Green beans seem to take on a new, inclusive holiday identity when they’re cut in this Indian-inspired style (a la Beans Thoran recipes of Kerala) and flavored with mustard seed and fresh ginger.
You will spend time chopping here, between the beans and shallots, so do yourself a favor and do the prep in advance. The cooking takes just a few minutes.
For a simpler ginger-lemon zest version, see the VARIATION, below. And if you think you might miss the taste of a green bean casserole, top either version with a sprinkling of crispy fried shallots or onions.
Zippy Green Beans
Servings: 8 to 12
Make Ahead: The green beans can be cut and blanched up to 5 days in advance; cover with a barely damp paper towel and refrigerate in a zip-top bag.
Ingredients:Kosher or sea salt4 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces5 tablespoons coconut oil1¼ teaspoons black mustard seed1 cup minced shallotsOne 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger root, grated½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (see VARIATION, below)Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional; see VARIATION, below)Method:Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and ice cubes.
Boil a large pot of water over high heat. Add a generous few pinches of salt, then the cut green beans; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute – just until the beans are a brighter shade of green but are still crisp-tender. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice-water bath; drain once they are thoroughly cooled.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seed; as soon as they start to pop and sputter, stir in the shallots. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned on the edges; reduce the heat as needed so they don’t burn or scorch.
Add the ginger and crushed red pepper flakes, then the blanched green beans; toss to coat evenly and cook until just warmed through. Taste, and add salt, as needed.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Variation: To make a less-spicy version of these green beans, omit the mustard seed and crushed red pepper flakes; once the shallots are ready, add the green beans and then stir in the ginger and the finely grated zest from 1 large lemon. Cook over medium heat just until warmed through, then taste and season with salt, as needed.
Source: Based on a recipe from Washington, D.C. chef-restaurateur K.N. Vinod.
Nutrition: Nutritional analysis is based on 12, using 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Nutrition Calories: 110; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 35 mg; Carbohydrates: 13 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 3 g.