Friday, June 20, 2008

Payar Thalichathu – Seasoned Long Beans

Well well well, if it isn't a vegetable sizzling in cheenachatti today!!!

Yup, you are seeing it right. I have gone over to the other side. Just kidding!

But I have come a long way from when I used to genuinely worry what vegetarians can eat every day to be not hungry if they cannot eat meat and fish:-)

If ever I loved a veggie it was the 'payar thoran' that my mom used to make with freshly picked long beans from our own ginger fields, of course with fresh grated coconut and coconut oil. Speaking of coconut oil, we hadn't touched coconut oil since moving here but bought a bottle when my in-laws came. The familiar smell brought back memories of many a mouthwatering dish announcing themselves with the heady scent wafting in the air to the study room from the kitchen.....Can I please say: “Ah, those were the days...” A cliché but true.

But, I am not attempting to recreate the magic as I know it will be futile without those exact ingredients including the environment. I am just attempting to pass on a most simple veggie preparation that goes especially well with beans, okra, spinach. Mmm.. that is the end of my veggie repertoire. Do add any other similar veggies you can think of and it will come out fine. This came from my ever resourceful Hmom who has since made veggie eating a pleasure. When asked about his veggie intake my son said, “But Mom I do eat a lot of veggies”. Further investigation revealed that his veggie source sits between the bread and the burger as lettuce and tomato in a much frequented fast food joint:-) Hey, but we as a family love fresh carrots so we are OK! I digress again, so let us get back to my 'fast and simple' veggie preparation.

In The Mix:

Long Beans – 1 ½ packet (1 ½ lbs. - can be fresh cut or frozen)

shallots – 1 or 2 sliced

green chilies – 2 sliced into thin discs

crushed dry red chili – 1 tsp or as needed

curry leaves – as needed

salt to taste

oil – 1 tbsp

How To Do

Heat the oil in a pan. Add onion and curry leaves and mix well. Add salt to taste. Add green chilies and fry slightly. Now add crushed chili powder and stir together.

Add the beans and mix very well together. Cover and cook on high to medium heat. Cook to your desired crispiness. Now open the lid and dry out in low heat. This ensures that the veggie goodness gets absorbed instead of evaporating out. Enjoy with chapathi and yogurt or just plain rice and seasoned milk.

I found frozen packets of a variety native to Kerala in the local Indian store and I fervently hope they will diversify to a store near mcf some day since the brand was double horse. This is the one in the pic but we usually cook with frozen veggie packets from the regular grocery stores.