Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Have you bean here?

Flat beans in an Indian flavoured white sauce

Just when you think you have cooked a dish or vegetable in all possible combinations and styles, or just when you feel a dish can't be cooked in any other way, a light bulb moment, triggered by an inspiration or memory illuminates new possibilities!

And sometimes the ingredient or condiment itself finds its own recipe!

The other day, while making a beans poriyal with the not very commonly found flat beans, the-out -of-this -world aroma of flat beans cooking sent me on this spree and made this rather iconoclastic bhaji that mother used to make. Second day in row eating beans, but this one is unusual.

Yes, it’s beans in a white sauce, but of an Indian kind!

A beauty of a bhaji, best with breads, it looks unusual and tastes interesting! The saucy smooth texture of the sauce provides a great contract to the crispy tenderness of the beans, while the soothing milky flavour is spiced up by the spices. What more, it is absolutely low fat!

The flat beans I used are Italian flat beans, quite different in taste and texture to green beans.


2 cups flat beans, ends chopped and cut into 1 inch pieces (tender beans shouldn’t have strings)

1-2 green chillies

2 cups low fat milk

2 tsp corn flour, mixed into a paste with 4 tbsp milk

1 tsp oil or ghee or butter

A pinch of shah jeera

1-2 cloves

1 bay leaf

2 inch piece of cinnamon or cassia

A few seeds of black cardamom

Salt and black/white pepper to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A handful of fried/roasted cashews for garnishing 


Microwave the cut beans till done or cook till tender with some water on stove top. In a pan, heat the oil/ghee and then the spices and the green chillies. Once the spices are lightly fried introduce the beans. Stir them to coat them with the spices and then add the milk. Allow the milk to come to a rolling boil. Then add the cornflour paste while stirring continuously. Once it cooks like custard, add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with cashews.

Serve hot with phulkas, rotis or garlic bread.

Doll it up with some butter and cheese if you want to serve it at a party!

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