An easy recipe that impresses everybody! The green beans go through a quick blanch, which can be done a day ahead of time, then all that’s left to do is sauté the garlic and spices and add the beans. The beans are ready in minutes.
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed, sliced on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or ghee
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced into matchsticks
1 tbsp. whole black or brown mustard seed
1 tsp. salt
Pinch crushed red chiles
To blanch the beans, set a large pot with plenty of water in it on the stove to boil. (The reason you need lots of water is that the green beans will cool the boiling water when they are added and you want the water to come back to a boil as rapidly as possible.)
When the water has come to a boil, drop the beans into the pot and set the timer for 3 minutes. Check to see if the beans are done; if they are not done, leave them in the boiling water for another minute. The beans should be crisp-tender, just how you want to eat them, because they won’t be cooked much further beyond this.
While the beans are cooking, fill a bowl with very cold water, maybe add a couple of ice cubes if your tap water isn’t that cold.
As soon as the beans are done, drain them and dump them into your bowl of cold water so they will cool down quickly. Drain the beans again and leave them in the strainer to dry out, or roll them in a dishtowel to dry thoroughly. This can be done up to a day ahead of time.
To finish the beans, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil or ghee. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and quickly stir. As soon as the garlic colors, add the mustard seeds. They will begin to pop almost immediately. Once they start popping, get those green beans in the pan so you don’t have mustard seeds all over your kitchen! Add the salt and pinch of red chiles and continue to stir-fry until completely warmed through.
Notes and Instructions
Recipe contribution from Linda McElroy, adapted from: “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking”
Photo credit: Linda McElroy