Shannon’s Grandmother-in-law’s Cilantro Green Beans
By Shannon Cusick
A grandmother-in-law’s green beans are gold.
My husband, Kiran, and I both grew up having big Thanksgiving meals at our family homes. We live on the East Coast now, so we do Thanksgiving with my family, where the tradition is each person cooks one dish for the meal. It usually draws from traditional Thanksgiving fare. Kir’s family is Indian by descent, and a lot of the big family gatherings feature Indian dishes — barvaan baingan, or little stuffed eggplants, daal, chapati. You could taste the care his grandmother put into her cooking.
As adults, my husband and I are both vegetarian. In the past, people have suggested we make a tofurkey or basically try to replicate the turkey part of Thanksgiving, vegetarian style. But it’s not important, or even delicious, to replicate meat with a non meat — we don’t feel left out of the meat-eaters dishes. Plus, there are so many great fall vegetables that are more delicious, natural and beautiful to present.
So when my husband started making a dish to share at my parents’ traditional Thanksgiving table, he used his grandmother’s green bean recipe — a nod to his Indian heritage and a delish vegetarian addition to the meal.
Kiran’s Grandmother’s Green Beans
Put as much love as possible into this dish, and it might taste like your grandma made it.
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
3 green chilis
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
3 tablespoons neutral oil
1 teaspoon red mustard seeds
3 whole cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons dried coriander [Editor’s note: Did you know coriander and cilantro are the same thing?]
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
extra chopped cilantro, for garnish
In a large pan, heat oil and saute the mustard seeds and cloves. After a few minutes add the beans to the infused oil, making sure to coat beans thoroughly. Push the beans to the side of the pan. In the center of the pan, add the rest of the ingredients, cooking until fragrant. Then stir in the green beans, coating well. Do not add water! Cook on medium heat, stirring from time to time. When beans are cooked and crunchy, remove from heat and scatter chopped cilantro before serving.