French Beans with Coconut

Vegetables, beans, French, blanched, with coconut 1 Vegetables, beans, French, blanched, with coconut 2

FRENCH BEANS WITH COCONUT (for four)

1 pound French beans, washed and drained, ends snapped off

½ cup unsweetened coconut (1-1/2 ounces), finely grated

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

1-1/2 inch dried, hot, red chile, seeded and crumbled (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

1 Turkish or California bay leaf

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Drop the beans into rapidly boiling, salted water. Cover briefly, to bring the water quickly back to a boil, then immediately remove the cover. Boil uncovered until the beans are just cooked through but retain a slight crunch of texture –4 to 5 minutes. Test by eating several. Drain the beans immediately when they are done and run them under cold water or plunge into a basin filled with ice cubes and water. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Stir together coconut and water in a small bowl. Let soak at room temperature until water is absorbed, about 1 hour.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add black mustard seeds, chile and bay leaf and sauté, stirring, until mustard seeds make popping sounds, about 1 minute. Add beans and stir to coat with oil. Add coconut mixture and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

a recipe from southern India printed in Gourmet Magazine, January, 2006

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