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Recipe for Spicy Green Beans

Liven up ordinary green beans by spiking them with spices like cumin, chiles, mustard seeds, and coconut — just like some Indian and Southeast Asian cooks do.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/PGStudija]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/PGStudija

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Spice meter: Moderately spiced to hot and spicy

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds

5 scallions, white part only, sliced

1 jalapeno or serrano, seeded and minced (optional)

3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

  1. Have a large bowl of iced water ready and set aside. In a large saucepan over high heat, cook the green beans in lightly salted water until they’re tender but crisp, about 5 minutes.

    Drain the beans in a colander or sieve and immediately plunge them into the ice water. When the beans are cold, transfer them to a plate and pat them dry with a paper towel.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and scallions.

    When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add the jalapeno and cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the coconut and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

  3. Add the green beans and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. The beans are done when they’re heated through.

The process of partially cooking vegetables in lightly salted boiling water is known as blanching. The salt in the water sets the color so it remains bright. Immersing vegetables in iced water is known as refreshing, a procedure that halts the cooking process and keeps the vegetables tender-crisp.

These two processes are used when vegetables are to be cooked a second time or reheated quickly. Most fine restaurants prep vegetables in this way so that the veggies take little time to prepare when an order is placed by patrons.

Per serving: Calories 131 (From Fat 83); Fat 9g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 23mg; Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 2g.

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