GUJERTI SEM (French beans with Indian spices, for four)
1 pound French beans, washed and drained, ends snapped off
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 dried, hot, red chile, crushed (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 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.
- Put vegetable oil in a large frying pan and set it over medium heat. When hot, put in black mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds begin to pop, put in garlic. Stir the garlic pieces around until they turn light brown. Put in chili and stir for a few seconds. Put in the green beans, salt and sugar. Stir to mix. Turn the heat to medium. Stir and cook the beans just until they are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add black pepper to taste, mix and serve.
adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking