It's bean season in Maharashtra!!!
Every bean that will be eventually dried and stored for years is at its youthful best right now - as large as it will ever get, and yet as juicy as a tender coconut. The markets are brimming with ungainly pods of all shapes and sizes and hawkers muttering oaths as swishing sari pallus sweep the beans out of their baskets.
Someone I know (and will always love from now on :-))) ) got me a bunch of mung beans from a farm. Shelling these skinny beans was as much fun as getting a root canal, but things did get easier once the pesky things were in a bowl.
This salad borrows a cooking method of farmers reserved for this season, when they roast green moong on a hot griddle with lots of stirring and fuss. It looks like stir frying without oil, and the little beans end up with a crispy chewy outside and tender mush inside.
I used a frying pan instead of a griddle, to prevent the little moong monsters from sliding off a griddle and skittering all over the kitchen floor.
After a few minutes of violent and satisfying stirring, the moong had developed little brown spots and an amazing barbecued aroma.
A quick vinaigrette of oil, lemon juice, finely diced chillies, salt and coriander gave the beans some oomph and cubed carrots and cucumber joined the party.
Note: The oil lemon ratio was 2:1, because I thought that a tangier saltier taste would balance the meatiness of the beans. I think it worked.