Beans poriyal is an Indian green beans preparation where the chopped greens are coated in a ground shredded coconut and curry leaf paste and roasted until the spices and beans caramelize into a spicy and rich side dish that has enough flavor to act as the main star.
Beans poriyal is a vegetable side dish that pairs so well with thayir sadam (yogurt rice) or lemon rice. It is a spicy stir fried Indian vegetable side dish that uses green beans, also known as French beans. The green beans get a nutty depth from shredded coconut and curry leaves that are ground into a wet masala and caramelized until the beans and masala are one. You can pack these green beans as a side dish for lunch or to round out an Indian-inspired Thanksgiving menu.
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are ones that you can find in your pantry or at your local grocery store. However, there are two ingredients in particular that you are likely to get at your local Indian store:
- Curry leaves. Fresh curry leaves give this dish a deep aromatic flavor and aroma that can't be mimicked by any other herbs. It gives this dish its iconic South Indian flare.
- Grated coconut. Grated coconut can be found in the freezer section of the Indian grocery store. It is the inner white flesh of the coconut and its delicious oils that are frozen and packed for ease of use. This is crucial in this recipe as this is what adds a rich caramelized nuttiness to the whole dish.
It's important to cut the green beans
It is important to cut the green beans into ¼ to ½ inch thick pieces. This allows each bit of green beans to be seasoned and coated in the flavorful masala. When purchasing green beans or French beans from the grocery store, make sure to cut off and discard the end which has a tough stringy texture.
Tips for making beans poriyal
- Be patient and wait for the masala to caramelize and darken. The trickiest part of this recipe is waiting for the masala to caramelize which can take ~15 minutes.
- Use a non stick or cast iron skillet. The masala for the beans poriyal has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan. It helps to have a nonstick pan to easily get that masala back onto the beans.
- Scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan frequently. Use a wooden spoon to scrape down the brown bits of spices and coconut that stick to the bottom of the pan. Those brown bits are flavor; don't leave them on the pan.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil at a time to the beans if the masala sticks to the pan too much. The oil will not only help roast the beans to get them extra roast-y but can also help you scrape up the delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- You can prep the masala, cut the beans, and cut the onions up to 2 days in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best place to buy curry leaves is at your local Indian or Asian grocery store.
Grated coconut can be found in the freezer section of an Indian grocery store.
Kashmiri chili powder is a bright red chili powder that is mild. You can read more about it and its substitutes in this blog post.
It is normal for the masala to stick to the bottom of the pan and caramelize. Simply scrape it with a wooden spatula or add a bit of oil to help scrape the bottom and prevent it from further sticking.