A delicious accompaniment to almost any Indian meal, this Kerala classic can be prepared with French beans, stringless beans, the oriental asparagus bean known as lobhia, or in fact almost any kind of firm vegetable cut into small pieces. Adjust the amount of chili to your personal preference. The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, but this can be easily cut down. Use coconut oil, if you wish, to be authentic. For your convenience, this dish can be cooked ahead, and heated gently at the time of serving. Adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey.
- 1 lb green beans
- 1 shallot, about 1 oz in weight (note, not scallion)
- 1 -2 fresh hot green chili pepper, cut into 2 to 3 pieces each,and de-seeded for less heat if desired
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut (3 oz) or 2 ounces unsweetened coconut, barely covered with warm water and left to sit for an hour
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 -3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons uncooked white rice
- 10 -12 fresh curry leaves (preferably) or 10 -12 dried curry leaves
- 1 whole dried hot red chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- Wash, string beans if necessary, make several bundles (for convenience) and slice them crosswise into 1/4-inch segments.
- Coarsely grind the shallots, green chilies, garlic, coconut, cumin and turmeric in a food processor or blender, and set to one side.
- Place the oil in a wok or large skillet, which has a lid, and heat over a medium-high flame.
- Add the mustard seeds and rice, and stir and saute for a few seconds until the mustard seeds begin to pop and splutter and the rice swells and turns golden.
- Add the curry leaves and red chili, and after a few more seconds, when the chilli swells and darkens, add the green beans.
- Continue to stir and fry for 2-3 minutes, then roughly pile them into a mound in the cooking vessel.
- Form a hole in the center of the mound and place within it the coarsely ground spices.
- Now cover over the spices with some of the beans, season with salt, and add the water to the pan.
- Immediately cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook approximately 10 minutes until the beans are tender.
- Mix all the ingredients together well, and serve hot.