Green Beans Palya

This is one of the dishes that I taught my friends Andrew and Faouzi to make during our cooking lesson. Palya is a South Indian word that means dry curry. You can make this recipe with a number of different kinds of vegetables besides green beans: beet, potato, eggplant, etc. This is a dish that my mom made quite often. It kind of spoils you from eating green beans any other way becuse it’s so flavorful.

For this dish, you fry up some mustard seed, curry leaf, chili and then add the green beans in with some sambar powder* (you can buy this powder at the Indian store), coconut and lemon. You can have this dish on the side, mix it in with some rice and sambar or eat with a roti or flatbread. I’ve put it inside a burrito before – sounds weird but was so good!


1 tablespoon oil or ghee
3/4 pound green beans – cut into about 1/2 inch long pieces
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
3 fresh curry leaves (can use dry)
1 dried red chili – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder (MTR brand is good)
2 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut – thawed out
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste
Heat oil under a medium flame. Put in a pinch of hing or asafoetida, mustard seed, urad dal and chana dal. This is the good brand of hing – make sure you get the powdered hing:

When the mustard seed starts popping and the dals start browning, put in the curry leaf and broken up chili pieces. Mix everything around for 10 seconds until everything is coated with oil.
Next throw in the green beans.
Mix it all up.
Add a little bit of water, turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are almost tender. Mix in sambar powder and cook until the beans are tender. Add the coconut and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the lemon and salt and mix well.
*Sambar powder is made from:
coriander seeds
chana dal
cumin seeds
mustard seeds
fenugreek seeds
urad dal
chili powder

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