South Indian cooks treat vegetables with respect. They lightly sauté them in a little oil using spicing that enhances rather than masks their flavor, as in this popular dish, which can also be made with green peppers, eggplant, squash, sweet potato, or okra.
- 1 pound green beans, cut into
- 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon each of urad dal, channa dal, mustard seed, and asafoetida
- 5 curry leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of coriander, chopped
- 2 tablespoons shredded coconut (fresh or dried nonsweetened flakes)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry the dals, mustard seed, asafoetida, and curry leaves for 1 minute, then add the beans and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well, and cook covered over low heat for 7-8 minutes until the beans are crisp-tender. Add a little water during cooking if the beans seem too dry. Mix in the coconut, coriander leaves, and lemon juice, and serve.
Colleen Taylor Sen is a freelance writer specializing in food and travel with a focus on India. Her articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and Travel and Leisure. She is a student at the Sivananda Yoga Center.