18 August 2006
Great-Tasting Green Beans
If you like Indian food at all, or want a new way to prepare green beans, try this recipe. I’ve been making it every other week since green beans came into season at our CSA. Like many of my favorites, it’s from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian (read a book review at Epicurious). Serve it with rice and/or naan, and curry or an Indian lentil or chickpea dish (or some “indian food from a box” or can, such as available at Trader Joe’s if you’re pressed for time), and you’re golden. It reheats well.
Another nice addition to the meal is “speedy raita” – peel, deseed, and chop a cucumber. Toss with plain unsweetened yogurt, a teaspoon of mustard seeds, some cumin (up to 1 tsp), and some cayenne if you want the heat.
The action is fast and furious at the beginning, so have everything (or at least everything up to tomato and cilantro) in place before you begin cooking. Once the prep work is done, it takes about 15 minutes to cook.
Green Beans with Cumin and Fennel
2 to 3 Tab peanut or canola oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds (i’ve been using anise seeds)
2 good-sized shallots or 1 small onion (about 1.5 oz), peeled and cut into fine slices
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut into fine slices
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into very fine slivers
1 lb green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 small tomato (2 oz), chopped
3 Tab finely chopped fresh cilantro (I’ve never had any on hand!)
Put the oil in a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the cumin and fennel seeds and stir for a few seconds. Quickly add the shallots, garlic, and ginger (I mix these in one bowl ahead of time). Stir for about a minute, or until lightly browned. Add the beans and stir another 2 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne (again, I mix these in a small bowl ahead of time) and stir a few times. Add 1/2 cup of water and the salt and bring to a simmer. Stir and cover. Turn the heat to low and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cilantro. Stir, cover, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the beans are tender.