Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jeena’s Indian Stewed Green Beans and Tomatoes

I am totally into Indian food and feel fortunate to have my first experience of it with my very good friend Jeena.  She is from Kerala, which is known as "God's Own Country". From what I hear from many friends who have visited, there is truth to this saying. It is full of lush greenery, nature, waterfalls, canals, beaches. Ayurvedic medicine and massages are popular in this area, which fits well since it is a traditional method to restore balance in one's body. 

So...since this is a cooking blog and not Lonely Planet, here is a wonderful dish by Jeena. You can find similar recipes, but this is her own specialty, pulled from her roots. You can pair this with so many things. I think I'm going to make this along with Japanese curry, one of my winter staples. 

Set aside the following spices, together into a small ramekin or dish:
1 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cumin seeds (use mortar and pestle to grind into a rough powder)

2 tbsp canola oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
1 inch piece of grated or finely minced fresh ginger
2-3 tbsp diced red onion
10 fresh curry leaves, crush them in your hands to release flavors
4 cloves  garlic, crushed&chopped
about 50 green beans, cut into inch pieces
20 grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
½ tsp salt (add more or less, according to taste)

1.Heat the oil on high just until it starts to smoke and add mustard seeds and then turn the heat to medium.
2. After the mustard seeds stop sputtering, sauté the ginger, onions and curry leaves.
3. When you see the onions soften, add the garlic and sauté for a minute (make sure not to brown the garlic).
4. Add the coriander, turmeric and cumin and mix for about a minute, just to release the flavors (make sure the spices don’t brown or burn).
5. Add the green beans, tomatoes and stir for a couple of minute, blending everything together. Turn the heat back up to high.
6. Lastly, add 1 cup of water and salt. Mash the tomatoes to release its flesh and boil for about 10 minutes.

Reduce the thickness of the gravy to your liking, making sure the beans don’t get mushy. Enjoy!

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