Recipe: Punjabi Aloo Beans Subzi

(Skip this paragraph if you want because it’s unrelated and could possibly remove your appetite, lol)
Have you ever gutted a fish? My mom got a fish for Chinese New Year (“every year have fish” in Chinese sounds the same as “every year have surplus money”, so it is a MUST for Chinese New Year!) from her friend who went fishing.. and while gutting it, in its stomach, there were many little fish that it ate! EWWWWWWWWW… Good thing I didn’t see it XD

Anyways, here’s a nice Indian vegetarian dish… It tastes really really delicious and fragrant. I’ve been making so much Indian food during the Chinese New Year, hehe. Originally, I was going to make green beans poriyal, which I already posted. However, I ran out of coconut cause I made rava ladoos (yum! I could post that recipe if you want) so I decided to make another green beans dish. I found this one which looked amazing! It uses minimal ingredients to produce a super delicious dish. This type of dish is a common Punjabi home cooking made from sauteing vegetables in oil without water for a long time until cooked. As a result, the vegetables are really tasty and umami-filled, but it takes a pretty long time to make! Anyways, this method of cooking is almost identical to the Sichuanese method of 干煸 (gan bian, “gun byehn”)! The difference is that Indian spices are added, of course. The spices are very basic and are the most common Punjabi spices. The only hard to find one is the amchur powder. You can use lemon juice instead.

Adapted from Veg Recipes of India

about 250 grams green beans (AKA French beans, string beans, in India: beans)
about 450 grams potatoes
2-3 tbsp oil or ghee (I used 1/2 oil and 1/2 ghee. The more oil the better.)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (use regular Indian red chili powder for a spicy dish)
1/2 tsp salt (to taste, use less for low-sodium)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Amchur powder AKA dry sour green mango powder (to taste) (I don’t have it, so I substitute 2-3 tsp lemon juice or to taste, depending on sourness of lemon)

1. Peel potatoes if necessary (peel russet, don’t peel the smaller red potatoes). Cut in half and slice 1/4 inch thick slices.
Remove the hard end of the green beans. Cut into 2 inch long pieces.
2. Heat a kadai (a type of Indian pan shaped sort of like a wok, you can use a wok) or a pan. Note: A pan that is not nonstick, the potatoes will stick like CRAZY. Even my wonderful STAUB Perfect Pan.
3. Once hot, add oil/ghee.
4. Add potatoes and lay in an even layer. Cook over medium high to high for a couple minutes.
5. Then flip potatoes and mix lightly, cook another couple minutes. Continue to cook 3-4 minutes stirring once in a while. During this time, slowly decrease the heat to medium.
6. Add the green beans and mix well over high heat. Once you think it’s hot, lower to medium high. Cook in the same way as the potatoes for 8-10 minutes. During this time, slowly decrease the heat to medium. TIP: Cover the pan to cook better, but it creates moisture, so the traditional recipe doesn’t cover.
7. The vegetables should be partway cooked by now. Today I used red potatoes which cook faster and easier and the green beans were tender and thin. Sometimes these vegetables take forever to cook. In this case you must cook longer.
8. Add the turmeric, red chili powder, and salt. Stir well and continue to cook in the same way over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until tender. I did not cover the lid during this time because the vegetables were almost cooked.
9. Add garam masala and amchur (or lemon juice). Stir well and cook 1 minute. Taste. If necessary, add more of a spice or salt to taste.
10. Serve preferably with rotis/chapatis and plain yogurt, perhaps with a dal on the side for protein. I never feel like making rotis/chapatis because it takes me too long and mine are not very tasty… So I served with rice, hehe. Sometimes I cheat and use tortillas from the store instead of rotis 🙂



9 thoughts on “Recipe: Punjabi Aloo Beans Subzi

  1. While I do fish, I do not gut the fish or handle the bait ;). To yucky for me to do so I must fish with someone who will handle this. 🙂 🙂
    Greens beans are a favorite veggie of mine to this recipe is certainly doable and I’m always looking for different ways of cooking it. THANKS
    Hope your New Years meal was a yummy one!!

    1. You’re welcome! Be aware that this does take 40 minutes of first chopping then stirring every 2 minutes! hehe, I love green beans too! My Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner, I had stir-fried pressed tofu with rice. LOL. But I DID eat the Buddha’s Delight a few days ago and also Sticky Rice Cake and Boiled Dumplings the day before New Year’s Eve! And I made laddoos yesterday! Have you had them before? I wish I had chai to eat them with, hehe.
      Thank you! 🙂

      1. I’ve never had laddos. Only your everyday naan, pakora (yummy),
        Roti and koftas and one of my best and favorite beverages. Homemade Chia. 🙂 🙂 🙂
        Thank You for today’s cultural lesson.

      2. You’re welcome! Well technically naan isn’t really “everyday” since Indian people don’t have tandoori at home 🙂
        Laddoos are Indian desserts. Rava laddoos are made from semolina, coconut, nuts, raisins roasted in ghee/butter and combined with (a lot of) sugar, cardamom, saffron (optional) in the pan, then a little evaporated milk or half and half is added to form a dough, which is shaped into balls. It would be very tasty with chai but I never keep Indian black tea or fresh milk on hand so I can never make chai, hehe.
        I have to remember to get amchur powder sometime…
        By the way have you ever had Indian “pickles”? I always find it interesting how they are pickled in oil because Chinese pickles NEVER have oil. They seem extremely sour, spicy, salty, and oily so I’m honesty not sure if I should try any.
        You’re welcome 🙂

      1. While I can’t imagine finding the extra fish in a fish, it only reminded me of the video that went viral of a dead shark that got beached. A man seen that what was moving in the short were three live baby sharks that he extracted and threw back into the ocean when he pulled them out of the dead shark. How about a story like that on the day after you eat fish!!!

      2. Well, the little fish weren’t babies, but eaten prey which I think is more creepy or maybe the same? 😰
        Anyways, it removed my appetite for that fish. I made a soup with the fish head for my mom but I did not want to try it, lol. (Pan-fry both sides with 1 tbsp oil, add 3 cups water and 1/2 inch ginger julienned plus 1/8 tsp salt and 1 tsp Shaoxing wine, boil and cook over medium high covered until milky, I did 20 minutes, longer times don’t hurt, then add 1/2 package tofu cut into cubes, 1/2 tsp dashi powder, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp sugar, a little white pepper powder, cover and boil, then simmer 3-5 min., add some chopped cilantro, but I used basil, stir. Enjoy the soup unless you found 5 small fish inside the digestive tract of the fish the head came from 😓)

  2. I one time took a small taste of Indian ‘pickles’. I didnt think I would like it, and I was right. Too spicy/sour and definately needed to be eaten with food. I say this because I can and do eat American pickles straight out of the jar 🙂

    1. Yes, American pickles are totally fine eaten plain XD Other cultures have much stronger “pickles”. Definitely Indian pickles must be eaten in tiny amounts with other food. They also take forever to make, and it’s impossible to get sour green mangoes or Indian lemons (very small with thin peel) in USA for example (it is possible to get not-sour green mangoes though, but they cannot be used to make Indian pickles).

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