Retaining Enthusiasm for String Beans


A few weeks now into string bean season, it is important to retain enthusiasm for the vegetable. It occurred to me yesterday when I realized that I did not have any sweet potatoes on hand with which to make pakoras, that my copious quantities of string beans might suddenly come in very handy. The fried string bean pakoras were truly delicious….they melt in your mouth encased in the gently spicy chickpea batter of the pakora….I pretty much use Madhur Jaffrey for all my Indian cooking recipes….so here is the recipe. It is shockingly easy; the only real challenge would be to initially obtain the chickpea flour and cumin seeds if you are not accustomed to having that on hand. You can buy it in health food sections of better grocery stores, or better yet, at your local Indian grocers….

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp whole ajwain seeds or whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl. Add all the other spices for the batter. Very slowly and gradually, pour in 1 1/4 cups water, beating with a fork as you do so. You should have a smooth batter.

All you need now is vegetable oil for deep frying and the assortment of vegetables prepared for frying…green beans with ends removed, potatoes peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds, cauliflower florets, hot Italian peppers…etc.

Heat the oil till a drop of water sizzles in it, or temp of oil is 350-375F. Fry coated items slowly about 7 minutes on each side….When the outside is golden brown and crisp, remove fritters with slotted spoon and leave to drain on mesh rack or paper towels.

Serve with tamarind chutney, mint chutney, etc.

If this culinary idea doesn’t float your boat, try:

Greene beans with garlic and Ginger
1 lb green beans (or however many you have to use!)
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsps tamari
1/4 cup of water
minced hot red pepper (I use dried whole cayenne peppers…)
Steam the beans for 5 minutes and then plunge into cold water. Mix the last 6 ingredients in a small cup.
heat the veg oil in a cast iron pan or other frying pan. When hot, put in garlic and ginger, stir for 30 seconds. Add beans, Stir for a minute or so. Now add the cup of liquid and mix to incorporate all ingredients with the beans. Cook for about 5-8 minutes…covering if mixture starts to dry out at all. You should have a bit of thickened brown sauce clinging to the beans in the end. This is also super delicious, but less of a fussy child pleaser.

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