Summer is my favourite season, for many reasons. Not only because I hate the cold and wish that I could spend my life lying on the beach, but also because of the variety of vegetables that are available during Summer; the other day I found green beans at the market that were so cheap they were almost giving them away. Green beans are my absolute favourite, I will them whenever I can, often even just raw as a little snack. When I was six years old, one of my birthday presents was a ginormous bag of green beans and it remains one of my favourite presents of all time.
So I left the market with a 500gram bag of beans which cost me all of 27cents, I was ecstatic! However, I got home and realised that I had half a kilo of beans all for myself and they did not look like they were going to last very long so I had to find a way of using them ASAP.
This is an adapted recipe of loubieh bi zeit, a Middle Eastern dish that I discovered a couple of months back (as you might be able to guess, it is basically entirely beans). This is so quick and easy that I think it makes a perfect lunchtime meal, as a side salad for dinner or as a dish to take and serve cold at barbeque or picnic at the beach.
For this recipe you will need:
a large quantity of beans (I probably used between 200 and 250grams)
half a green capsicum
half a red capsicum
a clove of garlic
half a diced onion
a can of tomatoes or a fresh tomato
a decent collection of herbs and spices
However this is completely a guide; I added the capsicum because they were other things that I had which I thought would go nicely, I didn’t use the tomatoes because I didn’t have them, so you can add or subtract anything you want.
Firstly, thinly slice the capsicums and break off the ends of the beans. Place the beans in a pot of boiling water, after five minutes add the capsicum and boil for a further five minutes before draining and setting to the side. I added the capsicum later than the beans because I wanted them to retain their a firmer texture to contrast the soft beans.
While they are cooking sauté the onions and garlic in a dash of olive oil, by the time they are nice and soft and slightly translucent the other vegetables should be done. Turn the heat of the pan up and add the vegetables; they should sizzle! This is what is going to help make the beans to get a little bit fried and crispy which is what I like so much about this dish, beans that are both soft and crunchy.
After a couple of minutes add whatever spices and herbs you have.
I combined a teaspoon of curry powder
a teaspoon of paprika
a teaspoon of cumin
a teaspoon of sweet red pepper powder
a teaspoon of herbs de Provence
a dash of salt and pepper
I know this sounds like a lot but it needs to be in order to coat the beans well.
I also added some sesame seeds and some ‘Orgasmic Buddha’, I have no idea what this actually is, I found it in the cupboard and thought that I was hilarious.
Add the spice mix and turn the heat down, you don’t want to burn the spices or your smoke detector will not be too pleased. Stir constantly for a few minutes and it’s done! If you are using the version with to tomatoes add you still have a bit to do; add them and bring to the boil before leaving to simmer for about 10 minutes. Now you’re done.
This dish is so simple, and so delicious. Perfect for any time of year, the spices will warm you up on a cold evening or get you sweating to cool off in the middle of Summer!