Green beans are a ubiquitous vegetable, found in a variety of Indian cuisines. However one gripe my family had with the way that beans are normally prepared in India is that they are either overcooked, over spiced or mixed with too many other things. My parents used to cook vegetables in a slightly unconventional way – very lightly spiced and cooked very lightly too. That really brought out the taste. Here is one such dish which is really quick and easy to make but a brilliant side for any meal.
You will need:
- One pack of french beans. I like to buy organic because I feel they do not have that slightly bitter after-taste.
- One tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 to 1 tsp chilli flakes or “kuti mirch” which can be obtained from Indian shops
- 1 tbsp cooking oil – you can use olive oil for this dish but corn oil or groundnut oil would be best
- salt to taste. I prefer using unrefined seasalt and with a dish this simple, the type of salt matters
Wash and trim the beans. Cut into one inch length pieces and set aside. In a wok or frying pan with a lid, heat up the oil until very hot (not smoking). Add the cumin seeds and let these sizzle for a minute or so until they turn brown. Now add the beans and stir around, keeping the heat on high. Add salt and stir. Turn the heat down and put a lid on for about a minute until you see steam escaping from the sides of the lid. Take the lid off, stir, cover and repeat for another minute. Remove a piece and see if it is cooked. It should be al dente – neither too mushy, nor undercooked and tough. If not cooked repeat the process until they are cooked. Then add the chilli flakes, stir for a few seconds until the flakes are spread evenly on the beans. Turn the heat off and put the lid on the beans for about 30 seconds. Serve.