I once passed off – successfully so – this very Indian subzi as a salad.
Either way, it is really fresh and light and just great to eat in the summer. And while it does take some time to dice the beans, the cooking part is so easy that it makes up for the longer prep time.
I love to eat it with sambhar and rice, or with phulkas and yoghurt. Or just mixed in to plain, hot rice, as Indira likes it too.
The recipe here is based on my memory of eating it in the homes of Tamilian friends and of watching one of them cook a similar dish once with very finely sliced cabbage. I believe vegetables cooked in this way are called poriyals.
Green Beans with Coconut
400 grams of fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed and diced quite small
1-2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
salt to taste
1 large dry red chili, broken in to two parts (optional though this spice adds a great flavor)
a pinch of asofetida (optional)
1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 a teaspoon of coriander powder
2-4 tablespoons of fresh, grated coconut
2 tablespoons of chana (yellow split peas or black gram) dal though this too is optional
In a frying pan, heat the oil to a moderate temperature, then add the asofetida and the mustard seeds and fry till the seeds start to crackle and pop. Add the curry leaves and the red chili and fry for a few seconds. Now add the beans and mix well with the other ingredients. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes, turning over the beans a couple of times, then add 1/4 of a cup of water -maybe a little less, maybe a little more, depending on how fresh and soft or tough the beans are – and salt. Cover the pan and cook the beans on a moderate heat till they are tender. Towards the end, mix in the coriander powder. Just before you take the pan off the burner, add the grated coconut and mix well.
When I am using dal, I soaked it for about an hour or two (I forgot to soak it today so decided to skip it) then drain it thoroughly. I add it after the curry leaves, and fry it till it turns a very light brown color and acquires quite a soft but still crunchy texture. After this, it cooks with the beans and is soft enough to eat by the time the beans are done.
This is another tout simple dish to make . And if you don’t count the coconut you could always use less, though along with the chana dal it is really what makes this dish the treat that it is – it has fairly little oil which is a plus too.