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Green beans and sweet potatoes

University days…grown up, independent and wanting more independence, I moved into my friend’s place to be closer to the university is what reasoning I could come up with at best! It is a distant memory and I think I lasted just a month or two away from my parents!

What I did come away with from this experience was the awesome simple cooking that my friend Priya would come up with. She has always been a brave one, fiercely independent, dedicated, intelligent and strong! She took care of everything, including the "bai," who would come help her in the mornings. One of those mornings, before going to class, she was busy preparing a green beans and potato dish and I could not help but admire the speed with which she executed this wonder! Simple, delicious and marvelously fragrant, the concoction was spiced by her mom’s homemade spices. If I remember correctly, it was garam masala, ground coriander and ground cumin.

Back at our place, we would always have green beans that were painstakingly cut at an angle, precise, dainty little bits that were sauted in onion and other spices, yummy and an art in itself. So this new version of snapping beans and preparing them in a snap was a great idea for me that has stuck on, even after so many years since.

The recipe below is one that I have altered from my friend’s basic one to include my own rai masala, or spiced mustard. You could also use garam masala or roasting spices, all of which work great. This is a simple, wholesome dish you could make any time of the year and yes, it is chock full of fiber! The salt and spices wake up the green beans and the sweet potato, slightly crisped at the edges, contrasts the texture of the beans.


Green beans: 1 pound, washed and snapped into 1/4 inch pieces

Sweet potato: 1 (you could use regular potato of any kind, red is great)

Sea salt

About 2-3 tsp of either one of the following spice blends: Spiced mustard blend, garam masala or roasting spices (you could use less if you like)

Olive oil (any cooking oil is OK, but I love the flavor of extra virgin olive oil in this preparation)


Heat oil in a pan. Add sweet potato dices and stir and saute until a little golden. Add the green beans, stir and saute uncovered for 5 min. Now cover with a lid and cook until the beans are tender (the potato will be too). When done to the consistency you like, uncover the pan, add the Spiced Mustard Blend or Garam Masala or Roasting Spices, salt and stir for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh Cilantro or serve as is. This is simply delicious.

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