Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Green Beans and Bell Pepper Subzi

In an effort to eat healthy and not tear out my hair in the decision making process on a hectic weekday, my husband and I have come up with a technique that we have begun implementing from last week. It remains to be seen if it will be effective enough to continue.
Every weekend, we go through the refrigerator and pantry shelves, check what is available and then make a list of what we would like to have for lunch and dinner, for every day of the coming week. Grocery shopping also becomes easier and less impulsive when I know exactly what I need to shop for. Evenings are less stressful too since I already know what I need to do to get dinner on the table in time. If possible, I try and do the prep work beforehand, like chopping vegetables or boiling dals and lentils.
My recent trip into the Sprouts Farmer's market had me coming back with a big bunch of fresh green beans and luscious red bell peppers or capsicums as they are known in India. I decided to pair it up with whole wheat chapaties for this evening's dinner.
Fresh green beans usually needs to be cooked for some time to get it tender enough to absorb all the flavourings. earlier, I used to prepare the seasonings, add the fresh beans , sufficient water, spices and just cook it till tender. But this time I decided to use as less water as possible. I decided to steam the beans instead of boiling and I liked the result !
Try for yourselves -


Big bunch of fresh green beans
(I don't know what quantity it was, but it was enough to make 8-10 servings!)
1 medium sized bell pepper (any colour, I used red), finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seed powder
1 tsp cumin seed powder
1 tsp garam masala (or any other masala of choice)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper / paprika
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
pinch of sugar
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander/ cilantro leaves
2 tbsp peanuts, powdered


1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
generous pinch of asafoetida
2 -3 curry leaves (optional, but really enhances the taste)


Steam the fresh green beans in a double boiler. If you don't have one, improvise ! That's what I did..Brought a pot of water to boil. Put the chopped beans into the steamer plate that is included with any rice cooker. Placed the plate over the pot of boiling water and covered the plate. Steamed for about 15 minutes.

1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and roast until the mustard seeds start popping.
2. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves and saute for some more time.
3. Add the coriander and cumin seed powders, cayenne pepper, salt and sugar and mix well.
4. Add the chopped bell pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until the pepper starts getting tender.
5. Add the steamed green beans and mix well so that the spices coat the vegetable pieces well.
6. Add the garam masala and the peanuts and about a quarter cup of water.
7. Mix well, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes.
8. Take off from stove, add in the lemon juice, mix well and serve hot with chapaties, tortillas or as a side dish with rice !

This subzi also makes a wonderful sandwich or wrap filling.

The steaming retained the colour of the beans better than boiling. I liked that the beans were tender yet a little crunchy. The flavour from the spices was not overwhelming and complemented the beans quite nicely !
This subzi is sure to be seen on my cooking list often.

What methods do you employ to have a worry free week day ?

1 comment:

  1. interesting combo.
    and loved the improved steamer.. me does the same :D


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