beans with coconut

Green beans, grated coconut and the tiniest amount of oil makes this common Tamil dish, fansi poriyal, simple, light and healthy.

Poriyal is a generic term used to refer to dry vegetable curries and is an indispensable part of a Tamil thali.  Poriyal can be served as a light meal, with rice or bread, it could be a side dish or a course on its own.

The flavouring of the oil with spices, tempering, is a common South Indian technique. This flavoured oil is either used to cook the dish, or added after it is cooked, as in tarka dal.

You could substitute different vegetables; I have found peas work well and I have found carrots do not. I recommend not mixing vegetables, as this dish features the simple taste of one vegetable. We have other recipes for mixed vegetables and dishes for other vegetables.

Do not over-cook this. You want the beans to still have a crisp texture. Also, do not overdo the chilli. It is meant to have some bite but go too far and you will lose the balance of flavour.

the recipe

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  • 250 g green beans - trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces
  • 2 tsp split black lentils - (urad dal)

for tempering

to serve

  • 2 tbsp coconut - grated


  • Place the urad dal for tempering in some warm water and allow to soak for 10 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, drained urad dal, asafoetida powder and curry leaves.
  • When the mustard seeds splutter, add the beans and chilli, then stir together for three minutes.
  • Add two tablespoons of water and the salt. Simmer gently with the lid on the pan for five minutes or until the beans have just cooked, but still retain crunch.

to serve

  • Remove from heat, add coconut, stir gently, and serve.


  • Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different from the Asian sesame oil. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable.

private notes

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Serving: 75 g | Calories: 79 kcal | Carbohydrates: 8 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 5 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Sodium: 298 mg | Potassium: 200 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 602 IU | Vitamin C: 54 mg | Calcium: 42 mg | Iron: 2 mg

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