French Bean and Meat Stew
Frenchbean ma gos
Ma gos or with meat is how most Parsis eat their vegetable and meat. They did that with the influence of their Persian ancestors after all we are the people from Pars now mainly in India and Pakistan and more recently in North America. Have we all forgotten the "ma gos"? Yes, to a fair extent we have. The revival of this ancient cuisine in the past 5 years is remarkable. It is with much passion that the younger generation has started to embrace all things Parsi with much love. They may or may not have the luxury of revisiting India and Pakistan for a holiday but have so much access to our delightful, simple and healthy cuisine.
They are all turning to their grandparents for and encouragement. It is a good feeling to chat about it on facebook pages, have cooking demonstrations and now make videos on sharing how simple it can be.
This particular dish has subtle flavours. It is not spicy, nor oily nor complicated. Using fresh French beans is always the best.
1 tsp oil
1/2 kg - 1 lb bone in meat - lamb, mutton or goat
1 1/2 tsp crushed ginger
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup crushed fried onion
3 tomatoes that are finely chopped - 1 cup
3 finely chopped green chillies
1 kg -2.2lb french beans preferably cut at an angle
Heat the oil and add the meat to brown all over. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, salt and fried onions. Give it a good stir. Add 1 cup of water, bring it all to a boil and cover the pot. Lower the heat and cook the meat for 30 minutes. At this point the water should be almost evaporated and the meat half done. Add the tomatoes, chillies and the french beans. Mix well, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
Optionally add a pinch of sugar. It will bring out the natural sweetness of the beans.
Its on the very same basis that one adds salt to food.
The dish should be lushy and not watery at all. If there is any water like residue left over, turn the flame on high for a few minutes leaving the pot open to allow it to evaporate.
Do not turn the beans to mush. It should be cooked through but not pulp up.
This recipe is for fresh beans. If you are using frozen ones, leave it on a kitchen paper overnight for the water to be drained. Or you can dry them off in an oven and add it much later in the process, ensuring enough time to absorb the flavours. Or you may even stir fry the beans allowing the water to evaporate before adding it to the meat and spices.
To read about an ancient cuisine you can purchase my cookbooks called The World of Parsi Cooking; Food Across Borders and The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.
Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala