Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nice And Spicy Green Beans

As I've said before, I love vegetables. I love dressing them up, spicing them down and in effect putting them in stilettos and shoving them down the mealtime runway.
One of the few vegetables I've never had a great fondness for was green beans. Growing up, I always thought they should be called grey beans since that was their color every time they landed on my plate. Green, crispy, snappy beans were a thing I'd never experienced until I'd started preparing them for myself. But of course by then their reputation with me had been thoroughly ruined. Green beans? I could care less.
I 'd make an exception for Chinese long beans, since I hadn't had any bad childhood memories of them mainly because my mother had never heard of Chinese long beans.
So, when doing my vegetable shopping green beans are always the last ones picked for my dodge ball team. But, they were on sale at the farmers market and I'm a sucker for a bargain.
I brought my beans home and then once again the dilemma, how to make these things interesting. I searched my cookbooks, looking for a green bean recipe that appealed to me and wishing that I'd brought home some baby eggplant. Then I got an idea from Chandra Padmanabhan's wonderful book Dakshin Vegetarian Cuisine From South India.
I decided a Bean Poriyal was just the trick to make green beans work it for me once again. A poriyal is a dry curry, or rather a vegetable dish made without a sauce. It usually involves some sort of dal in smaller or larger amounts, and very often includes coconut. Dal, coconut, what's not to like?
So this is what I did, my adaptation of the recipe from Dakshin.
1.) 1 pound of green beans cut in little 1/2 inch pieces. This takes a bit of time but as my sister in law says..when chopping beans, "that's what sisters-in-law are for".
Set the beans aside.
2.) Heat 2 tsp of oil in a heavy deep skillet, or Karhai. When it is hot. Toss in
3.) 2 tsp of brown mustard seeds.
4.) 1 tsp of cumin seeds
5.) 1 tsp of channa dal
6.) 1 dried red chili cut in half
7.) 6 curry leaves

When the mustard seeds start to pop, toss in the green beans.
8.) Salt to taste
9.) 2 Tbs of water
10.) 1 cup of green peas (fresh or frozen)

Stir it all up, then cover the skillet and simmer until the beans are tender, about 15 minutes.
When the beans are cooked sprinkle and mix in
11.) 2 1/2 Tbs of grated dried or fresh coconut.

Serve this dish hot.

It's a great side dish, fresh, crunchy and spicy. It certainly made me like green beans again, and it may just do the same for you.


  1. Great way to use green beans! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Kathy, this recipe is gorgeous, and I am enraptured by your photos!

    Peas Love Carrots

  3. @ Peas Love Carrots, thanks your website is great. Love the recipes and your photos too.

  4. Haha, love the image of shoving vegetables down the runway!

  5. These beans are great. Over here, we know them as French beans, and I grow as many as possible duing the summer.

    The trick with these beans is to eat them really fresh (I'm lucky enought o be able to get beans on the table within half an hour in summer) and to barely cook them at all - a couple of minutes should be enough. If you beans are grey, they're overcooked.

    There are loads of Southern Indian recipes for green beans, and this one is a classic i'll most definitely be trying.

  6. Kathy I love greeen beans and I always look for vegetable recipes. This looks also perfect to reuse leftover beans



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