Cluster beans or guar bean botanically called as Cyamopsis tetragonolobus is an annual legume. It is also known as gawaar in Hindi & Marathi, Goruchikkudu kaya or Gokarakaya in Telugu, Gorikayie in Kannada and Kotthavarai in Tamil. Cluster Beans are a type of green beans grown in India, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. They are a flatter, smaller cousin of the regular green (French or string) beans.
80% of the world production of cluster beans is in India and grows best during frequent rainfall and also tolerates arid conditions. For the best growth of cluster beans or guar beans requires full sunshine, well drained soil and frequent to moderately rainfall. The crop is sown after the first rains in July and harvested in late October. It is widely grown in northwestern India and Pakistan with smaller crops grown in the semi-arid areas of the high plains of Texas in the USA, Australia and Africa. The most important growing area of this crop is Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Guar is also used to feed to cattle, or used as a green manure.
Cluster bean or Guar is eaten as a green bean vegetable and a variety of dishes are being prepared with vegetable. The bean can be cooked with either any green vegetable (methi leaves), potatoes, with tomato and also sometimes cooked with milk and spices. The Goruchikkudukaya masala is very popular in the Andhra cuisine. In India, cluster or gawar beans are commonly used in vegetable curries and lentil dals. Unlike the regular green beans, cluster beans have a slightly bitter taste. To tone down the bitterness, freshly grated coconut, or tamarind, jaggery, and tomatoes are used to enhance the taste and flavor.
This bean is a important source of guar gum. Guar beans have a large endosperm that contains galactomannan gum, a substance which forms a gel in water. This is commonly known as guar gum and is used in dairy products like ice cream and as a stabilizer in cheese and cold-meat processing. It is used as a fiber supplement. After being partially hydrolyzed, guar gum is completely soluble in water and soft food. Being approximately 75% dietary fiber, it allows fiber to be added to a food with a minimal effect on taste and texture.
The derivatives of Guar gum after being reacted is also used in industrial applications such as the paper and textile industry, ore flotation, the manufacture of explosives and hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas formations. Guar gum has also proven a useful substitute for locust bean gum (made from carob seeds). Guar gum is Often cross linked with Boron or Chromium ions to make it more stable and heat resistant. The cross linking of Guar with metal ions results in linear gel that does not block the formation and helps efficiently in formation cleaning process.
As a rich source of protein and fiber, cluster beans have several health benefits in both vegetable and powder form (guar gum). Guar gum has also been shown to be useful in weight loss and diabetes treatment. The fiber in guar slows down the digestion of a meal which lowers the glycemic index of the meal. The slow digestion means you feel full for a longer period of time, and eat less, thereby helping you lose weight. A diet rich in vegetables coupled is great for the health. Diet experts say that a cup of cooked cluster beans contains nearly 110 calorie. Most of the pod is protein, while the seeds are largely carbohydrate-rich endosperm.
Cluster beans or Guar pods are rich in soluble dietary fibre and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Guar gum is a common ingredient in fibre-rich drinks marketed as health drinks and weight-loss drinks. Low on Calories, the cluster bean or guar contains Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, and Vitamin A, dietary fiber, folate, iron and potassium. The Vitamin K is important for maintaining strong bones and proper development of fetus. It is also good source of fiber, potassium and folate, each of these nutrients plays important role in cardio-protective role.
The nutritional value per 100 gms of raw cluster beans are:
Energy: 16 Ecals
Moisture: 81 gm
Protein: 3 gm
Fat: 0 gm
Mineral: 1 gm
Fibre: 3 gm
Carbohydrates: 11 gm
Calcium: 130 mg
Phosphorous: 57 mg
Iron: 1 mg