Malaysian spiced green bean salad
Last week my husband and I went on our first date together in over a year.
It has been a momentous month since the last recipe I shared. We attended the weddings of two cousins; smiling, colour-clad, swung between nostalgia and envisaging the future and all the while joyfully exhausted. My uniformed baby started nursery school and the first day was full of new and unanticipated juxtapositions; flowing tears, knots of loss, wholesome growth and untainted pride. My new baby nephew arrived, perfect and scrumptiously complete. The husband travelled to Kuwait and India, whilst I juggled a new phase of life with ending a continuous stretch of lectures since the start of the year. We planned new developments with our home and made many new friends with a whole different mind-set and outlook, but we share a common thread. I learned to be honest enough and let go of doing things that don’t bring me joy and well, we went on a date.
How possibly could it feel so peculiar to not be ‘mumma’ for a couple of hours? To talk to my husband without, ‘mum I need to ask you a question’ or to hold hands without a possessive boy intervening and stealing my hand? To have actual conversation about what we had read, observed or interesting conversations we’d had through the week? To smile, without having to request crayons in the restaurant or just very simply, to look at each other.
To the many colours of life, and the many colours of us; to trying to balance and well – letting something, one thing overcomes the rest. To my green bean salad in a loud and Malaysian spiced curry paste with juicy and succulent tomatoes and nutty topping. To smiling to it all.
Ingredients to serve 3-4 as a side salad
250g green beans
2 golden beetroot, peeled and grated
150g mixed baby plum tomatoes, halved.
3 tbsp. desiccated coconut
3 tbsp. almonds
For the curry paste
1 medium sized pink onion
1 tbsp. lemongrass puree
½ tbsp. galangal or ginger
4-5 dried red chillies, soaked in warm water
150ml coconut milk
½ tsp. ground turmeric
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
2 tbsp. tamarind paste
Salt to taste
The juice of half a lime
1 tsp. tomato puree (optional)
2 tbsp. sesame oil
- Blitz together the onion, chillies, turmeric, tomato paste, lemongrass and galangal, into a smooth paste.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, and then add the paste. On a gentle flame cook the paste until the oil rises to the top.
- Now stir in the kaffir lime leaves, tamarind paste, coconut milk, and cinnamon, salt to taste and bring the paste to a simmer. Squeeze in the lime juice and simmer for approximately 20minutes on a low-medium flame until the paste is reduced, thick, aromatic and lightly browned.
- Simmer the green beans in boiling water for about 4 minutes and then drain them and rinse them in cold water.
- Toast the coconut and flaked almonds until they catch a light golden colour and then remove them from the heat.
- Once the paste is cooked, turn off the heat and combine it evenly with the green beans.
- Layer the salad with the spiced green beans, tomatoes, gold beetroot and the almonds and coconut. Make sure to serve and enjoy it warm.