Saturday, May 12, 2012

Achinga Mezhukkupuratti

Indian Kerala Style Yard Long Beans!
     Kerala is on the southwest coast of India.  The cuisine of Kerala is tropical and the food can be spicy.  Coconut oil is often used in this area.  Shaved coconut is often added to Kerala recipes.  Chile peppers give relief to tropical heat, so naturally they are part of the cuisine.
     Yard long beans grow in southern regions of India.  Yard long beans are not really in the regular string bean family of plants.  Long beans are in the cowpea family of plants.  Yard bean plants are a climbing vine and the long beans grow in pairs.  Long beans can reach lengths of two to three feet.  Long beans are best when they are younger and shorter than when they become tough fibrous fully mature long beans.
     Curry leaves are used in this recipe.  I wrote a lengthy description of curry leaves a few weeks ago in this blog.  Curry leaves have an exotic spice and peanut flavor.  Curry leaves come from the black neem tree and they are much better when fresh.
     Achinga Mezhukkupuratti is an old traditional Kerala recipe.  No liquid is added to the stir fry at all.  The pan is covered and the steam from the long beans is the only moisture in the pan.  The aroma of this Kerala style long bean recipe really smells nice while it is cooking!

     Achinga Mezhukkupuratti Recipe:
     Choose some tender young yard long beans for this recipe.  Young tender long beans are about 1' to 1 1/2' in length.
     Trim the ends of one small bunch of yard long beans.  Cut the seed pods off (if any) and use them for another recipe.
     Cut the long beans into 1" long pieces.  (About 1 1/4 cups of long bean pieces is enough for this recipe.)
     Heat a small saute pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
     Add 1 pinch of whole cumin seeds.
     Fry the seeds till they pop.  (about 45 seconds)
     Add 1 handful of very thin sliced onion.
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add 1 thin sliced green Thai chile pepper.
     Add 12 fresh curry leaves.
     Saute till the onions turn a light brown color.
     Add 3 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 3 pinches of Indian or Chinese red chile powder.
     Add sea salt.
     Saute and toss for 30 seconds.
     Add the reserved long bean pieces.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Add little bit more coconut oil, if there is not enough in the pan to stir fry the long beans.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Cover the pan with a lid.
     Allow the long beans to cook undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes.
     Remove the lid and stir the ingredients.
     Place the lid back on the pan.
     Cook the long beans undisturbed for another 5 minutes.
     Place the Achinga Mezhukkupuratti on a small serving dish.
     Serve with cooked plain white basmati rice on the side.

     The aroma of this Kerala style long bean entree is captivating!  The sweet caramelized onion, chile pepper and curry leaves combine with the long beans to create a unique exotic nice flavor.  Achinga Mezhukkupuratti does look like twigs and leaves when it finishes cooking, but that is the nature of this entree.  Sometimes flavor overrules good looks!  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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