A bowl of kwati and a side of rice.

Kwāti (Nepal Bhasa: क्वाँटी (where क्वाँ= hot and टी = soup); Nepali: क्वाँटी) is a mixed soup of nine types of sprouted beans. It is a traditional Nepalese dish consumed on the festival of Gun Punhi, the full moon day of Gunlā which is the tenth month in the Nepal Eralunar calendar. Kwāti is eaten as a delicacy and for its health benefits and ritual significance.

Kwati is a Nepalese soup, containing nine types of beans. The various recipes I looked at didn’t agree about which kinds of beans to use, so I decided to just use all of them. I put no fewer than 16 kinds of beans in my soup! I guess my version isn’t exactly authentic, but the bean mix was super colorful! You could certainly use any mix of beans you like. My bean mix consisted of:
2 ¾ Tablespoons kidney beans
2 ¾ Tablespoons black eyed peas
2 ¾ Tablespoons chickpeas
2 ¾ Tablespoons soy beans
2 ½ Tablespoons mung bean
3 Tablespoons green lentils
3 ¼ Tablespoons black beans
3 Tablespoons white beans
2 ½ Tablespoons black gram
1 ¾ Tablespoons moth bean
2 Tablespoons yellow peas
2 Tablespoons small peas
1 ¾ Tablespoons black lentils
1 ¾ Tablespoons fava beans
1 ¾ Tablespoons cow peas
1 ½ Tablespoons rice bean

Colorful mix of many varieties of beans.

The beans in kwati are usually sprouted, so you’ll want to make sure that you are using mostly whole beans (as opposed to split versions of things like black gram and peas), and allow 2-3 days ahead to sprout the beans.

I wrote the recipe to use a pressure cooker, but the evening I went to cook the soup I discovered that I’d taken my pressure cooker to our storage unit last year when we were repainting our kitchen to get ready to sell our house. A year later, we’re still finishing all the projects and haven’t sold the house yet, so the pressure cooker is still sitting in storage. Luckily my wife had recently bought an Instant Pot, which is of course just a fancy electric pressure cooker, so I pulled it out of the box and figured out how to use it. The IP was not something I envisioned ever actually using myself, but after this experience I can say that while I’m not going to become an Instant Pot proselytizer, I’m willing to accept it as a tool I might use occasionally.

There are several techniques and ingredients used here that are common in Indian cooking , but may be a little unusual to the North American reader. Grinding your garlic, ginger and onion into a paste or puree might be the first one. A blender or food processor makes quick work of this. You could also use a mortar and pestle, or just finely mince them with a knife.

Adding different spices at different stages of cooking is also more common in Indian cooking than western. It allows some flavors to really cook in, while others stay brighter. This recipe has the classic ground curry type spices cooked with the beans, and then adds the sweeter garam masala flavors after they are cooked. Finally we finish the dish with tadka, or tempered spices- whole spices that have been quickly fried in hot oil until they pop and sputter, and then poured into the dish.

Ajowain is a seed (or technically fruit) of a plant in the family Apiaceae. It is related to, and looks similar to, other spices like caraway, cumin and fennel. The flavor is similar to anise and oregano, and it smells like thyme.

Most mustard oil is apparently not approved for consumption by the USDA. The first bottle I bought from Amazon had a big warning saying “for external use only” on it. I’d bet that in India and Nepal they would use it for cooking too, but I went back to Amazon and found this one * specifically advertised as food grade.

The red chili powder is not the chili powder you’ll find in most American grocery stores, used to make chili, which is actually a blend of spices. Indian style red chili powder is just ground red chili peppers. This one* from Amazon has been my go to, although that’s based on the price and size of container rather than any kind of flavor comparison.


Serves: 4 generously
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: about 1 hour
Total 1:20, plus 2-3 days to sprout beans

2 cups mixed beans

3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root
1 medium onion
4 tsp sunflower oil
1 ½ Tablespoons ghee
3 medium tomatoes, chopped.
3 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ tsp red chili powder
⅔ teaspoon turmeric
4 cups water

2 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick & 3 cardamom pods
⅔ teaspon garam masala

3 ¼ Tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
¾ teaspoon ajwain
¾ teaspoon black mustard seed
¾ teaspoon fennel seed

2 Tablespoons cilantro
2 Tablespoons green onion

1 green chili
½ Tablespoon fenugreek

Cover the mixed beans with cool water, and soak over night. Drain and leave out at room temperature to sprout. Rinse and drain twice a day until sprouted, 2-3 days.

Puree garlic, ginger and onion into a smooth paste.  Heat sunflower oil or ghee in pressure cooker. Fry garlic mixture for 2-3 minutes.  Add tomato and bay leaf and cook 3-4 minutes longer. Mix in sprouted beans and powdered spices, one at a time. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring, until beans are coated with spices

Add water, seal the lid, and bring up to pressure. Cook 15-20 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally. Beans should be soft.

Grind together cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. (or use garam masala) and add to the cooked beans. Add additional water as needed. 

Heat mustard oil in a small sauté pan. Add seeds and fry until they sputter. Pour over soup.

Garnish with cilantro and green onion. Serve with rice.

*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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