Nutty Green Beans

If you throw peanuts, you will get monkeys!

Now, that is my version of the famous idiom. Except that mine is far more literal than profound.

I am famous for taking shortcuts wherever I can, except when I drive. Then I take the longest and safest route, sometimes even the wrong route. But never mind that. Peanuts find their place in everyday cooking in my home. I toss them in salads (gajjarachi koshimbir), in dals, in veggies. Some might say that I am smart and that I do it for the additional protein but the real reason is that we just like peanuts a lot! The added benefit is a bonus!

One such shortcut is dry-roasting of peanuts in the microwave. I put them on a large plate in a single layer and zap them for one minute. I let them cool a bit and then zap them again for another minute. I skin the peanuts once they have cooled completely. Well, I used to. Now, that the monkeys in the family smell the peanuts cooking, they arrive automagically in the kitchen; one perches on the stool to get a good vantage point, the other fills a glass of red wine in anticipation. They then address the peanuts and skin them for me. The first time I was very elated that I had voluntary help. But that soon turned to dismay when I realized that I was left with only a third of what I needed. For every peanut that was skinned and left for me, two were tucked away into the cheeks of the monkeys. So now I make three times as much as I need and everyone is happy!

Last week, I was at it again. By force of habit, I cooked three times as many. But only one monkey showed up. I substituted for the missing primate and we skinned the peanuts in silence, missing him. Me, even more, at the thought of the growing piles of snow and how I would have to go out to shovel again.

"What if he doesn't come back, Mumma?"

She has been a near wreck since he left on New Year's Day. Every evening we suffer through: Are the doors locked? What was that sound? Did you shut the garage? Is that gas I smell? It's almost like I don't count when it comes to physical security! I'm quite used to this and I make sure she feels safe, especially after dark. But this latest question took me by complete surprise.

"He loves us very much. We are his family and his home. He will come back. He told you a little while ago how much he misses you, so what makes you think he may not come back?"

After much shifting from one foot to another, she said: "Remember Mohan from Swades? He didn't come back. What if Daddy does not come back either?"

Ah! One more reason to hate SRK!

I held her close and explained the difference between Mohan in the movie and her beloved Daddy. Yes, he loves his India and has many ideas in his head about what he can do to give back; and, yes, we have strong family ties there, but no matter what happens, we are an integral part of him and he will be back soon. She sensed that I spoke from the heart with a lot of conviction and soon went back to filling her cheeks with peanuts. And after exchanging some more wonderful cuddly body-warmth, I went back to cooking my Nutty Green Beans, her favorite veggie dish for the moment.

Nutty Green Beans


This is a very quick and easy way to make beans. I prefer to use fresh beans but when fewer trucks come in with limited fresh produce, I use frozen beans. Chopped green beans always taste the best but when you’re in a rush, like I always am, french-cut beans seem better as they cook faster.


I use a very Maharashtrian masala in these beans called Kanda Lassun Masala (Onion Garlic masala), which evokes all the pleasant memories of Bombay. It's available in the Indian grocery stores from brands like Pravin Masalewale, Ke-Pra and recently, Ethnic Kitchens. I have a bias for the Ethnic Kitchens brand.


Lee, this post and recipe is especially for you!

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch asafetida
  • ¼ cup raw peanuts
  • 3-4 tsp Kanda Lassun masala (use less for less spicy)
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. Dry roast the peanuts in the microwave as I do or in the oven or on a saucepan till cooked.
  2. Pound these into a coarse powder using your mortar and pestle.
  3. Heat oil in a kadhai on medium heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds and when they pop and crackle, add asafetida.
  5. Add the coarsely ground peanuts. The oil will start bubbling at this point. Don't worry, just stir it till it settles down.
  6. Add the beans and stir.
  7. Add the Kanda Lassun Masala and very little sea salt. Kanda Lassun Masala usually has salt, so it's better to go easy on the sea salt as it can be added later.
  8. Turn the heat to high and stir-fry for a few minutes, making sure that every bean gets a nice coating of the spices.
  9. Turn the heat down and let the beans cook some more but don’t overcook them. They should have some crunch to them.
  10. Since these beans use more oil than I would like to use, I drain as much oil as possible by placing the kadhai at an angle on the stovetop and collecting the beans to one side. Use a paper-towel to absorb all the excess oil.

    If you're comfortable with the amount of oil in the dish, you can skip this step. It's just something I do.
  11. Add a dash of lemon juice, garnish with some chopped cilantro if you have on hand and serve hot with rotis.


Some tips:
  • Avoid using Planters peanuts or any other ready-to-eat peanuts in Indian cooking. They are usually salted and also have an odor that takes away from the intrinsic flavors of the dish.
  • You could use your spice grinder / blender / food processor to powder the peanuts. Ensure that you do not make a fine powder. These beans need a coarse powder with some large pieces of peanuts; it makes the texture of this dish more interesting.
  • French cut beans cook faster. Chopped beans taste better! Take your pick.
  • To make it kid-friendly, I usually add 2 tsp of Kanda Lassun Masala instead of 3-4 tsp. I finish cooking the beans and take some out for Medha in a small bowl and then add a couple more teaspoons of the masala to give it that zing that we like so much!
  • I also use a lot of lemon juice as it balances the heat of the Kanda Lassun Masala very well!
  • If you don't have Kanda Lassun Masala, you could use 1 large clove of finely chopped garlic and 2-3 tsp of any garam masala you have on hand. If your garam masala is mild, you could add some red chilli powder to up the heat.
  • Kanda Lassun Masala from Ethnic Kitchens has the following ingredients: dried red chilli, onion, coriander, garlic, ginger, edible oil, turmeric and salt.


Try it and let me know if you enjoy it as much as we do!

To everyone who asked about us through these last couple of storms: Thank you! We are fine! Before he left for India, my husband got up on a very icy roof and wrapped tarp around the defunct chimney that had snow blown into it. It was awful watching him do that! But that fixed the problem of the leaky roof. Since then, Louisville has picked up between 10-11 inches in the first week of January itself. There was a ground blizzard soon thereafter due to high winds. It was very difficult to walk even a few yards in that storm and the snow that was flung in our faces really hurt. The fourth storm which started this past Thursday hasn't brought much precipitation but it has been really really cold. It was 0F with windchills in the teens below when I dropped Medha off at school on Friday morning. It has warmed up considerably and we are currently at 18F with another inch of snow on the ground. We are very lucky to be in a neighborhood where we can rely on our neighbors for help at any time of the day or night! I make sure I have enough food to last us a while and that the cars are fuelled up, too. It helps to have a gas stove and a water heater that has no electrical connections. So when there is a power outage, I can still cook and have warm water. Having a gas furnace doesn't help much as an electric motor pushes the hot air through the ducts - that's when I miss having a fireplace!

To those of you in the states affected by the ice storm: Keep candles, matches, and flashlights handy. Make sure your blankets and warm clothes are easily accessible. Dress in layers and please move to a shelter instead of attempting to brave it out against the elements! Stay warm and stay safe through this rough weather!

35 comments:

Anjali said...

Hey Manisha

Nice to see you back. Hope you had a good time with your visiting family. Enjoy your cuddle time with Medha. How we miss our loved ones when we are apart.

Linda said...

Hi Manisha, just getting back to my blog-rounds after holiday break and glad to hear all's well. I did think of you when I saw the weather there! Your tale of Medha wondering about her Daddy tugs at my heartstrings; I'm sure your special gift for mothering will see her through :)

Beans sound delicious. Stay warm and dry!

Pradnya said...

I am laughing at Medha's last question - you have a smart girl on your hands! Are you rethinking about the curtains atleast now? :-)

kitchen hand said...

Fantastic recipe. I'll be trying it.

Lee said...

Oh Manisha, thank you so much for writing this post and for the recipe and the photos. Give Medha a hug for me and tell her that I too am counting the days until her Daddy comes home and your family is complete again. It’s funny isn’t it how children look to each of their parents for some of the same signs of love and protection and yet each parent provides a complimentary part of the sense of security and both are needed for a total feeling of safety. I smiled at the talk of your monkeys and felt your love for your family in every word you wrote.

I am so happy to have the recipe; when we cooked together, the green beans, which were one of my favorite dishes, seemed pretty clear cut and I thought I would remember what we did. But in fact the five of us had so much underway at once, on the stove, in the slow cooker, on the induction burner that it all became combined in my memory.

I will have to find out where you buy the peanuts and the Kanda Lassun Masala. LOL, I’m sure if you had not discussed the peanuts in detail here, I would have used something like Planters!

Our street looks much like your street, the long hills of snow on either side of our driveway continue to grow also. Max shoveled twice today and I cannot believe that more snow is forecast for next Friday-the fifth Friday in a row.

Thank you for all of this,

Lee

Mythiliv said...

Manisha,
Finally a post from you!!! Peanuts and green beans - that's a winning combo with 'N'. Good recipe and wonderful step by step presentatin.

So how is the weather there? Settled down?

Happy Sankranthi,
Mythili

jacob said...

wow! your photographs are so cool, they make my mouth water. will be back for more.

Anita said...

Is the masala similar to 'ghati masala'? Lots of garlic and red chilies, and seems maybe some dhaniya it has. I use it to make stuffed eggplant.

I think I'll try making beans this way and use the ghati masala anyway.

I was really impressed with the everyday peanut use in traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. In salads was a total revelation - seemed so 'gourmet' when I saw my MIL make the winter koshimbir with a lot of fine chopped vegges and then toss in some crushed peanuts. Delicious.

BTW: I agree. God is non-veg - not many seem to 'offer' him non-veg prasad! Baring Kashmiri Pandits and Bengali Brahmins, I think! Both worship the Goddess actually. So maybe, not the God, but the Godesses are non-veg! Bless us.

Did I tell you that you have the most adorable little girl?

Preya said...

Awesome blog and beautiful pictures:)

Manisha said...

Anjali, thanks! We had a wonderful time with my sister and her family.

Linda, this last storm was very cold and quiet compared to what folks in the mid-west and north-east are currently going through. Ice is worse than snow. :-(

Pradnya, welcome! He's definitely not getting me any curtains, what with the current debate of 50lbs or 70lbs per bag. And it might just be for the best. Just before we got married, he surprised me by getting curtains made for our apartment. I loved his choice of material and design but the windows looked like they were wearing mini-skirts!

Kitchen hand, welcome to IFR! Do let me know if you liked it and if you had any interesting twist of your own on this recipe!

Lee, took me long enough to write this one up, eh?! You are so right - we each play our role and we're complete when we're together. When I think back to when we cooked together, I still wonder how we managed to get so much done! You should be able to get raw peanuts at the Indian grocer's on 28th and Valmont in Boulder. I am not so sure about Kanda Lassun Masala but I do know it's available at Krishna Grocery, off 287 in Lafayette. I'll be making my weekly pilgrimage to Krishna some time so I can pick up a packet for you.

I guess Boulder picked up more snow than we did this weekend. We barely got 2 inches or so. It feels so insignificant compared to what folks in the mid-west and up to NY are going through with all this ice. Snow on Friday is becoming the rule rather than the exception - I hope it is just mountain snow!

Mythili, keep using those winning combos! ;-) We are thawing out slowly and will reach freezing by Wednesday! Yay! Maybe some of the snow will actually melt!

Jacob, welcome and back at ya! Your sketches and paintings are awesome! When you get a chance, take a peek at Flower Fest.

Anita, my recommendation to use garam masala as a substitute is slightly misleading but that is the nearest and easiest masala to substitute with. Kanda Lassun Masala is rather simple and does not cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, mace, nutmeg etc. Ghati masala, according to this link is far more potent! I think it will be yummy but you will have to use your andaaz to figure out how much of it to use. Peanuts and gourmet?! No! You only get monkeys!! :D

I sthought I might get flak for suggesting that God is non-vegetarian! Who knows, Balasaheb might send someone to my doorstep demanding an apology! I still remember the time they went up in arms over Parvati Khan (remember her? she used to sing? Oh! now I am dating myself, aren't I?!!) and how she should not be allowed to have a name like that!

And I do have an adorable little girl! But then I still have to meet a little girl that I did not like or think was adorable! I do thank God for her every day. Somewhere in my past or childhood, I must have done something good....

Preya, welcome to IFR! Another Colorado blogger! Yay!

Coffee said...

What a lovely post Manisha!!!! Enjoyed reading it through and through!!!!

And the nutty beans sounds super!!!!

Rishi said...

Hi Manisha,

I never saw this blog of yours ! Great recipe - for a foodie like me even the write up makes me feel hungry and the cool pics makes me feel all the more tempted.

But even more than the recipe what I liked is the way you described the incident about your daughter...give her a hug from me and tell her that an uncle from India has sent loads of love for her..

post some pics of her if you get some time :)

btw, do you like sweet dish ? I can send you some good bengali sweet dish recipes if you want to share with your readers .let me know.

Regards
Rishi

Amira said...

Hi manisha, just stumbled acrass your blog. I love it! This green bean recipe sounds fabulous... can't wait to try it. Do you mind if I add you to my blogroll at www. amiraskitchen.wordpress.com?

Manisha said...

Coffee, thanks! Now go pick up that paintbrush, put it to canvas and send in an entry for Flower Fest - J!

Saptarshi, welcome! I'm glad you found my blog. I would love to try out your Bengali recipes! I'll get in touch soon!

Amira, welcome to IFR! Go ahead and spread the link love ;-), I will be truly honored!

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Agree in totality about peanuts (and monkeys also). Peanuts adds richness in koshimbirs. Tomatochi koshimbir with shengdhanyache kut, and curd. Upavasachi Misal is not complete without Shengdhanyachi usal. And boiled groundnuts ( Bhuimugachya Shenga), with salty water

Roopa said...

Hi Manisha! You have an awesome blog, my first comment here. Great post, some of it very touching I must admit :)
I should give this version of delicious beans a shot. I've always made them the South Indian way, by adding vangibath powder. I'll look for the kanda-lasun masala on my next trip to the store. BTW, I live in Northern CO too. The weather has been nothing less than excruciating! Stay warm & safe!
- Roopa

NSG said...

I immediately thought of curtains when I saw Medha's question and now I see I'm not the only one. : ) And with not even a twinge of conscience, SRK gets all the blame - hahaha!! Take care.

Krithika said...

Good to hear you guys are doing good... beans look delicous. Have never used sea salt.

Monisha said...

Green beans look nice and yummy, love your writing, it made me smile :).
Stay warm.

ifood said...

manisha
you should post your video recipes on www.ifood.tv

Saffron said...

Manisha,
glad to hear that all is well and you are keeping good spirits despite the dropping temperatures. It is hard when the significant other travels. My husband travels a lot too and we too go through the routine of checking every lock and window before bedtime.

That kanda lasoon masala sounds soo good. I will have to look for it at the indian stores the next time I go. Grean beans and peanuts?? what's not to like? sounds like a winning combination!

cheers!

Krithika said...

I tried it this morning. It turned out really good. I got k-pra brand kanda-lahsun masala. Thanks

Meena said...

Aww, what a wonderful write-up Manisha, ditto at scorning at SRK!! My Hubby left to India yesterday as well, and with the layers of snow we're currently having here, I made sure we shopped for enough groceries to last me the 2 weeks he'll be away!

Take care and cuddle up to keep warm! :o)

Sandeepa said...

Hey Manisha
Love the way you write, medha's emotions are brought out so clear, it's good that she has her fear out of her mind now, kids...
Stay safe and warm, shall check back again
Not much peanut in our food but maybe shall try this sometime

Meena Kandlakuti said...

Hi Manisha,

nice step by step instuctions of the nutty beans recipe.Iam competely new to this.Thanks for sharing this.

Meena Kandlakuti said...

manisha..ur kid is just adorable..some times it becomes difficult to explain the questions we are asked by our kids?..but wonder on how they match things..interrelate them and imagine:-))..I wish u both have good time togeathet till her daddy comes back.Then ofcourse ur family will be having great time:-))

shilpa said...

Thanks for this recipe :).

Your Medha is a sweet darling. Looks like all the kids are SRK fans. Even I was his fan when i was kid, now I don't understand what I saw in him :D.

Medha's question is going into my "SRK kid's dialogue" collection. I know few more kids who are crazy about him.

About snow, I remember last time I left a comment here saying I love snow. Soon after that we got an ice storm here. After slipping and falling on the ice a couple of times, I am praying god not to give us any ice/snow storms. My leg still has a blue patch of blood which keeps on reminding about the fall :).

Inji Pennu said...

Oh, Just read this post. Really dont know what to write. Couldnt read the recipe properly since your kids question was running through my mind (but, please dont hate SRK :)) and then read about your snowstorm...oh pls be safe! hugs and wishes
(btw, the kid in my pic is my cousin sis)

Meena Kandlakuti said...

hey manisha,
I tried ur recipe yesterday but without the masal u mentioned. But I could cook with the help of ingeredients u mentioned in the masala.It was a hit. My family members includig me liked it a alot. Iam sure when If I add the masala then it would taste more good.Wel peanuts adding in beans itself was new to me.Thanks for sharing:-))

shammi said...

Couldnt help grinning at your description of the two monkeys, Manisha :) How about the third monkey? I see no mention of its antics! :D

have never had green beans with peanuts before (although I make 'em with sliced almonds once in a while). Gotta try your version.

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Manisha said...

A divided bunch, I see! Dissing SRK is a lot of fun!

HareKrishnaji, welcome! Aha! Tumchya ghari pan maakad aheth asa distay! Boiled peanuts, shell on, are to die for! When I was much younger and did not know of the perils of too much sodium, I used to drink the salty water when I thought no-one was looking!

Roopa, yay! Another Coloradoan! Great to have you here at IFR and thank you for all the compliments! Did you enjoy the 6th weekend in a row of snow?! Beans with vangi-bhath powder? Now that's something I haven't tried. Do you add anything else? Do let me know!

NSG, ha! ha! But no such luck! No curtains in my naseeb! Welcome to IFR!

Krithika, I'm thrilled you liked the beans! About sea salt: I've tried different types of salts and I liked sea salt the best. According to me, it brings a different flavor to the dish and reminds me a lot of coastal foods. Apparently I am being a little snobbish by saying that but it takes the dish to a new level. My sister, who visited me recently, recommended it very strongly and I quite agree! I must add that my husband shakes regular table salt over everything that has sea salt. He prefers a taste that is more salty than subtle.

Monisha, welcome and thank you! When do we get to see another yummy cake from you?

ifood, thank you and best wishes on the success of your web site!

SH, we should get together and set up some sort of a support group for one another, I tell ya! The kanda lassun masala has a lot of possibilities. Think vada-pav. Yum!

Meena, it's no fun to be cold and alone in weather like this! I hope you cooked a lot of comfort food and stayed warm. Good to have you here!

Sandeepa, welcome! Peanuts are very good for health. Look at the nutrition they pack in! Makes me feel good when I reach out for that handful everyday! ;-)

Meena K, that's the beauty of being a child. They have no inhibitions or life experiences that present barriers - they let their thoughts run and they flow with it. Oh to be a child again!

Trust you to read the fine print and put together the masala! You are too much! I am glad you and your family enjoyed my nutty green beans recipe!

Shilpa, glad you grew up and got some sense in your head! SRK! Tch! You take care out there! I hope it's not as icy and slick anymore and you're settling into your new routine well. Best wishes to you!

Inji, hope you're getting your strength back! Snow! Sigh. It's become a way of life now.

Shammi, third bandar? Third?! Now I wonder what you're going on about! :-D Hey, sliced almonds sounds really good. I have a large bag of sliced almonds that I sprinkle liberally on salads. Do you have a recipe for beans with sliced almonds?

tpraja, I'd be very interested to know who's paying you to spam all our blogs. This is your nth spammy comment about byIndia on my blog. I don't appreciate it. Web2 Corp's Trevor Longino said that byIndia is a "small company with big dreams and cannot afford to dedicate someone to manually filter" the blogs to ensure that there are no scraped blogs on byIndia. You're no bot. You are a person who has been dedicated to manually add comments on blogs. I am sure Web2Corp will cry foul yet again. Any more comments from you - food related or not - will be deleted. Ugh!

Anita said...

Heard about all the freak weather you have been having in the US - too much snow in CO and too warm in NY!

Is that the reason for your longish hibernation! :) Come out, Manisha. - tell us what you have been cooking. It is already Spring time here in N Delhi!

Anita said...

Just going thru your old stuff: didn't see the 'comments' on "handy tips" - I too freeze left-over tomato paste!! Waste not, want not.

Manisha said...

Anita, just been very busy! Snow. Ice. We've got it all. 7th week of snow. They actually count # of days of snow on the ground here in Colorado. They are just not used to having snow on the ground because it snows and the sun comes out and melts it away. This winter, there hasn't been much melt-time between storms. Sigh! At least the hubby's back. Didn't shovel this past week!

Thanks for letting me know about comments not being on for the tomato paste post. Will go flip the switch on that one now.