Years ago when on a business trip to Kenya – I was taken by the British High Commission in Nairobi, to see a vegetable packing plant where the Kenyan ladies were packing these freshly picked green beans, baby corn and mange tout for UK stores like Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco. The best beans are picked very early in the morning, washed and prepared in three ways -either left whole, left with just the top and bottom chopped or cut into tiny pieces. This was being done under strict hygienic conditions. They even had a British Airways Cargo container at the factory where the vegetable boxes would be labelled – showing which farm the crop came from and the date picked etc. before loading them in the container. These beans were flown out the same evening from Kenya and they got to UK early morning for the market wholesalers to pick up. It was an amazing visit and since that day I have always looked with wonder at the beans and other vegetables from abroad and appreciate the fact that the some of the best crops are exported to UK where people like me can enjoy cooking them.
These beans cook really fast and are so tasty that they don’t need much effort to prepare.
2 medium potatoes -washed and diced.
2 cups of chopped Kenyan beans
oil (Most cooking oils are fine but try and use one which is low in saturated
fats and trans fats)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chilly powder (or as required to your taste)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of ground cummin (jeera) powder.
Half cup of tinned tomatoes.
2 teaspoons lemon
1 teaspoons of brown sugar or jaggery.
small bunch of fresh coriander.
1. Dice the potatoes into cubes and the beans into very small pieces and soak them in cold water.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
3. Add the mustard seeds. They should start popping – if not, stir them with a wooden spoon and wait for them to pop.
4. Drain and add the diced potatoes and beans and add them to the saucepan.
5. Add the salt, turmeric, chilly powder, cumin powder, garlic (small pieces or crushed) sugar or jaggery and stir well.
6. Transfer this mixture to a microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes
7. Add only half a cup of water and cook for a further 5 minutes in the microwave. Check to see if the potatoes have softened. If not give it another 2 minutes. Everyone’s microwave is different so the timing could vary.
8 . One the potatoes are soft soft, add the tomatoes and lemon juice and let it cook for 5 minutes. Don’t add too many tomatoes to this curry and make it dry. The whole cooking process for me was 10 minutes in the microwave as the beans were so fresh and tender.
9. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with hot chappatis.
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