There’s only one vegetable that my family commonly avoids and dislikes and that is French beans or haricot beans. Without any offence meant to either the vegetable or to any person, (after all it is quite a pretty, vibrant green & hugely nutritious vegetable), it’s just that we usually have an overdose of it in South India wherein it is hugely popular & prepared in almost every home at least twice a week (if not daily) and more so, as a specialty to guests visiting your home.
As if in reaction to that, we rarely cook the veggie in our home & when we do, it is usually one of these two absolutely interesting preparations wherein the beans are cooked in a way so as to retain their crunch & freshness, their vibrant colour, flavour as well as nutrition.
A common error we make with vegetables is overcooking them either with covering it for too long or cooking them with too much water, such that they discolour, look & taste extremely unappetizing & most importantly, lose most of their nutrients in the process.
A good way to cook beans is to chop them & drop them directly into boiling hot water for 2 minutes without a lid, such that they look totally fresh crunchy & a wicked mean green! You could also add a teaspoon of sugar to the boiling water to help them retain their colour.
So here are two mild recipes of beans for every day cooking, both slightly different in their treatment, their style, spices used and overall flavour. Great as side dishes with other main meat or lentil curries. Do let me know which one your family enjoyed & don’t forget to keep sharing your food pictures with me. I so look forward to making my next Gratitude video with them!
Recipe for Mean Green Crunchy Beans with Spinach Yoghurt
Crunchy Beans Ingredients (Serves 2 – 4 Persons)
- 250 gms tender french beans/green haricot beans
- 2 teaspoons oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon split udad dal (also known as black gram dal-that’s white in colour)
- 1 green chilli, slit
- 2 tablespoons coconut, grated (optional)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon jaggery
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Wash the beans thoroughly & after trimming off the ends, chop them fine.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds & allow to crackle.
- Add the udad dal & stir. As soon as it becomes yellowish, add the green chilli & stir till it splutters.
- Add the beans, salt, jaggery & ¼ cup of water & sauté to combine.
- Cook on a medium flame with a lid for just 2-3 minutes & let it cook until just tender & bright green.
- Switch off the flame & add the chopped onion & coconut gratings & mix well allowing it to cook in its own steam.
- Pour into a dish & serve cold after adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Your crunchy mean vibrant green beans are ready.
Spinach Yoghurt Ingredients
- 200 gms fresh spinach leaves, washed well
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon sugar for blanching
- 200 gms plain yoghurt/dahi/curd
- Salt to taste
- Follow the procedure for blanching of the spinach leaves as given in the recipe for spinach soup.
- Immediately dunk the blanched leaves in cold drinking water & drain few minutes.
- Puree the spinach leaves well in the blender without any extra water& add to a bowl of plain yoghurt.
- Season with salt & cumin powder, adding pepper powder for some spice if you wish.
- Simple healthy spinach yoghurt works as a great side to go with spicy meat dishes, if you have no dairy related issues.
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