On the full moon day (purnima) in the month of Shrawan, Nepali people celebrate the day as Janai Purnima and Rakshya Bandhan. The day is very special for the Hindu devotees in the country. In Newari community, it is also known as Gun (laa) punhi, which coincides with the month-long Newari festival called Gunlaa. The day is also known as Kwati Punhi or Kwati Purnima. On this day, people eat a mixture of cooked beans in form of a soup. This dish is a common recipe in Nepal made with 9 different beans and spices.
Importance of Kwati Purnima:
Kwati Purnima gets its name because people eat kwati (mixed bean soup) on the day. Kwati is consumed because it provides high protein to one’s body. Over a period of 365 days, Newari festivals are lined up in a way that the body gets all kinds of necessary diet with protein, fats, carbohydrates, etc. So to make sure one gets the diet necessary, even if it is is the name of the day, Kwati Purnima is celebrated.
However, the dish is not consumed daily as it contains high in protein. When consumed more the body might not process all the proteins, and it might have negative consequences.
Kwati is a dish that consists nine different types of beans in one. Though the dish is not consumed often but the beans individually are a common dish with a lot of benefits.
Significance of beans:
Kidney beans (Raajmaa): These beans have many benefits for the body, like lowering cholesterol in the blood level. It is good for diabetes and helps in improving memories. kidney beans are also a powerhouse of proteins. It helps in cleansing the stomach, improves heart health and many more.
Black-eyed beans (Bodi): Black-eyed beans are a great source of protein. It promotes cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer, controls sugar level, treats anemia and balances blood pressure. This bean also helps in weight loss.
Chickpeas (Chana): They are the powerhouse of nutrition, packed with plant-based protein. It prevents diabetes, weight loss and is also a good source of protein. Chickpeas also maintains blood pressure and balance hormones.
Soya beans (Bhatmaas): Soya beans are high in fiber and protein. It is low in saturated fats and is cholesterol and lactose-free. These beans are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and are a source of antioxidants.
Mung beans (Moong): Mung or moong beans are packed with healthy nutrients. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which helps in reducing blood pressure. These beans may also prevent heart stroke and lowers cholesterol.
Green beans (Ghiu Simi): Green beans are a good source of vitamins and minerals. These beans contain many essential vitamins, like folates. It is rich in fiber and prevents infections. Green beans also maintain cells and blood fluids.
Black beans (Kalo Bhatmaas): These beans contain anti-cancer properties and improve heart health. It helps in relieving digestive function and also helps in sexual dysfunction. Black beans also improves pre-natal health and many more.
White lima beans (Seto Simi): They are packed with folate and vitamin B1 (thiamin). It is also rich in potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Method for making Kwati:
Making kwati is an easy job. To make it, you first have to soak your beans overnight. In the morning, drain all the water and keep it aside. You can also keep it for 2-3 days until it sprouts, sprouted beans are higher in nutrition.
Heat up your pressure cooker and add some oil. When its ready, add some cumin seed, black mustard seed, fennel seeds and lovage seeds in the cooker. When the seeds start to splutter, add a paste of onion-ginger-garlic. Stir the mix of spices till the mix turn golden/brown.
When that’s done, add your mixture of beans. Now add cumin powder, chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, and salt. Mix it well until beans are nicely coated with all the spices and fry it for 5 minutes. Add 4-5 cups of water and cook it for 20-25 minutes with the lid tightly closed.
When your done, release the steam from your cooker and check if beans are tender or not. Keep repeating so until the beans are fully cooked. Most of the water might dry up, so add another 2 cups of water and let it boil for a couple of minutes. When you get to the desired consistency (thickness), turn the gas off and let it cool. Chop some green onions and garnish it.
You can also add some lentils to the mix and pieces of roti (flatbread) or meat to the mix. It can also be eaten with momos on the day.