Indian Green Beans

These Kerala style green beans are sautéed with mustard seeds, chili, and caramelized onions and garlic.

Kerala stir fried green beans also known as pacha payar or beans mezhukkupuratti, was one of the few Indian veggie dishes I actually liked eating as a child. We often ate it with rice and some kind of meat curry.

My mom would cook the green beans until they softened and caramelized. Along with the garlic and onions, they tasted delicious!

I remember many afternoons sitting with my mom and trimming the ends of the long green beans from our garden.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience for that nowadays, so I prefer to use frozen green beans which I always have on hand.

You could even use canned green beans, though the further you move away from using fresh green beans, the less authentic it will taste.

You might think it will be very spicy with both green chili and chili powder, but it really isn’t. In fact, I may even double the spice next time!

I was also worried my kids would complain about the onions and pick them out (like I often did as a kid), but they didn’t seem to notice.

How to Make Indian Green Beans

Start with 1 pound of greens, either fresh or frozen. If using fresh green beans, rinse, trim, and set them aside.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add in some oil and once it starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds.

When they start to pop add in sliced onion, chopped garlic, fresh curry leaves, and a large green chili that has been split down the middle (for more spice, mince the pepper).

Sauté everything until the onions become golden. Then add in turmeric and chili powder and stir well.

Finally add the green beans. Keep stirring and sautéing them for 8-10 minutes or until they have softened. If using fresh beans, you might need to cover them with a lid so they cook down.

Either stop cooking while the beans are still bright green and crisp or continue cooking until they are brown and caramelized.

Take off heat and season with a healthy amount of salt.

If you would like to introduce your kids to Indian food, this is a great recipe to start with. It comes together quickly, especially when using frozen beans, and has a mild flavor.

Or check out my Garlicky Green Beans for a western version of this green bean dish that is light on the spice but heavy on the garlic!

What My Kids Say:
11yo: Every green bean had a burst of spicy and salty flavor.
8.5yo: I like it because it’s salty.

Here are some other indian vegetable dishes to try

Indian Green Beans
Mildly spiced Kerala style green beans with mustard seeds, chili, and caramelized onions and garlic.
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Closeup skillet with Indian green beans, curry leaves, chili pepper.
Indian Corn on the Cob
Sweet corn with a spicy and tangy kick!
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Plate of 2 corn on the cob withs spices, cilantro, and lime wedges.
Kabocha Curry with Black Eyed Peas
A savory and sweet Kerala curry made with kabocha, black-eyed peas, coconut, chilies, and spices.
Check out this recipe
Bowl of kabocha curry with black eyed peas, cilantro.

Closeup skillet with Indian green beans, curry leaves, chili pepper.

Indian Green Beans

Joby’s Test Kitchen
Mildly spiced Kerala style green beans with mustard seeds, chili, and caramelized onions and garlic.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb green beans, fresh or frozen
  • coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced shallot or onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green chili, sliced in half or minced
  • 1 small branch fresh curry leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½-1 tsp Indian chili powder, optional
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • If using fresh green beans, give them a rinse and trim if needed. Set aside.
  • Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and once it starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds. When it starts to pop add the onion, garlic, curry leaves, and green chili. Sauté until the onions become golden.
  • Add the turmeric and chili powder, stirring for 30 seconds.
  • Finally add the green beans. Keep stirring and sautéing for 8-10 minutes or until the green beans have softened. If using fresh beans, you might need to cover with a lid to help them cook down.
  • You can stop cooking while the beans are still bright green, or continue cooking until they brown and caramelize.
  • Take off heat. Season with a healthy amount of salt.
Keyword chili pepper, green beans, Kerala, spices

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