Or green beans and potatoes cooked in Indian masala.
This recipe of Beans Aloo is made with string beans or French beans as they’re known as in many parts of the world.
Incase string beans are not available, you could try making Beans Aloo with any green beans that are easily available to you or as per seasonal availability. I have made this recipe with long beans (Lobia ki Phali) too. Punjabi style Beans Aloo tastes great made with any available green beans!
Green beans do ‘wilt’ and reduce in size on cooking, so add potatoes accordingly. It may be easy to go overboard with the potatoes while prepping as the beans will seem to be higher in quantity. Trust me, 2 medium size potatoes will suffice for 250 gms of green beans.
It is also easy to overcook green beans, which is ok if that’s how you like them. I prefer that the green beans have a slight bite and still retain their full flavour in my recipe of Beans Aloo, so I cook them only enough to let their natural water dry out. That’s also why the potatoes go in first in my recipe.
As you may have already noticed from my earlier recipe posts, I prefer to keep my Indian sides recipes simple without much garam masala or many whole spices. This ensures that the original flavours of the main ingredients / vegetables are not masked by the equally or more flavourful Indian spice mixes. Feel free to add garam masala to your version of Beans Aloo.
This recipe of Punjabi style Beans Aloo makes for a flavourful side to a basic moong dal tadka accompanied with chapati, jeera rice or pulao, raita and Indian pickle. Add some pickled onions and instant carrot pickle too!
Oftentimes, I hear stories from my parents about my grandfather cooking an egg in to a portion of Beans Aloo or Aloo Gobi to make his version of scrambled eggs beans aloo (beans aloo bhurji) or scrambled eggs aloo gobi (aloo gobi bhurji). Sounds interesting, even though I haven't tried it so far.
You could also upcycle leftover Beans Aloo to make grilled sandwiches for breakfast.
Time taken: 20 minutes (plus 15 minutes for prep)
Ingredients to make Punjabi style Beans Aloo
250 gms of string beans or any available green beans
2 potatoes, medium size
2 tbsp ghee or cooking oil
1 onion, medium size
1 tomato, medium size
5-6 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of ginger
2 green chillies (or as per preference of heat)
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp coriander powder / dhania powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
A pinch of asafoetida / hing
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Method of making Punjabi style Beans Aloo
Wash and break / cut the green beans in to 1 inch long pieces. If you’re using string beans, remember to remove and discard the strings from either side – makes for a better meal experience.
Chop the potatoes in to 1 inch cubes and soak in water until you’re ready to use them or the potatoes will oxidise (turn brown or grey).
Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
Prep done. Let’s get cooking!
Heat ghee or cooking oil in a thick bottom pan / kadhai. Add jeera, let it splutter and release its flavours in to the cooking oil and add hing. If you like a stronger flavour of hing in the final recipe, add it later with the turmeric powder. Adding it in the beginning will mellow the flavour.
Next add the finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies.
You could add ginger garlic paste too, I just prefer fine chopped ginger and garlic because you get flavourful bites of the two aromatics when eating. Also, because finely chopped ginger and garlic add texture to the recipe too.
Once the ginger, garlic and green chillies turn a couple of shades darker, add the chopped onions. Let the onions turn a light pink and add tomatoes.
We are not looking at cooking the onion tomato masala to completely cooked texture or to a paste. These are meant to still have texture and a slight bite when you’re done cooking. Beans Aloo is all about the texture and flavour of each individual ingredient, as is Aloo Gobi and most Indian recipes.
Once the tomatoes begin to break, add turmeric powder and coriander powder and mix well. Drain and add potatoes, give it a good mix to nicely coat the potatoes with the masala. Cover and cook this masala, stirring occasionally, till the potatoes are half done.
Once the potatoes are half cooked, add the chopped green beans along with salt to taste. Mix well again to evenly coat the green beans with the masala.
You could add red chilli powder too at this point, incase you like to. I have not added it as I added finely chopped green chillies to my recipe of Beans Aloo, which will release enough flavour and heat for this quantity.
Cover and cook the Beans Aloo till the green beans are cooked to the texture you like and the potatoes are completely cooked. I cook Beans Aloo for about 7-8 minutes on medium heat after adding the green beans, retaining a light crunch in the green beans.
If you like your green beans to be cooked down more, add them to the masala sooner i.e. when the potatoes are less than half cooked, which will ensure that all your ingredients are completely cooked to your liking at the same time.
Taste and adjust seasoning and your Punjabi style Beans Aloo are ready in under-20 minutes, garnished with fresh coriander leaves!
Make Beans Aloo a complete Indian meal by serving it with a simple moong dal tadka, ghee laden chapati, jeera rice, cucumber raita and aam ka achaar. When available, I like to add pickled onions or restaurant style sirke wale pyaz and my instant carrot pickle as an accompaniment too!
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