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  • Writer's picture Payal M.

Mum's Basic Green Bean Curry

There are some things in life that seem extremely small or inconsequential but somehow are the markers of love, stability and security in life. Things like the smell of sandalwood incense burning on Mum's prayer days. You can set your calendar to that. It smells like purity, reverence, faith and love for family. Or the smell of her cooking dinner downstairs at exactly 5:30 pm every afternoon. The fragrant smell of onions, garlic and spices hitting the hot oil permeates the whole house every day. I have come to associate that smell with love. Or the smell of roti and curry early in the morning as mum would be making our school lunches. Or even the quiet sounds of her slippers hitting the tiled hallway floors as she would walk over from the kitchen to wake us up for school. These are all the small things that represent her taking care of her family and the small things that I have come to rely on at a subconscious level. These are the small things that I do not ever want to take for granted but maybe most of us do. Somehow my mum manages to take care of all of us and has time for all of us. As I write out these recipes, I realize more and more how much of her own life and wishes she must have set aside to take care of us. As I delve into parenting myself, I try to remember the things she did, the things she taught us and the things she said to us so I can teach my children. It is like she laid out the foundation and groundwork for me already. Mum, you are the very best mum…in case you didn’t know.

Through this blog, I am discovering the things my mum likes and doesn’t like to eat. She actually doesn't like to eat green bean curry but she makes it for my dad's lunch because he likes it. I find that cute. Love is expressed in many forms I suppose. Some more subtle than others. But then again our culture is all about subtlety. We are not that expressive in terms of love. I think that our expression of love is just being there for each other and taking care of each other to ensure the success of the family.

Anyways, beans cooked this way result in garlicky, spicy, savory and soft beans that pair extremely well with rotis, dhal and rice and other curries. Green bean curry wrapped in a roti parcel makes for a great lunch too! This bean curry recipe is very simple and you can get these green beans from your regular grocery store. Next step is to wash, dry and prep the beans. Remove the tougher tips and slice the beans diagonally. This way the seeds inside mainly stay intact and don't fall out of the bean. Then onions, garlic, ginger, spices have to be briefly cooked in oil before adding the beans and salt.

Let beans cook and brown for a bit, then add some water to help soften the beans. Beans should be soft and not crunchy. Once water is cooked off, then beans are done! At this point, you can let the beans brown a bit more if you would like but this is not necessary.

Serve alongside freshly made rotis or with rice and dhal or as a great side dish to other vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes! Leave a comment below on what you think!

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Prep time 30 minutes (includes time to cut beans)

Cook time 30 minutes


2 lbs fresh green beans sliced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

Handful of curry leaves (optional)

2 Thai chilies (optional)

1/2 cup diced onions

1 tbsp crushed garlic

1/2 tbsp crushed ginger

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

Salt to taste

1/4 cup water


  1. Wash and prep green beans. Remove tough tips. Slice diagonally.

  2. On medium heat, add mustard and cumin seeds. As they sizzle, add onions, ginger, garlic, chilis and curry leaves. Cook until aromatic. About 1-2 minutes. Add turmeric and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add green beans. Stir. Add salt. Stir.

  4. Cook until some browning occurs.

  5. Add water.

  6. Turn heat to low and cook until green beans soften. This will take about 20 minutes.

  7. Turn off heat. Enjoy hot with some fresh rotis or with some rice and dhal!


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