Ammarakai Thoran /Cheeni Avarakkai Poriyal / Cluster beans/ Guar Beans Stir-fry with Coconut and Spices: A multimillionaire in disguise.

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 One evening after coming back from the work my hubby asked me if I knew that guar gum it is one of the important components in fluids used for oil drilling. He is a Scientist working in Oil Industry. I know that guar gum is used in Gluten free baking, but didn’t realize these innocent looking Ammarakai/ Guar beans are base of multimillion dollar industry.  Guar gum is made from removing the beans inside the pod, splitting them and then extracting the endosperm from the seed. Demand is rising rapidly due to industrial use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing (oil shale gas. ) About 80% of world production occurs in India and Pakistan. Only 10 % of Indian production is used domestically, and the rest is used in export.

 I have seen them growing in the backyard garden of houses in Kerala, my home town. Usually this ammarakai/ Guar beans, grows well if there is lot of sun, they are great nitrogen fixing plant, which means that in its rhizome or root nodules nitrogen fixing bacteria is present. They fix atmospheric nitrogen for the plant.   Guar beans can grow in low moisture areas, as it has long root system which helps to draw water from various depths. Its kernel consists of a protein-rich germ (43-46%) and a relatively large endosperm (34-40 %), containing big amounts of the galactomannan which is responsible for it hydrogen bonding activity or hydrocolloidal nature. 
Guar beans are used as vegetable when they are young, but once they mature, from it endosperm gur gum is extracted and used as dough improver in baking, in cheese it is used improve texture, for ice cream it helps to make small ice crystals, in fried goods they reduce the oil uptake. Nowadays Guar gum is used a lot in hydraulic fracking in oil and gas industry and naturally its demand is increased.  In India, Rajasthan and Hariyana are the states that mainly produce guar beans, and Jodhpur in Rajasthan is a major Guar trading market.  For making a gallon of ice cream you need only a pinch of guar gum, while in oil fracking, a well’s shale formation may take 20,000 pounds (10 tons) of guar beans.
Fracking is used to extract gas trapped some 6,000 to 10,000 feet beneath the surface making hard shale rock more porous.  Large amounts of water, typically three to five million gallons, are mixed with small amounts of chemical additives, sand and pressure injected into holes in the well bore forcing cracks in the surrounding rocks, allowing much more gas to flow back into the well bore. Guar gum is a very good suspending agent and it is easy to break,” meaning that when the liquids are withdrawn from the well bore, the gum helps separate the chemicals from the water. Since these guar gum are used in food industry there will no question of environmental pollution of using these in Oil industry.
Even though oil and gas companies, Halliburton and Schlumberger are exploring synthetic hydrocolloids, so far guar gum has the upper hand as it has all the good qualities and improve the viscosity, or flowability, of the drilling fluid and help suspend the sand that is needed more than a mile underground, and help prop the rock formation open when it is fractured under high pressure. Read more from here.
In other words, Guar gum is an all-rounder because of its hydrocolloid nature and is used in food, oil, textile, cosmetics etc. Thus it supports multimillion dollar industry. In addition to this, guar gum helps in weight loss, by its water binding and expanding capacitity, it can make you feel full   for longer periods of time. It also helps diabetics, by slowing the breaking down and absorption of nutrients present in food which leads to decreased carbohydrates and sugar breakdown and resulting in lower blood sugar levels after meals. So, people suffering with diabetes can manage their sugar levels more effectively, if you want read more read from here.
My mom used makes stir fry with young ammarakai/ guar beans most of days in a weeks, because I love it. I didn’t know while gobbling that delicious curry that beans used in them are part of multimillion dollar industry. If you ask me how it tastes, I will tell your slight chewy, bitter taste goes well with spices.  You can add them as vegetables in any curry as they tend to hold the shape. Whatever you do, it is really hard for you make them mushy. Even a bad cook can’t change the shape. They are usually cut like any other beans by clipping their head and tail. They taste great and make dish depending upon how small you cut them.
Once cutting part is done, the major work is done, heat oil, and add seasoning, then add cut ammarkai/guar beans, salt, turmeric and water cook them until done, it takes about 20 minutes. Then add coconut, cumin powder, chili powder and curry leaves. Mix and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the flame and enjoy as much as you want. Goes well with any rice and curry as a excellent side. 
So when you buy these humble green veggies from your supermarket, think about its business ventures.I was amazed by them, and surely you will be too. 
Print Recipe from here
Ammarakai  Thoran /Cheeni Avarakkai Poriyal / Cluster beans/  Guar Beans Stir-fry with Coconut and Spices

Preparation time:10 minutes
Cook time :  20 minutes
Yield: 4 serving


3 1/2 cup Ammarakai/ Guar beans  (chopped finely )
1 1/2 Onion ( chopped finely)
1/2 Coconut
1/2  teaspoon Red chili powder
 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1 tablespoon  Urad dal/ split black gram
2 no Red chilies
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon Coconut oil
1/2 cup water
2 sprig curry leaves.

How I made

  • Wash and clean the guar beans cut the head and tail and the cut them into fine pieces and set aside, chop the onion and set aside.
  • Heat coconut oil  in a pan and add mustard seeds, urad dal and halved red chilies, when mustard seeds starts splutter add chopped onion, guar beans
  • To this add turmeric powder, salt and water and close the lid cook for until entire water is evaporates and beans gets cooked.
  • Then add coconut, cumin powder and red chili powder and mix once and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and enjoy with rice and gravy.

I am linking this  delicious recipe to Hearth and  Soul Blog hop hosted here. 
My Legume Love Affair# 56  Hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen originally started by Susan of Well seasoned Cook 

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  1. says

    Though I don’t like this veggie very much,I have heard lots about the health benefits dear..looks delish in thoran form,will try sometime!!

  2. says

    first time here, this is one of my fav stir fry.
    you just made the perfect way :)
    Folowing you :)Happy if u visit my space sometime :)

  3. says

    Swathi beautiful writeup,very informative..I make this only occasionally as it is bitter in taste,but from now on I am going to make this often,never knew it had so many health benefits.Thoran looks delicious.

  4. says

    hi dear,
    tons of thanks for posting this..i tasted this veggie from one Andhra restaurant but never tried at home since i do not have any idea of how to cook this :)gonna try this soon

  5. says

    swathi… we see this beans but never by, especially because it has the “aaru” on the sides, making it difficult to eat, but after reading this, i think i should start including it into our diet… lovely mezhukupuratti, beautiful snaps… :)

  6. says

    nice info about guar gum,thanks for sharing…I don’t like this beans because of the little bitter taste, but my hubby likes it. we too call this veg as seeni avarakai…but some people from chennai told me that they call it as kotthavarankai…

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  8. says

    Hi Swathi,

    A millionaire dish!… Sounds amazing to me. I have heard of the interesting properties of guar beans… This looks great to me.


  9. says

    So good to learn about these beans Swathi! You turned them into something so delicious and healthy! Your pictures make me want to dive right in. Thanks for all the comments you left me!