I don’t know if there are the Fortex pole beans or the Maxibel French filet beans. I suspect they are a mix. I can’t tell because the vines are so thick the leaves obscure the labels. Plus, I was too busy picking beans to bother looking. Regardless of their official name, these are the first crop of beans from my section of The Family Plot. Back in May, I planted them with one recipe in mind. Today I got to make it.
A few months ago, Monica Bhide made me a variation of her Green Beans Subzi, a spicy vegetable dish with lots of flavour and crunch. She strayed from the version in her cookbook Modern Spice, and added coconut chips for extra crunch because she knows I like texture. Since that meal, I have searched for coconut chips and come up empty handed. Unable to locate this ingredient, I substituted extra large coconut flakes. They aren’t exactly the same, but I’m not about to complain.
Coconut chips weren’t the only ingredient to challenge me. I was so focused on the beans I didn’t realize I had no red chile powder or baby potatoes on hand until I was standing at the stove, beans in hand. Never mind. Monica describes this dish as “very versatile,” so I tested her claim. The results are a potato-free variation of the dish. With fresh beans. Straight from my garden.
My only regret? Monica couldn’t be here to taste how good her recipe is with homegrown beans. On the other hand, I didn’t have to share them with anyone other than Andrew — if he behaves.
Got so many beans Jack and the Giant would tremble? Try this.
What do you do with your green beans?
Indian Green Beans
This recipe is a adapted from Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen by Monica Bhide (Simon & Schuster ©2009.)
- 2 tbsp oil (I used camelina, but canola or grapeseed work well too)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 pound fresh green beans
- 1/2 cup coconut, large flakes
- water, as needed
In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add the garlic and tomatoes. Stir and cook until the tomatoes start to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the turmeric, chile powder, red pepper flakes, coriander and green beans. Toss to mix well. Add about 1 or 2 tablespoons water. Cover, reduce heat and cook over medium low for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the green beans are cooked to your liking.
Add the coconut flakes. Stir well to distribute. Taste the beans, adding salt as needed. Serve immediately.