Nepalese Dinner- Kwanti & Aloo achaar


Does it not sound like the name of a pretty village lass. When I first heard the name, I almost pictured a doe eyed, smiling, Nepali belle. Well kwanti is actually a delicious lentil curry, made with NINE different beans.
Wait ! Don’t run off so soon.....most of these pulses and spices are staple in Indian kitchens, and the ones that are not can easily be substituted with any other sproutable lentils.
This recipe is from a neat little book on Nepalese food lovingly written by Lok Rajye Lakshmi Devi , part of the Chef special series published by Roli books . I have drastically reduced the quantity of ghee and mustard oil mentioned in the original recipe ( 1 cup and ¼ cup respectively!) to make it lighter and substituted red rajma for white. Served along with Nepalese aloo achar (recipe follows), it makes for a light and interesting meal !
The beans :
50 g (3 Tbsp) Chickpeas (kabuli chana)
50 g (3 Tbsp) Dried green peas (sookhey matar)
50 g ((3 Tbsp) Black-eyed beans (lobhia/chawli)
50 g (3 Tbsp) Dill (soya beans) seeds
30 g (2Tbsp) Kidney beans (Rajma)
30 g (2Tbsp) Whole green gram (sabut moong)
30 g (2Tbsp) Whole black gram (sabut urad)
30 g (2 tbsp) Lentil (sabut masoor)
20 g (4 tsp) Moth beans (moth/matki)

2 Onions, medium-sized, peeled, finely sliced 250 g ( 2 to 3 medium)Tomatoes, chopped 6 cloves Garlic (lasan), peeled, crushed 4 tsp (24 g) Ginger (adrak), peeled, ground
1 cup (200 g) 7 oz Yoghurt (dahi)

The spices (masale)
a pinch Asafoetida (hing)
5 - 8 Cloves (laung),
5 - 6 Green cardamom (choti elaichi)
1 Cinnamon (dalchini), 1 inch stick 1 tsp Turmeric (haldi) powder
1 tbsp Coriander (dhaniya) powder
2 tsp Cumin (jeera) powder
1 tsp Black pepper (kali mirch) powder
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tbsp Red chilli powder
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil +1 tsp Ghee
Tempering ( Tadka)
1 tbsp Mustard (sarson) oil
1 tsp Carom (ajwain) seeds 3 - 4 Dry red chillies (sookhi lal mirch), halved
Garnish :
Chopped cilantro (hara dhaniya)

1.Clean the pulses and legumes and soak them overnight. Wash well, tie in a muslin cloth and leave for a day to sprout. The next day, repeat the washing and tying up again. The beans should sprout in 2 days.

2. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan; add asafoetida, cloves, green cardamom, and cinnamon.

3. Add the garlic. When it becomes reddish, add onions and brown. Add the sprouts, turmeric powder, and salt. Fry, stirring continuously till the water dries.

4. Now add all the powdered spices, yoghurt, and ginger paste. Mix together. Stir for 5 minutes.

5. Add the tomatoes and stir.

6. Mix well till the tomatoes integrate well with the beans.

7. Add 4 - 5 cups water and cook till the sprouts become soft. (This dish should have a thin gravy, so add more water to get the correct consistency). Cook until done. Took about 5whistles in my cooker.

8. Heat the mustard oil in a frying pan; when the oil starts smoking, lower heat and add the carom seeds, and dry red chillies. Once the dry red chillies swell, pour this into the prepared curry and cover the pan with a lid immediately. Remove from heat.

7. Check the seasoning and alter, if necessary. Add green coriander and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve accompanied by rice.

Aloo Achaar

3 medium potatoes, boiled in their jackets
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp sichuan pepper or timmur ( optional)
Turmeric ¼ tsp
Lime juice 1 tbsp
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 medium green chillies
Salt to taste

1.Break half the potatoes into big pieces and roughly mash the rest.

2. Dry roast the sesame, sichuan pepper & cumin

3.Coarsely grind the sesame seeds with cumin and Sichuan pepper (if using). I used my stone mortar and pestle to do this, but a clean coffee grinder should work fine too. The original recipe advised adding a bit of water while grinding, but I prefer to dry grind in my mortar. A bit of salt added while grinding helps.
4. Add the ground mix to the potatoes and toss.

5. Heat the mustard oil and take off the flame for a minute before adding fenugreek seeds and the green chillies. Add the turmeric powder and pour the contents over the potatoes and immediately cover the bowl. After two minutes, uncover and toss to mix. The flavours truly come through after sitting for 20 minutes.

serves: 4 to 6


  1. finally i went thru all of ur posts rash.. and i like that pic of urs with beans soaked.. why dont u send it to the click event

  2. so touched that u read all my posts. actually, i also kind of like that pic, the very first blog pic I ever took.Don't know whether makes the grade for click, but now will send it.

  3. Where do we get yummy nepali food in Pune?

  4. i made this same aloo achaar, my hubby is nepalese.. i added a bit of flax seed powder, and it tasted MIL makes it with black sesame..ur pics are great, mine arent :(

  5. and we also add lemon juice to it..