French beans with sesame seeds

French beans with sesame seeds

Reza’s Indian Spice
4-6 as a side dish

You must try this dish. For those who don’t like their greens, this is one that will convert you. It is a fantastic accompaniment to a roast dinner, but so versatile that it will go with a pulao, a biryani or the Baked Baby Aubergines as a showing off dish. Make sure the water for blanching the beans is really well salted; it will turn them bright green and get rid of any impurities, and is all washed off anyway in the iced water bath. The lime and sugar sends it to a different level, while the spices have that wonderful south Indian influence.


Quantity Ingredient
400g french beans
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
generous pinch asafoetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated root ginger
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chopped coriander


  1. Top and tail the beans, de-string and cut into 2.5cm lengths if necessary, depending on the size and age of the beans. Blanch in boiling salted water for three or four minutes. Drain, and immediately plunge the beans into cold water to prevent further cooking. When cold, drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Pour 2 tbsp of oil into a non-stick frying pan or wok and place on a high heat. As soon as it starts to smoke, add the asafoetida, mustard, cumin and fennel seeds as well as the curry leaves. As soon as they begin to pop and splutter, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until the onion is soft and beginning to brown at the edges. Now add the chilli and stir-fry for a few seconds, before adding the drained beans. Heat through, continuing to stir.
  3. Finally add the sugar, lime juice, toasted sesame seeds and the chopped coriander, taste, and add more salt if you think it needs it. Serve immediately.
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