This dish from Kerala is a thoran, sort of a warm salad. It’s pleasingly bitter, sweet and fresh-vegetably all at once. I fried the beans in raw organic coconut oil from Bonobo’s. The oil is heated and quickly flavored with mustard seeds, fresh curry leaves, dried red chilis and a small amount of uncooked white rice — rice is used as a condiment in Southern Indian food. The beans saute in the oil for 2-3 minutes, and then you move them to the sides of the pan in a donut shape and put a mountain of chopped vegetables, herbs and spices in the hole in the center: shallots, garlic, ground cumin, turmeric, green chilis and grated fresh coconut. The beans are mounded over the ingredients, water is added, and the beans are then steamed through the pile as it were for 10 minutes or until done.
We served this Madhur Jaffrey dish with Julie Sahnee’s tandoori chicken. I broiled it rather than roasted it and it came out a bit dry and charred, but still flavorful. Last time I made it into chicken makhni and I think that’s what I’ll do next time. An assortment of pickles and chutneys, plus Jaffrey’s apple-cumin-ginger yoghurt, rounded out the meal.