Cowpea Beans Stir-fry with Coconut / Alasande Palya
Cowpea beans have been a regular fixture at home. French beans were slightly more expensive compared to cowpea ones. That’s why they made the cut. They’re simply stir fried with a tadka of mustard seeds, urad and channa dal, curry leaves and dried chillies. The dals give it a nutty flavour and add a crunch to the dish. There’s no masala or too much salt to kill these beans. Adding freshly grated coconut in the end gives the dish some added texture and freshness.
It’s quite common in Mangalore/Udupi not to overcook our veggies. We steam the vegetables with a splash of water and keep it covered. You not only retain the freshness but also keep the colour bright, this way. On my Instagram, I am often asked how I keep my vegetables as green as I do. This is how. Don’t kill them! When my veggies are mostly light, I make my dal or curry with spices and chillies. Just to balance things out.
Cowpea beans – 250 gm, cut into small pieces
Coconut oil – 2 tsp
Channa dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Freshly grated coconut – 1/2 cup loosely packed
Salt – 1 tsp (alter according to taste)
Bring the oil up to heat in a nonstick pan and add the mustard seeds, urad and channa dals, and red chillies.
Let them all splutter and let the dals turn lightly brown. Add the curry leaves. Step back.
Now tip the beans in and give it all a good mix. Add some salt.
Add a splash of water (I’d say around 2 tbsp worth). Cover with a lid immediately and lower the flame to medium.
After about 3-4 mins or when it looks like the water has dried out, take the lid off and give it a stir.
Add another splash of water and repeat.
By now the beans should be cooked. Taste for doneness and salt. Adjust or cook some more if needed.
Let there be a bite to the beans and don’t cook it till it’s too soft.
Turn the heat off and add the coconut. Give it a mix.
That’s about it.
You can apply this to carrots, other beans, beetroot, potatoes, ivy gourd, and many more vegetables.
I served it with spinach dal curry and rice.