My mother started cooking when she was in elementary school. By the age of 13, she had taken over the entire kitchen. Today, at 28, I can barely boil an egg. Okay, okay. I can follow a recipe but I can’t manage the free-flowing cooking style my mother has mastered. She throws a few spices in the pot, adds some ginger, garlic, onion and voila! — it’s a dinner party for 20. After my grandmother passed away last October, I promised myself I would learn how to cook from my mother. It’s happening — one dish at a time.
So here we go, Aerogrammers! It’s Pakistani cooking 101 at its finest: Aloo and string beans.
- String Beans
- Aloo [Potatoes]
- Ginger Paste
- Red Pepper
- Ground Cordiander
Step 1: Prep the Stars of the Show
Wash a bundle of fresh string beans. For this recipe, I happened to get the long beans from the Asian market so I used those.
Chop them into little one-inch length pieces. Grab a couple aloo [potatoes]. Take out the eyes.
Step 2: Recruit the Sensational Sidekicks
Take half an onion. Chop it up and pour it into a pan with a generous dollop of vegetable oil on medium heat.
Mince a handful of garlic. Toss it in with the onions.
Step 3: Become a Mistress (or Manstress) of Spices
Chop up your aloo into tiny, bite-sized squares.Throw the aloo into the pan of onions and garlic. Add a chopped tomato. Add a heaping teaspoon (actual teaspoon) of red pepper, half a teaspsoon of tumeric, a teaspoon of ground coriander, a teaspsoon of cumin seeds and a teaspoon of salt.
Throw in some ground ginger.
You can use fresh ginger, but sometimes I like to cheat and use the ginger paste from my local Indian grocery store.
Cover the aloo and let them steam for five minutes. Add string beans.
Let the entire mixture steam for 20-30 minutes on medium heat. Occasionally stir. When the aloo and string beans are soft, serve over a plate of rice.
Step 4: Eat As Much As You Can, Put the Rest Away In a Tiffin
You can find Kishwer Vikaas on Twitter at @phillygrrl.