Some nights, dinner at our house is an occasion for experimentation- finding the newest, most interesting recipe that is completely different from anything I’ve made before. These experiments can sometimes be the most rewarding- experimenting with infused oils, thickening sauces, and blanching ingredients for Chinese dishes, has resulted in some seriously yummy dishes. (I say modestly…). Or, by testing the boundaries with the most creative vegan or raw foods recipes, I’ve come up with some really unique, multiple allergy friendly dishes ever that even pass muster with the rather particular and allergy free DH. On the other hand, sometimes these recipes end up being too weird- too creative, and not high enough on the yum scale to make it into this blog. Also, sometimes my technique just fails me- the first times I tried steaming bok choy (don’t laugh, I know it should be easy) I ended up steaming it long enough to turn it into jelly. (Ok, not quite that bad, but it was quite thoroughly COOKED and resembled seaweed more than a fresh, delightfully steamed vegetable.) I have since recovered from that trauma to try the occasional steamed vegetable preparation- although plain steamed veggies make me yawn, if you put them in a sauce they can be truly glorious. But once in a while, when you find the perfect recipe that completely thrills everyone in your household (ok, not so impressive, it’s just the two of us- but we do sometimes have different tastes!), it becomes a recipe that you prepare again and again, as a regular recipe. One of these is our famous southern fried tofu… drool… and another is the Special Indian Rice I blogged about earlier. This rice is so delicious I make it regularly every time I make Indian food- and so easy, especially since I have prepared little packages of the spices to throw into the sesame oil heated in the rice cooker before adding rice and liquid. I also regularly make variations on the classic chickpea and spinach curry that is ubiquitous in so many Indian and/ or International Vegetarian themed cookbooks. A recent third addition to make a veritable trio of delights is the following super yummy and rich “cashew yogurt ambrosial string beans.” DH scarfed up his plate of food in minutes flat and looked for more… and I’ve been greedily snacking on these green beans since I made them two nights ago. I’m already looking forward to having the frozen Indian meal I made up with these recipes, waiting for me in my freezer. So, why don’t you try this absolutely delicious string bean recipe- I think it just might convert young ones to liking both green beans and Indian food- and it might just convert a few reluctant DP’s at the same time. ;)
Cashew Yogurt Ambrosial Green Beans
3 tbsp raw unsalted cashews (slightly toasted if desired)
2 anaheim chilies (or spicier chilies, to taste), chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup fresh coriander or parsley
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 lb green beans, trimmed, cut into manageable pieces and steamed lightly and blanched so still crisp
1-3 tbsp ghee, butter, or oil (with a little ghee for flavor if possible)
6 curry leaves, fresh OR 1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Grind cashews in food processor and add chillies, ginger, cumin, 1/8 cup fresh herb, and yogurt. Process into a smooth sauce and combine with the STEAMED, BLANCHED green beans in a bowl, reserve.
To make the dish, melt or heat oil in a pan on medium heat. (As you can see I am trying to lighten this recipe as 3 tbsp is just TOO much- last time I used about 1 1/2 tbsp oil with ghee combined with oil and I still thought it was guilt inducingly rich). Add curry leaves or bay leaf, wait a few seconds and add beans and sauce, salt, nutmeg. Saute until the sauce thickens to your taste- the longer it cooks, the thicker and drier the sauce will become. Garnish with herb and serve with another curry (say, chickpea spinach curry) and special indian rice.
This recipe is SOOOOO good. If you are allergic to dairy you could try soy yogurt, but I haven’t tried it this way. Surprisingly, it also freezes well, so you can make up a indian dinner with basmati rice, this green bean dish, curry of your choice, pop it in a ziploc tupperware and freeze it, then kick it out into a plate and heat it again a few weeks later- delicious and very little effort. Mmmm… Beats any packaged frozen meal. DH also loves this dish, despite the fact that it has no okra and no peas- two of his favorite ingredients in Indian cuisine.