French beans – light, crisp and not cooked to death
Most vegetables are overcooked in Indian households. This explains the aversion of many non vegetarian households towards vegetarian food. This dish of french beans has a few ingredients, not even the ‘mandatory’ ginger and garlic paste. French beans are sweet and have a nice buttery taste. You can even sauté them in a pan with salt, pepper and garlic and it makes a great accompaniment to dish.
For this dish, take the trouble to cut your french beans well. String them from the sides and with a sharp knife cut them diagonally. Vegetables look appealing when cut well.
French beans – 250 grams
Onions – two large, sliced
Tomatoes- two large chopped fine
Curry leaves – two sprigs
Green chillies – four, chopped
Mustard seeds – half teaspoon
Pepper powder – 3/4 teaspoon coarsely crushed
Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
In a pot heat some oil, roughly about four table spoons. Add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Now add the curry leaves and green chillies and stir fry this for half a minute. Add the onions to this mixture giving it all a good mix. Allow the onions to fry till they are translucent. Now add the tomatoes and continue the cooking process for another minute. At this stage add the salt, turmeric and pepper powder. Stir well and constantly as the mixture tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add the cut french beans and give this mixture a good stir ensuring they masala mixture has evenly been distributed among the French beans . At this stage drop the heat and cover the dish. Allow this to cook for one minute (look at your watch). Now remove the lid and stir the vegetable again and cover and leave for one minute to cook. Do this for the third time. In all you need to cook this for three minutes only if you use 250 grams of french beans. Turn off the gas and leave the lid on. The vegetables continue to cook in the heat that has already been generated in the pot. Serve within five minutes of cooking and avoid reheating this dish. The vegetable must be crunchy to the bite and not soggy.
Some soggy vegetable eaters may consider these preparations a ‘bit raw’. I guess they have got used to their vegetables being brutalized to a mash over the years. The more you over cook your vegetable the less nutritious you leave them and drain off it’s flavour.
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Fr Warner D’Souza