NORTH East food writer and private chef Maunika Gowardhan specialises in fresh regional Indian cookery.
The 33-year-old, who also hosts workshops where she shares her recipes, cooking secrets and ideas on regional Indian cooking, has her own website, www.cookinacurry.co.uk
Maunika lives in Gosforth, Newcastle, with husband Bharat, a surgeon, and young son Johann.
She shares with us her recipe for spiced Indian green beans, a tasty twist on greens.
She says: “This spiced Indian green beans dish is a summer favourite in a lot of Indian households and something of a childhood family favourite too!”
“I love a hearty curry though to my mind an Indian meal made from scratch does not have to mean a lengthy cooking process.
“Spiced Indian green beans are just that; bright green beans gleaming in infused oils coated in mustard and chilli, but still making it the star of the dish rather than a supporting act to one.
“It’s a dish with very few ingredients but those that wake up your taste buds. Serve warm with a sprinkling of coriander, lime and sea salt. I love eating with some flaky buttery paratha and yoghurt as a light summer addition.”
Maunika says curry leaves, dried red chillies and mustard seeds are all spices that are synonymous with Maharashtra in Goa, in the west of India and southern India too.
“They are used generously in most of our traditional home-cooked menus. The dried red chillies impart a mild smoky earthy heat with a very distinct flavour. Though if you prefer you can use fresh chillies, but make sure to vary quantities based on how hot you like your dish.”
She adds: “The recipe also includes a teaspoon of coriander powder which I feel enhances and blends together the taste of the overall dish.”
View Maunika’s website at www.cookinacurry.co.uk
SPICED INDIAN GREEN BEANS
300g green beans
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 dried whole red chillies
5-7 curry leaves
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
Finely chopped fresh coriander to garnish
Heat water in a small sauce pan (about 2 litres) and bring to the boil.
Add the beans to the water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and run them under cold water and set aside.
In a frying pan heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the asafoetida and mustard seeds. Let the seeds crackle and pop.
Now add the whole red chillies and curry leaves followed by the beans.
Stir the beans well and warm through on a low flame for a couple of minutes.
Tip in the coriander powder and salt. Stir well.
Cover the pan and take it off the heat. Just before serving add the lime juice and chopped coriander.