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Spice of Life

Alamelu Vairavan, a Whitefish Bay resident, is an author and culinary instructor. Alamelu has a passion for educating the public about the use of spices and legumes in preparing healthy and tasty foods. She is also interested in educating the public about the growing research that points to the enormous health benefits of spices in preventing many diseases. Her mission is to enrich people's culinary experience and to inspire them to discover that cooking and sharing healthful foods can be an especially joyful experience.

Visit Alamelu's web site, CurryOnWheels.com.

Green Bay Packers Poriyal- A colorful stir-fry for Thanksgiving!

Green Bay Packers are great this season. They have continued where they left off  last year. I love the Packers and I also love their green and gold colors- not only in their uniforms but also in preparing my foods. The colors make my vegetables appealing and come alive.

Let us see… how we can make  “green beans”  a star vegetable on our dinner table for the holidays.  We will enhance “green beans” with lentils (yellow in color), ginger and coconut. Does it sound good? I assure you, that this dish with its vibrant colors will be so appealing to the eye and the palate that even the kids would love it. 

Green Beans cooked as a stir fry with  yellow split peas (or moong lentil), ginger and coconut is known as “Green Beans Poriyal” in South India. But I will suggest a different name: Green Bay Packers Poriyal!   I was so happy when this particular recipe from my cookbook, “Healthy South Indian Cooking”, appeared a couple of years ago in the newspaper, Green Bay Gazette, published in Green Bay, WI. It was recommended as a tailgate party dish for the Packer games!!  

The color of the dish is vibrant with a green and gold treatment. This dish  is appealing, wholesome and tasty. Coconut adds delicious richness and is used as a light garnish. Now you can try it in your kitchen for Thanksgiving or for any other occasion.

Green Beans Poriyal:   (Green Beans with Ginger and Coconut)

*1/4 cup yellow split peas or moong lentils

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp.cumin seeds

1/4  cup chopped onion

1/2  tsp. minced green chili

1 pound green beans, diced (stems removed) , about 3 cups

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1/4  tsp. salt (more, if desired)

*1/4 cup unsweetened coconut powder or fresh shredded coconut

1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add split peas or moong lentil with 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. If water  seem to evaporate while cooking, add 1 cup of water to lentil until they become soft and tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is warm add cumin seeds until they become toasted. Add onion and chilli. Stir for a minute.

3. Add green beans and stir into above mixture. Add ginger, salt and 2 tablespoons water to facilitate the cooking process. Stir and cook covered over medium heat. When beans are crisp tender add cooked split peas (moong lentil) and coconut powder. Stir and serve warm.

(Yellow split peas are available in small packets in regular grocery stores and yellow  moong lentil, powdered coconut, and fresh shredded coconut in the freezer.. are available in natural food stores like Outpost and in Whole Foods. This recipe is a slightly varied recipe from our cookbook to make all  ingredients easily available from local grocery stores.)

Go Packers Go and Happy Thanksgiving!

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