Green Beans with Toasted Mustard Seeds and Garlic

 I should probably re-label this the determined Green Beans with Toasted Garlic and Mustard seeds, because for some reason this site has been a little resistant in allowing me to post this recipe. It pretty much wiped it out the first time around.

Maybe it is upset at being the second fiddle to this whole foods contest, where this recipe ended up winning and paying for itself. Ha! But seriously speaking, I like to think that my seasonal take on Indian cooking could use all the endorsement it gets and a contest like this helps! The feedback and emails from my weekly small bites column also helps!

Down to other thoughts and speaking of small bites, my fellow columist JL, wrote a post about how she accidently ate food that was well, non-vegan. This generated a lot of controversy and while the traffic for the blog was good news it got me thinking. about opinions and food preferences. I realize that as someone who in my small way am espousing a choice and preference (seasonal eating is a choice), and writing about it in an open forum I too am voicing an opinion, but do I really have the right to impose this choice or speak about someone who eats and feels differently.

Growing up in a country where more than half the people still lead a vegetarian lifestyle, I cannot help wondering why we have disected food into so many categories – vegan, paleo, you get the drift. Worse yet, why do we feel when we have decided to eat a certain way for phillosophical, ethical or even health reasons that our way is the right way? And by the way what about taste? I bring this boring concept into the equation, mostly because I have realized that over 50% of the recipes on this blog, interestingly enough happen to be vegan. This just happens to be the preffered way of cooking them. Of course, you can ask why the hell do I even tag them in these categories? This is for a lot of my students and the few followers who express an interest in this kind of cooking. I guess, what I am trying to say in my own special way is why can’t we live and let live? Well, now that you have my unwanted and strange ramblings on a rainy summer night, here is the very simple and fresh tasting recipe, which yes, is vegan, vegetarian and guaranteed to offend my MIL. I shall tell you after the recipe why.



Green Beans with Toasted Mustard and garlic

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 27 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6

A light and lively rendition of green beans, garlicky with a nice dose of mellow tempered heat!


  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 11/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 4 pods)
  • 3/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes or to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Trim the beans and finely chop the beans (I like to cut them into small breadth wise slivers).
  2. Heat the oil and the butter on medium heat for a minute and add in the mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle and pop, this takes about 30 seconds.
  3. Turn off the heat for a minute or so and then turn back the heat on low and add in the garlic and gently cook until the garlic is pale golden and fragrant. This takes less than a minute and it is important to make sure that the garlic does not get burnt or it will taste bitter and ruin the dish.
  4. Add in the green beans and stir well with the red chili powder and the salt and stir well.
  5. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the beans are cooked through.The beans are soft with a slight hint of crunch in this recipe.
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Ok, just in case you are interested, back to the MIL…

She does do milk and dairy, why because you are not killing anything but simply using milk, to her this is as natural as nursing your child. However, anything in the allium family, onion and and garlic to be specific is live, potent and if you are to subscribe to a certain variety of hindu thinking, bad for life. So, there you have it, I have honestly concluded, it is really not possible to eat and please everyone.

However, eat, cook and do what makes you happy!

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  1. Susan says:

    I’m glad you managed to get this recipe posted. I’ve made it twice now and it’s a serious winner. Best way to eat my garden beans this past year, bar none. And thanks for the detailed description about the heat, seeds and the garlic addition. I will use that again in other recipes. It’s really easy to burn garlic while stir-frying and this technique worked great! Thanks!

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