The first step is to rinse and trim a couple handfuls of fresh green beans and blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain from the boiling water, refresh under very cold water and set aside to cool off.
Next step, make a big pot of basmati rice. (I say big, but make as much as you're planning to eat, you might want to make a little less rice than you'd normally make since this rice will be tossed up with lots of other ingredients. (If you're making this dish for 4 or more people use a full cup of rice). While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish--when the rice is done, just switch off the heat and keep warm in the pot. Season with salt obvs.
Other ingredients you'll need:
- Ghee (you can also use coconut oil, rapeseed oil, or butter)
- Shallots (3-4 large banana shallots or at least 6 small ones) thinly sliced
- A large handful of cashew nuts
- About a cup of freshly grated coconut (I gat all my freshly grated coconut, frozen in bags in the freezer section of the grocery store, you're more likely to find this miracle product in ethnic grocery stores, or mainstream grocery stores in areas without a lot of white people basically.)
- Fresh curry leaves (hard to find but worth the effort)
- One regular cinnamon stick or my personal fave, Chinese cinnamon bark-- you can use a few of these more subtle but beautiful looking type of cinnamon.
- Mustard seeds (black or brown)
- Fresh coriander for finishing
In a LARGE frying pan, warm up some ghee on medium/high heat and add the coconut and cashews. Gently fry for several minutes until everything becomes intoxicatingly fragrant and the cashews take on a golden colour. The coconut will go from white to burnt pretty quickly so be sure to stir everything constantly, shake the pan and as soon as you see flex of coconut turning brown, remove from the pan into a clean bowl.
In the same pan, heat up some more ghee and add the mustard seeds, cinnamon, curry leaves and shallots and cook them until they're caramelised. Add the green beans, season with salt and saute for a few minutes. Switch off the heat.
For serving this dish there are 2 options (both lovely):
Option 1: Scoop out about half of the coconut/cashew mixture and mix into the rice. Transfer the rice into a large bowl or on to a deep serving platter and cover with the hot spiced green bean and shallot mixture. Top with the remaining coconut and cashews, more salt, and fresh coriander.
Option 2: Pour all the rice into the large pan with the spiced green beans and shallots. Gently fold the rice and veggies together and then add the coconut and cashews. Continue to stir until everything's well incorporated and scatter with coriander leaves and a good grind of salt.