This is an Indian recipe (Sem aur khumbi) from the Madhur Jaffrey World Vegetarian which jumped out at me by surprise.

I was trying to find something to do with the green beans I bought at last week’s market and was thinking along the lines of stir-frying the beans with sesame seeds, but this is super-simple and used up some mushrooms I bought.

The recipe in the book calls for cumin seeds and garam masala, both of which are sadly lacking from my kitchen cupboard, so this is a poorly-stocked single-man’s variation.

  • Olive oil
  • 200g green beans, picked over and topped and tailed and then cut/snapped into 25mm segments
  • 125g mushrooms, cut into thick slices
  • 75g onion, sliced into thin half rings
  • 5g ginger, cut into fine slivers
  • 10g garlic (3 large cloves), finely chopped
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Start by frying a little cumin in the olive oil, then add the sliced onion and stir and fry over a medium-high heat until starting to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and fry until the garlic starts to turn golden.

Add the mushrooms and stir and fry them until they turn shiny and no longer look raw. Add the beans and spices and any seasoning, then stir and add a couple of cups of water. Bring to the boil, stir, then cover and allow to cook gently for fifteen minutes or until the beans are tender.

The recipe calls for teaspoons of the spices, so as this was a cut-down version of a recipe for four people, I respected the ratios but held back a bit. They should be one part coriander, and cayenne pepper, two parts cumin and half turmeric.

If you have a cumin seeds, they should be fried in the oil first before the onions. The one part garam masala should be added with the other spices, before the water.

Stir the beans and mushrooms half-way through the fifteen-minute cooking process, then uncover and boil away most of the liquid before serving with rice, or stuffed into a pitta bread.

Wednesday’s chard and chickpea fed me for three or four lunches – one bolstered with the corn on the cob I bought at the same time – and I was invited out for two evening meals.

On Saturday I somewhat extravagantly spent 20€ on lunch (tajine + sundries), was fed on Sunday for helping out a friend, and then had a bowl of soup and some bread yesterday for tea after a boiled egg and bread and butter for late breakfast.

On Saturday I also spent 11,02€ on various things in the organic shop (coffee, milk, mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, apples, and a lemon, because I want to try making my own hummus. I’ve also had two baguettes since Wednesday (1,10€ each).

This month so far it appears I have spent 37,98€ on food, including the tajine. I’m already over-budget, but shouldn’t have to get much else in for the next few days.

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