Winters are a great time to enjoy all kinds of fresh, seasonal produce. Across the country, depending on the region, various winter specialties of radish, cauliflower, fenugreek leaves, green peas and a variety of beans make an appearance in markets. The variety of beans, common to Puerto Rican, Hawaiian and Indian cultures, dates back to 2,800 BC in the Indian peninsula.

High in protein and amino acids, the beans are usually found in their dried form throughout the year in grocery stores in their split form. The seasonal green variety also helps in aiding good metabolism as well as regulate blood pressure levels. The fresh green beans flecked with red spots, however, have a mellow vegetal flavour and a fluffy texture when pressure cooked. In South Indian cooking, dishes like sundal (a warm tempered salad) or kozhambu (a tamarind-based curry) are often the forms in which pigeon beans are consumed. This stir fried version of the pigeon beans, a Kannada specialty called togrikalu usili, is perfect to eat as one of the components of a meal or as it is, along with your evening tea. You could add other vegetables like carrots or beans for extra nutrient density, if needed. This stir fry keeps well for a few hours outside the refrigerator and makes for a great snack to pack for kid’s lunchboxes, to take care of their protein requirements.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

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  • 250 grams green pigeon beans
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 2 green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Wash and drain the pigeon beans and pressure cook them for two whistles. Allow them to cool and set aside.
  • In a pan, heat some oil and temper the asafoetida, urad dal and mustard seeds. Add the curry leaves and green chillies. Let them splutter and release their flavours into the oil. Add the cooked pigeon beans to the tempering and sauté for a few minutes. Sprinkle a generous amount of fresh grated coconut and mix well.
  • Serve with rice, sambar and pappadums or eat as a standalone snack.