Healthful and simple, this nutritious soup is named for the nine different beans that go into it. In Nepal, kawatee is eaten during the harsh winters to “warm” and protect the body. Restaurant-owner Roshita Shrestha who hails from Kathmandu recommends it for women during confinement and while breastfeeding. Roshita ate kawatee often after the recent birth of her daughter in Seattle and says it also offers a taste of home. You can use any type of dried beans or legumes to make 2¼ cups total.
- ¼ cup dried black beans
- ¼ cup dried kidney beans
- ¼ cup dried red or green lentils
- ¼ cup dried azuki beans
- ¼ cup dried black-eyed peas
- ¼ cup dried green mung beans
- ¼ cup dried lentils
- ¼ cup dried garbanzo beans
- ¼ cup dried soybeans
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- ½ inch piece fresh ginger, grated (1 teaspoon), plus 1-inch piece ginger, cut into ¼-inch-thick coins
- 5 cups water, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons ghee, margarine, or butter
- ¼ teaspoon ajowan seeds (see Notes)
- 1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder (see Notes)
- 1½ teaspoons salt
Rinse all of the beans and pick out any stones and grit. In a large bowl, soak them in enough water to cover by 2 inches for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and grated ginger and cook until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Tip in the beans and stir and cook until lightly browned and well coated in oil, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer for about 1¼ hours , or until the beans are tender and squish easily between your fingers.
Toss in the ginger coins and simmer for another 15 minutes. The soup should not be too thick but have the consistency of a thin vegetable stew. Add more water if necessary.
To make the tempering oil, heat the ghee in a small skillet over high heat until it melts and starts to bubble gently. Stir in the ajowan seeds and asafetida powder. The mixture will sizzle and sputter. Immediately stir the entire contents of the skillet into the soup. Add the salt and serve hot with basmati rice.