Indian-Style Green Beans


Over the years of trying new green bean recipes (it is our family’s favorite green vegetable), this has been the most flavorful way I’ve found to make them. It is a quick & easy recipe and a great accompaniment to any meal.

Its also was the only way my children would eat their vegetable without any fuss! They seemed to like the bright green color of the beans and the small pieces were easy to eat. It seems like a tedious task to cut beans into 1/4″ pieces but gathering a handful of green beans on a cutting board and cutting them together makes the chopping fast. (My daughter likes to buy the pre-trimmed packaged beans that some stores carry, to save even more time.)

The secret to making the color bright is due to baking soda added to the water.  It not only brings out the color but also cooks the beans faster. Keep in mind that you really need to watch the beans or you will have mushy green beans in no time!


1 pound fresh green beans (or frozen)

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1-2 small green chillies, trimmed and slit diagonally

2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)

1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)

Cashew nuts or almonds (optional)


Line up a handful of beans on a cutting board and trim the tips.  Chop the green beans into 1/4″ pieces. Continue with the remaining beans and you’ll be done in a few minutes!

Place in a 3-quart saucepan and add water to just cover the beans. Mix in the salt and baking soda. Bring to boil and as the water starts to foam, simmer and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. After about 3 minutes test a bean for the desired crispness. Remove and drain the beans.


Heat a skillet on medium heat, and add the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and urad dal.  As soon as the mustard seeds will start to pop (you may want to use a splatter guard if you have one or just hold the lid close by to prevent splatters), add the slit green chili and the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds.

Turn down the heat to medium low, add the cooked green beans and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Note: If using nuts, add an extra tablespoon of oil to skillet and sauté the nuts until lightly browned. Garnish with nuts.




4 responses to “Indian-Style Green Beans

  1. Chinny

    You can add some cooked legumes to this to increase protein.

  2. Ann

    Viji, where can I find urad dal? also, would a green chile be a jalapeno?

  3. Urad dal can be found in Indian grocery stores. If you want to, you can eliminate the urad dal and it will not change the flavor.
    A jalapeño can be substituted for the green chili and it would be a good idea to remove the seeds.
    The jalapeño or chillies should be slit and kept whole as it can be removed from the green beans if necessary.

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