This is a quick side dish which you can serve with Indian food or alongside simple grilled fish & meats. I prepare vegetables in this way quite often as I love the flavours & I am trying to eat more healthy fats such as coconut oil. I haven’t added chilli as there is lots of black pepper for heat.
You don’t have to use beans I serve lots of vegetables like this – cabbage, carrots, courgette, okra (no need to blanch just add straight to the oil & stir fry for longer), sweet potatoes, aubergine, spring onions and even leeks. The tempered oil becomes really aromatic but does not overwhelm the taste of the vegetable. Since I came back from India I have hardly made any Northern dishes as the southern flavours have become my favourite. The food is lighter but still really tasty.
If you do not have all the spices just play around with different flavours. I often use Fenugreek, chilli, coriander seeds and nigella instead of or in addition to the ones in the recipe. I think the two things which give this the distinct taste of southern India are the fresh curry leaves and mustard seeds so I highly recommend that you include those.
South Indian Style Green Beans
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)
250g green beans (use runner, string, French, it doesn’t matter)
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 large cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1-2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tsp freshly roasted & crushed black pepper
Get your spices out & ready & slice the garlic before staring to heat the oil as once it is hot everything needs to happen very quickly so that the spices do not burn. This is a simple Indian technique of tempering spices in oil to flavour it. If you have never done it before I suggest watching a youtube video to get the process in your head before starting. The oil needs to be really hot so the the spices cook but if you burn them they become acrid. I always have a little water on hand to add a splash if the spices start to burn.
2. Heat 1tbsp coconut oil until very hot & shimmering. Add the mustard seeds & asafoetida, they should start to splutter immediately. Add the cumin.
3. About 10-15 seconds later add the garlic & stir around to prevent burning. As the garlic begins to brown add the curry leaves & black pepper. If the spices start to burn add a tiny splash of water.
4. Once the curry leaves have spluttered in the oil for about 15 seconds take the pan off the heat. Add the beans, another tablespoon of coconut oil (optional) & salt to season. Toss the beans in the flavoured oil until they are warm, the residual heat in the pan should be enough to get them hot. If not return it to a lower heat for a moment until the beans are hot.