Green Beans Bharta – Mashed Green Beans

DSC_0116

As a child, have you ever been enamored by magic? I used to be. And I wanted to be special, to be different from others, to have uncommon abilities. I so ..so.. aspired to be a brilliant child and to be at the top of my class. Whenever I would get weary of studies my imagination would run wild. In that wild world I would be transformed into a person with a special photographic memory so that every thing that I read would be etched in my memory forever; that way i just needed to glance through the pages of my study-books and I would top all my exams. As I grew up, I secretly started hoping that maybe someday I would discover this extraordinary power of mine.  And when I traveled with J.K.Rowling to the world of Harry Potter, I found myself again nurturing that exotic dream.

In hindsight I am glad that I do not possess any such photographic memory because (a) some lessons are best learnt the hard way, so they go a long way; (b) forgetting is sometimes a bliss for only then can we move ahead in life; and (c) Being Normal is the best thing that can happen to you.

But that does not mean I totally deny the existence of magic.

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
Nora Roberts

In perspective it just holds a different meaning. You have known magic if you have ever fallen in love, ever created a child, if any of your dreams have ever come true.. you have known magic if you have looked at the creation around you, the world around you, if you have witnessed the change of colors and seasons or the mesmerizing view of a sunrise or the sun setting across the ocean.

I have seen the impossible and the unimaginable happening, so I will never close my mind to such a magic.

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Roald Dahl

DSC_0114

Today’s recipe is of Green French Beans. If you are like me who only cherishes the thought of beans in Fried Rice or Chowmein then I can assure that you will be pleasantly surprised with this. I had never known such a bharta to even exist till I came across BongMom’s Cookbook. According to her this Bharta – spelled as Bhorta with an ‘o’ – is made in Bangladeshi style with mashed beans and coconut. Now, I love coconut and anything with coconut in it and was very happy when it turned out to be so good. I have to confess that though I make it as a second side dish, I end up
having my whole meal with just this and whited steamed rice.

So if you love beans, you will love this dish too. And if you are not a beans lover, then for sure do try this once and let yourself be beguiled with this magical dish.

Ingredients: DSC_0117

  • French Beans, cut into 1′ length – 2 cups
  • Oil (preferrably mustard oil, but vegetable oil will do) – 1 to 2 tbsp or as required.
  • Onions, thinly sliced – 1 small
  • Garlic, chopped or grated – 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies, slit lengthwise – 5 to 6 or to taste, can use red chilli powder instead
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coconut, grated – 1/2 cup to 1 cup; I use it generously
  • Coconut, grated / Coconut flakes – for garnishing (optional)

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan, once hot add the thinly sliced onions and saute.
  • Add garlic and green chillies and fry well.
  • Once the onions start getting translucent add the beans and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook till the beans are tender stirring in between.
  • Once cooked, transfer the fried beans mixture on a plate and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled add it to a blender along with coconut and little water and blend to a thick wet paste.
  • Heat the same pan, add a few drops of oil to it and add the wet paste.
  • On medium flame cook the paste till most of the moisture is dried up.
  • Garnish with grated coconut and serve with hot rice.

Suggestion: Mix small portions of the paste and rice with your hands/fingers and enjoy!

DSC_0118

Advertisements

Narkeler Naru aka Coconut Ladoo

This Janmashtami I made Coconut Ladoo which in Bengali we call “Narkel-er Naru“. Janmashtami – the day celebrated in Hindu mythology as Lord Krishna’s birthday – is a grand affair at my in law’s. Me and my husband, well lets say, though we are spiritual at heart we do not follow any set rules for such religious celebrations. However this time, hearing my Ma-in-law talking about the preparations for the festival made us want to do something as well. So Hubby B decides to go veg (which is a BIG thing!). That was all I needed to workup a feast of luchi (pooris), cholar dal (chana dal) and sooji halwa. Narkel naru was added later to it and to keep it simple and quick I thought of using the can of condensed milk lying in the pantry.

You can also make it with jaggery and it looks brown, but we love the white sugary ones. This is probably the simplest and quickest of the sweets that I know and does not require too much of effort or ingredients or preparation.

Ingredients:

  • Coconut, shredded/grated (unsweetened) – 2 cups; I used coconut powder
  • Milk – 3 to 4 cups, if using half and half or evaporated milk or a combination of any of these – adjust the quantity accordingly; I used 3/4th of a can of Condensed Milk – approx. 300 gms and 1/2 cup of 2% milk
  • Sugar 1/2 to 3/4 cup or as needed, may need no sugar/less sugar if using condensed milk.
  • Cardamom powder – 1 to 2 tsp, optional (I did not use it)

Method:

  • Heat a pan on low heat. Add the shredded coconut and dry roast it, stirring continuously, for a couple of minutes.
  • Add milk /half and half / condensed milk or a combination of any of these to it. I added a combination of condensed milk and 1/2 cup of milk.

  • Raise the flame to a medium and let the milk come to a boil. Keep stirring continuously and do not let any of the mixture stick to the bottom of the pan. May have to keep scraping it off!
  • After around 10-15 mins the mixture starts to thicken, the timings depend entirely on the thickness of the milk used. If using sugar add at this point as to taste. The milk thickens considerably after adding sugar. If using condensed milk only, may not need any sugar at all.
  • As the mixture dries up add some cardamom powder to it if desired. I skipped this step.
  • You will know the mixture is ready when you can take a small portion of it and be able to form a firm ball out of it. Then, remove it a plate and let it cool.

  • Once completely cooled, grease your palms with a little oil, and make small lime sized balls out of it.
  • Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.