A match made in India – French beans cooked with Indian spices

French beans in a spicy masala

At the end of the recipe you will find some interesting gyann that I have pulled out from the net which explains how french beans got their name. In any case, this vegetable when married to Indian spices brings east and west together in a perfect match. Today I have provided you with a second meat masala recipe that I used for this dish. Thanks Cora for the recipe for this meat masala. 

French beans – 400 grams
Onions – 2 large
Tomatoes – one
Curry leaves – four sprigs
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Meat Masala – one tablespoon
ginger and garlic paste – 1 1/2 teaspoon
Coconut grated – one handful
Fresh coriander – A few sprigs
Mustard oil

For the meat masala (Cora’s Recipe)- You can bottle and store

2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons fennel
3 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons kasuri methi
2 bay leaves
2 nos.  Javatri (mace)
3 star anise
5 one inch pieces cinnamon
2 tablespoons pepper corns
1 tablespoon cloves
50 grams Kashmiri chillies
50 grams  Beydgi chillies.

Roast the above separately on a hot pan beginning with the biggest ingredients. Cool and powder in a grinder. Mix in 1 tablespoon haldi powder.

Method for the dish

String and cut the french beans very finely. In a pot heat the mustard oil and add the mustard. Allow this to crackle. When done add the curry leaves and fry this for a minute. now add the onions. Make sure the onions are very finely cut. You don’t want the onions to look larger than the cut beans. When the onions are translucent add the tomatoes and cook this for two minutes.

Now add the one tablespoon of Cora’s meat masala (which can be used for any meat or vegetarian dishes) along with the ginger and garlic paste. Cook this for a minute and add quarter cup of water. Allow this mixture to cook for about four minutes on a low flame till the water has all been absorbed but the masala must be very moist. Add the salt and the french beans and stir this well till the masala coats the french beans. 

Cover the dish with a lid and allow this to cook on low heat for the next ten minutes stirring the mixture only once during this process. After ten minutes add the chopped coriander leaves and a handful of freshly grated coconut.  

What are French beans?

These beans are the unripe fruits of any kind of beans, the pods of which are also called string beans. Their botanical name is phaseolus vulgaris. Around four inches in length, they are  slightly pointed at both ends. They are green in colour with tiny seeds held within their pods.

Their history

They are thought to have originated in South and Central America where their cultivation was started around 7000 years ago. When Christopher Columbus returned from his second voyage to the New World around the year 1493, he brought the French beans to the Mediterranean region. At that time French beans were considered rare and therefore expensive but very soon became one of the most commonly used beans. They were introduced to France in the year 1597 by the Conquistadors.

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