Green Bean Indian Stir Fry

dsc_1640RECIPE #377, DAY #544


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Snake Gourd Stir Fry”/”Padavalanga Thoran,” from somewhere on the internet, several years ago*

TIMING: 15 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy

TOOLS: Wok and flat-sided wooden spoon

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: We’re on a kick lately, but there is just nothing wrong with serving this up with a protein and grain. And it helps that it’s so addictive you’ll want to eat more veggies than anything else.
dsc_1638EXPERIENCE: When I was in India, in Tamil Nadu, I mostly ate lunch with a very humble group of gals who ate almost the same thing every day: a tangy tamarind broth, rice, a lentil dal, and stir fried snake gourd. When I came home, I longed to recreate some of those tastes to share with those I love and also to taste those combinations again.

But where does one find snake gourd? I couldn’t locate it, even at the Asian markets. So what did I do? Modify the recipe to work with an American staple: green beans. It’s different, but it totally works.

NOTES: You can either use French green beans and cut them into 1-inch segments, or you can use a thicker green bean and slice it real thin so that it is almost a hot chutney. Good either way.

Although they look pretty, you are not meant to eat the curry leaves, or probably either the red chilies.


  1. Thinly slice 16 ounces French or standard green beans on the bias.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the green beans and stir fry until tender. Salt and move to a large mortar with 1 minced green chile, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and a pinch of cumin seed, than smash lightly with a pestle.
  3. Heat another 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil with 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and fry until the splutter. Add 2 dried red chilies and 3 curry leaves and stir until mustard seeds stop spluttering. Add the beans back in. Salt to taste. Serve.


Serve with an Indian entree–like Tandoori or a dal–rice, and a tamarind broth soup.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: This is fine leftover for a few days, either cold or re-heated. You could also mound it on top of an Indian soup.

*Recipe changed from the original.



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