.

Having said that, I must admit that cooking healthy subzis (especially low on cooking fat) is a big challenge for a traditional Indian homemaker (anybody who cooks on a daily basis for that matter)...our curries are made with deep fried vegetables cooked in a masala paste which is again cooked in a fatty medium, resulting into a bowl of curry which comes to your table with a thick layer of oil or ghee floating on top. Most of us want healthier options, many of us cook healthier versions too. A light subzi for me is something like a warm salad or a light stir fry which is meant to be eaten like a main course with minimal grain consumption (grain is roti or rice for us) get more vegetable and less grain in each meal this way........

My way of cooking a low fat subzi is based on cooking on low flame, with lid to shorten cooking time, avoiding gravies which essentially requires fat to be made, using spices and herbs liberally to enhance flavors and cooking the subzi just at the time of serving to get the most flavorful experience. Some of these subzis keep well in the fridge as well....

Apart from making the subzi low fat I try and include more fiber into them and try new combinations regularly, using fresh seasonal veggies is the key to get it right ALWAYS. Ibsometimes replace potatoes with plantains for example, making the subzi healthier on..

Plantains are a tasty substitute of potatoes for me sometimes, I cook them with skin on which is a surprise for many, but the taste and the texture of the finished recipe is always good, we like the plantain bhujia very much ...though I have never tried fried plantain chips with skin on but whatever stir fry preparations I make with it the skin tastes yumm.

And while making the kele ka kofta, I just peel a thin layer with a potato peeler, boil it and mash to proceed, the fiber in the skin makes the kofte more spongy to absorb more flavor from the gravy (not the kind of low fat subzi we are talking about right now).....

I thought of substituting potatoes with plantains mainly because Arvind likes potatoes so much that he wants it regularly on his plate. After realizing that he eats plantains with equal interest I started thinking of using it more often, as we make a lot of subzis using potatoes in combination like aaloo matar, aaloo baingan and aaloo sem etc.

I started using plantain so plantain and peas (kela matar) and plantain and flat beans (kaccha kela sem). The combination is so yummy and healthy, full of fiber and goodness of plantains (potatoes are good too but there should be a change )...

Plantains are rich in low GI carbohydrate (good for diabetics), dietary fiber, Vitamins (A, B6 and C) and minerals (Potassium) is so rich in potassium that it is prescribed for those having low levels of potassium in their blood, Potassium in plantain is good for heart and helps prevent from hypertension and heart attack. It is also rich in Magnesium and phosphate. The Vitamins (A, B6 and C) help maintain vision, good skin and immunity.

On the other hand the sem or Indian broad beans are rich in Vit A, B6 and C along with some micro nutrients too, has very low GI and loads of dietary's much like the french beans...low cal health food...

I make a very basic n simple stir fry with these two veggies, just split into two and then slice the plantain, with skin of course....I used 3 medium sized Indian plantains...

kachhe kele sem ki bhujia

Chop the sem (flat beans) too into small bits....I used a cup of them.....

Heat mustard oil 1 tbsp in a kadai (I used a cast iron kadai so the subzi turned out dark in color (I love it this way) and throw in a tsp of cumin seeds and let it splutter, throw in the chopped veggies into the kadai and stir to coat with oil......add salt to taste and keep stirring to cook evenly...

After about 3-4 minutes add 2 tbsp of ginger - garlic and green chilly paste  a pinch of turmeric powder and a tsp of cumin powder...mix well and add a tbsp or two of water so that the subzi doesn't get burnt (if using oil liberally it will not be needed )..

Cover the kadai for 2-3 minutes to cook properly, open the lid and mix .....mashing the plantains a bit if you wish. Fry(bhuno) some more till it is a dry stir fry subzi and serve hot with roti n daal or chawal n daal may like to add a bit of amchoor powder in the last...or lemon juice....I use it occasionally with this....

and finally the ingredient list  
plantains 2-3 (250 gm)
sem or broad beans 1 cup ( 200 gm)
ginger-garlic and green chilly paste made with equal quantity of all three 2 tbsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
cumin powder 1 tsp
amchoor powder 1 tsp (optional)
mustard oil 1 tbsp
whole cumin 1 tsp
salt to taste

A healthy subzi which is light and can be made as hot as you wish, simple but flavorful......

More low fat and light subzis are coming soon.....stay tuned............


  1. Dear Sangeeta
    Mere ghar-me days in days out ehi banta hae..only vegetables change Kabhi seasoning of jeera, kabhi Panch PhoDon or Kabhi kala jeera..Thats why I cook healthy food rarely and post to blog rarely...
    So u mean to say I have been eating health-food all my life and will die healthy? wao..I feel so good!!!
    Jokes apart I like raw banana /plantain in all form, even I make use of the peel in a different recipe. I shall post the recipe ...
    Basically we eat a diet of high protein (incl non veg and veg protein) high garbage (I mean high cellulose)and a balance between carbohydrates and fat)
    Thanks for this posting, and with your commanding scientific knowledge in the field many will be benefited.

  2. Thankyou Ushnish ...i knew you'd relate with this kind of cooking...i like the mashed bengali subzis...even the labra and shukto have been favorites , i love such veggies as main course...

    high protien diet is debatable , especially after 40 yrs of age....ayurveda always advocates simple meals with more carbs n less protein n very low fats...very very high on fiber..and water.

  3. I didn,t knew u can use plaintains without fry also....i never cook with those,no body big fan of Plaintain in my house, but beans any time....good info on plaintain

  4. Here's a question, somewhere above you've written that gravies have more fat than veggies without the gravy. Why is that? I always used to think that the gravy actually lessens the fat. (As in I can just steam the gravy veggy in a cooker)

  5. hi sangeeta, nice healthy n tasty recipes in ur blog ...keep up the good work...n thnx for visitng my blog n commenting...m adding u in my list...keep visitng...happy healthy cooking.Have a nice week ahead

  6. Hi Ramit....i must thank you for this question .
    Gravies are actually cooked in a lot of butter ghee or oil as frying the masala needs fat , i had makhni, shahi and butter gravies on my mind when i wrote those words , though gravy is actually a sauce cooked with just the fat which drips during roasting the meat ( not applicable for veggie dishes ).
    In Indian cooking we make all those gravies where 'cook until fat separates' is the the same time when you say that when you steam a gravy subzi in pressure cooker, it actually cooks in lesser oil , almost like a soup , but in that case the 'gravy' is watery n not creamy n rich .
    I personally like those watery gravies , sometimes i thicken them by adding something...more recipe are coming for low fat gravy subzis..

  7. I too make subzi with raw plantain,ur version soungd gr8!Looks awesome!!I am bookmarking this one!!!!

  8. Hi Sangeeta first time on your blog and I must admit am in love with it. I also believe in healthy cooking for day to day purpose and there are a lot of things am learning from your page. just love the healthy pav bhaji. awesome dear.

  9. I like raw green plantains ka subzi...addition fo beans is so new to me, must be a great combo' wish to try as soon as I spot plaintains here:)

  10. This is a very unique combo... never tried plantain this way :-)

  11. Unique combination, sounds lovely !

  12. I've a plantain sitting on shelf,will try this tasty recipe :D

  13. Plaintains are one of my fav, love the combo dear :-)

  14. Hey Sangeeta,
    I have been following your blog for over a month and have finally becoming an Official Follower. I am also on a staying fit and weight loss regime. I am also a lover of all the green veggies and love the way you cook. I can identify my cooking style with yours (though I am not innovative to try new recipes). I use 1tbsp oil and use the lid cover or water as an alternative to oil to cook the veggies same as u.
    I have tried your brocoli paratha and my husband and i loved it. I have started cooking my parathas without oil and feel no guilt in eating them now.
    Keep posting new stuffs :)

  15. thankyou Shl... people like you make me post such healthy recipes which may not look good on screen ( even may be considered doggy food by some he he )i know it helps when you are trying to be fit not compromising on taste's not easy to think about an alternative to all the tempting's just a way of life which matters.


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