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.

Palya Ingredients

  • 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.

About the Teacher

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Colleen Taylor Sen
Colleen Taylor Sen is a freelance writer specializing in food and travel with a focus on India. Her articles... Read more