Yard Long Beans and Tomato simmered with Curry leaves, Fenugreek, Chile and Jaggery!
Today's traditional Indian vegetarian Yard Long Beans recipe is a good choice for those that seek flavors that do not come from a container of Yellow Curry Powder that is purchased at an average grocery store. All too often, western world recipes for Indian food are oversimplified and all that is called for when flavoring a recipe is generic Curry Powder. National brands of Curry Powder yield middle of the road flavors that really are not correct for every Indian recipe.
To really make great Indian food, it is better to become familiar with the traditional spices of India. Chefs in India literally have 30 to 60 bowls of different spices sitting at a cooking station and they know exactly how much and which combinations of spices to use when making specific recipes. Indian chefs also know when to add certain spices during the cooking process. This may sound complicated, but just by taking an interest in authentic Indian cuisine the learning process begins.
Part of the Indian cuisine learning process is the understanding of how spices have a medicinal effect and certain combinations of Indian spices can improve health. What this all means is that a cook that is interested in Indian cuisine literally will have plenty of research to do, but the benefit is that there will be plenty of good tasting healthy food to eat!
All of the ingredients in today's recipe can be found at an Indian food market. Yard Long Beans can also be found in Asian food markets. Yard Long Beans are in the Cowpea family and they have a rich tasty green bean flavor. Curry Leaves are best when fresh. Curry leaves are fried in oil till they become crisp for the start of many recipes that require masala spice mixtures.
Jaggery is not raw sugar and it is not piloncillo. Jaggery is not processed in a centrifuge to separate the molasses and impurities from the raw sugar. Jaggery is concentrated cooked solid raw sugar that contains 50% sucrose and the rest is comprised of water, invert sugar, protein, ash and sugar cane fiber. Jaggery can be found at Indian food markets. If no Jaggery is available, then substitute Piloncillo or light brown sugar. The flavor of those two sugars are close to jaggery, but not quite as rich tasting.
Barbati Tomato Kura:
This recipe yields 1 large portion. (About 2 1/4 cups.)
Himalayan Black Salt has a pink or orange color when dry. When added to water, the brine will have a gray color. Himalayan Black Salt has a high mineral and sulphur content that adds a nice flavor to this recipe! Use sea salt if none is available.
Step 1: Heat a wide sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
Add 15 small fresh Curry Leaves.
Sauté till the curry leaves are crisp.
Step 2: Add 4 crushed garlic cloves.
Add 1 chopped Red Thai Chile pepper. (To taste. These are peppers are spicy hot!)
Sauté till the garlic starts to become a light golden color.
Step 3: Add 1/4 cup of coarse chopped white onion.
Add 2 tablespoons of coarse chopped green or red bell pepper.
Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
Step 4: Add 1/2 cup of small chopped tomato.
Saute till the tomato starts to become tender.
Step 5: Add 2 cups of yard long beans that are cut into 2" long pieces.
Sauté and stir till the long beans start to cook.
Step 6: Add 2 cups of water.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Jaggery. (Substitute light brown sugar or piloncillo if none is available.)
Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground fenugreek. (ground methi)
Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
Add 1 pinch of black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper. (chile caribe)
Add 2 to 3 pinches of Himalayan Black Salt.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
Step 7: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the yard long beans are tender. Stir occasionally. (The finished volume of the sauce should be 1/2 cup.)
Step 8: Add 1/4 cup of coarse chopped fresh cilantro just before serving.
Step 9: Remove the pot from the heat.
Mound the Barbati Tomato Kura in a shallow serving dish.
Serve with and Indian bread of your choice and Steamed Basmati Rice on the side.
The flavor? Sweet, spicy hot with a complex fenugreek maple flavor and a roasted peanut flavor from the fried curry leaves! This is a great tasting Indian long bean entrée that can be served as a side dish.