I’ve mentioned that I’ve been a teensy unwell and my good friend Helene from Masala Herb has jumped to my rescue with a fantastic post about yard long beans. I’ve never cooked with them but after looking at this, I can’t wait to give them a go. If you don’t already follow Helene’s blog, please visit. She’s originally from Austria but lives in the seaside city of Goa in India. Her blog is fascinating.
Howdy! Maureen is taking a break today, so that I can introduce you to one of my favourite Asian vegetables, the Yard long beans. Those light greenish long beans are a great alternative to the common bean vegetables. I always compare them to French beans, because of the long shape but just that they are 10 times longer in length ( I might exaggerate here) and they are also a tiny bit larger. The difference between yard long beans and French beans is mainly the texture and the way the yard long beans grow. Also, they are nothing like the bitter Guar Beans, another common bean type in India, no; the flesh flavour is plainer and less juicy.
The first time I saw yard long beans, I was shocked. The length is incredible and so confusing. I mean how many vegetables do you know that are that long? The only other vegetables that come to my mind are the Ridge gourd and Snake gourd, however those are not that skinny and fragile looking. Now don’t misunderstand me, yard long beans are indeed quite strong if you try to pull them apart but they look like nothing I have ever seen before.
I am not sure if you have encountered or cooked with yard long beans before since they seem to be very much unknown to the world. Not only do the long vegetable strings resemble French beans, you can use them the same way in many Indian and International recipes. The only difference is that you will have to cut the yard long beans into smaller pieces before you can even think of cooking them.
I decided to take it easy for today so that you get an idea on how to use the Yard Long beans effectively in your daily meal planning. Therefore I chose to make one of my frequent salad sides with French dressing. The idea to use yard long beans instead of French beans came when I couldn’t buy French beans in the market a few years back. That doesn’t happen too often because French beans have turned into a staple here in Goa, but that day I was really bummed. I had to come up quickly with a solution for my lunch dilemma so the next option was to give the yard long beans a chance in a salad.
It is said that yard long beans should be stir fried and not cooked in water because they lose some of their juiciness when boiled but the Goan yard long beans bhaji for example is first barely fried for a minute with onion and tomato and then water is quickly added to cover the beans so that they can cook until soft. Honestly I don’t think they are that dry after cooking in water. I feel it’s more important that you buy young and still very fresh yard long beans for this salad and of course you shouldn’t over cook them.
I like to add some tomatoes and spring onions for some bonus flavours, together with some tuna flakes and dijon mustard French dressing to make it even more interesting. Of course, if you are not able to organize yard long beans in your locality, then maybe you might just want to use simple ol’ French beans. It’s still an option but the point of this post is to introduce you to a yard long beans dish with western style flavours. I hope you‘ll get a chance to try them out soon and maybe you’ll have some preparation and recipe ideas to share soon.
Have you ever tried Yard long beans?
- 100 grams Yard long beans
- 1 Tomato
- 1-2 Tablespoons sliced fresh Spring Onion
- Canned Tuna flakes
- 1 Tablespoon White wine vinegar
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 3 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon style grain mustard
- Rinse your Yard long beans so that all impurities are removed. Cut off both ends of the beans and cut your beans with a knife or kitchen scissors into about 3-4 centimetre long pieces (or smaller if you prefer). I tend to use the scissors, way faster.
- Keep them in a pot, cover with water (not too much water) and cook on a medium flame for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked. Strain, let cool and keep in the fridge until further use.
- Wash your Tomato and spring onion. Quarter the tomato and slice thin and slice your spring onion too. Get the tuna and flake into smaller pieces. Keep all ingredients in a bowl or plate with the previously cooked Yard long beans and mix carefully.
- For the dressing grab a jar with a lid. Add the Vinegar, salt and pepper first, close the jar and shake. Salt doesn’t get mixed in oil, that’s why we need to dissolve it first in the vinegar. Then add the oil and mustard, close the lid and shake well again until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and enjoy. If there is some dressing left, just store it in a closed jar in the fridge and use it for something else.
- Cook time: 10 minutes
- Preparation: 10 minutes
- Serves 1 plate