Friday, July 6, 2012

Madhur Jaffrey’s Green Beans

I love Indian food! Dosa, naan, tandoori chicken, lamb vindaloo, paneer, mango lassi…I enjoy it all and want to continue to explore the many regions and dishes of this cuisine.

Unfortunately, my husband, The Picky Eater, does not like Indian food. Actually, he won’t even try it. And he doesn’t like any style of Asian cuisine. So I was in a bit of a bind when this week’s selection from the Gourmet Live 50 Women Game-Changers list came about.

It’s Madhur Jaffrey, the worlds leading authority on Indian cuisine.

Jaffrey has published 29 books on Indian, Eastern, and vegetarian dishes, and she hosted a number of television series highlighting the recipes from this region. Plus, she’s a highly respected actress. (Read more about her here.)

I picked up a copy of Jaffrey’s Step-by-Step Cooking at the library in hopes of finding a dish my husband would consider trying. My best bet was a vegetable dish that I could serve with a meat and starch that I know he likes. Since I just bought a bunch of green beans from the farmers market, I decided to go with her Green Beans with Sesame Dressing. To make sure The Picky Eater wouldn’t starve, I made mini meatloaves (stay tuned for a post on the recipe coming soon) and buttery mashed potatoes.  

The beans tasted lovely. The nuttiness of the sesame seeds blended well with the salty soy sauce and the sweet sugar-broth mixture. (I didn’t have any mirin on hand, but I would love to try using it in this dish sometime.) Jaffrey recommends serving this dish at room temperature, but I like it better warm.

As for The Picky Eater, he didn’t try these green beans, but not because of the Asian flavor. He had a tooth pulled the day before, and for the next two weeks seeds, including sesame seeds, are on his do-not-consume list.

Oh well…

Green Beans with Sesame Dressing
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Step-by-Step Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.
Serves 4

12 ounces green beans
1 1/4 cups chicken stock at room temperature, lightly salted to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (shoyu), or to taste
1 tablespoon mirin, or 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar dissolved in 1 1/2 teaspoons of chicken stock

Trim the ends off of the green beans and snap into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until just tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and place into cold water to set the color, and then transfer to a bowl with the chicken stock. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes.

To make the dressing, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skilled over medium-high heat until the seeds are roasted and smell nutty. Reserve 1/2 tablespoon of the seeds in a small bowl, and place the remaining seeds into a clean coffee grinder. Process until finely ground and pour into another small bowl. Add the soy sauce and the mirin or sugar.

Drain the beans and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle the reserved sesame seeds over the top.

(Jaffrey says to serve these green beans at room temperature, but I prefer them warm.)


  1. That dinner was outstanding!!!
    Meatloaf was excellent!!!
    "THE PICKY EATER".....

  2. I have somewhat of a "picky eater" in my house too, Linda. Marion, who is 93 years young, resists new flavors most time. However, Green Beans happen to be a favorite of hers and I have a feeling she may enjoy this dish as long as I "surprise" her with it rather than asking her if she would like it, lol...

    Thanks for sharing...

  3. Chuck makes an amazing Butter Chicken and I think this would be a perfect side dish :) If you don't have it, check out Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape India Cookbook. It is by far the most authentic Indian cuisine recipe collection I have ever seen (some challenging dishes to both find ingredients for as well as prepare, too).

  4. Hi Linda, I am a HUGE Madhur Jaffrey fan and a HUGE fan of green beans so for me, this is the perfect recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I adore green beans and these look really fabulous. I'm bookmarking them now! :)

  6. Great recipe. I had a great time learning about her during our first go round!