broccolini & green bean salad with curry leaves & fresh coconut

I’ll keep this post short and sweet, because the end of year crazies are getting to me and I’d like table twenty eight to retain a readership.

Last week I made a snap decision to take the week of Christmas off to recover and recharge, as I think I reached the end of my annual cerebral allowance a few weeks ago and am now just running on fumes.

In the effort not to forget anything and trying to remember from minute to minute why I’ve walked into a particular room or decipher what I’ve madly scribbled on a particular post-it note, there’s a constant bedlam of haphazard thoughts charging around my brain, often emerging in garbled mutterings to myself, and then sudden vocal outbursts when lucid thoughts manage to break through – ‘GhfhrhgnrrmnCHRISTMASCAKEfghrrhfhnfhrngfPETROLfhrghhfhgnrggghhMILK!fgrhegr hjfhreghngCUPOFTEA…’

So before I get distracted and go off on a tangent, I’ll direct you to the recipe at hand – Yotam Ottolenghi’s broccolini and green bean salad with curry leaves and fresh coconut.

This inventive combination may sound intimidating due to a list of exotic ingredients but don’t be fooled – it’s dead easy.

Fresh coconuts have become much easier to come by (the brown rough-skinned type, not the young drinking coconuts) and you just need a couple of household tools handy to open them up.

Use a screwdriver to drill open two of the eyes (one of the three will always be easier than the other two) and drain the coconut water into a glass – perfect refreshment while you’re cooking.

You can then use a hammer to bang along the equator of coconut until it splits or alternatively – as I did – head outside and drop the coconut a few times on concrete paving until it cracks open.

I also had issues with hunting down frozen edamame beans so used shelled broad beans instead, which still worked very well. The combination of black mustard seeds, lime and curry leaves is so wonderfully aromatic… I guarantee you’ll be making this dish again.

broccolini & green bean salad with curry leaves & fresh coconut

adapted slightly from ‘plenty more’ by yotam ottolenghi

2 bunches of broccolini (or purple sprouting broccoli), trimmed 2 handfuls of green beans (haricots verts), trimmed ½ cup shelled frozen edamame (or substitute with broad beans) 1 medium brown onion, finely diced 2 ½ tsp black mustard seeds 30 fresh curry leaves (or 40 dried curry leaves) 1 – 3 whole dried chillies (depending on your taste) 2 fresh limes ⅔ cup of coriander (cilantro) leaves ⅔ cup coarsely grated fresh coconut sea salt olive oil

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

Carefully add the broccolini stems and green beans. Blanch for a few minutes until just tender but still with bite.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat the vegetables dry and transfer to large serving bowl or platter.

If you’re using edamame, bring the saucepan of water back to the boil and blanch them for a couple of minutes. Transfer to your colander, run under cold water, pat dry and scatter over the other green vegetables.

Alternatively, if you’re using broad beans like I did, remove the tough outer shells from the individual beans and add directly to the broccolini and green beans (you won’t need to blanch them as they’re already tender enough).

Sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt over the vegetables. Stir and set aside until needed.

Add a few glugs of olive oil to a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and a pinch of sea salt to the pan, and gently cook for several minutes until soft.

Add the black mustard seeds and when the seeds begin to pop, add the curry leaves and chillies. Use a vegetable peeler to remove wide strips of zest from the limes and add to the frypan. Sauté everything for another couple of minutes, before pouring the fragrant mixture over the top of the vegetables.

Gently turn the salad over with your fingers and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, squeeze the juice of the limes over the top of the salad. Add the coriander leaves and grated fresh coconut, then gently toss and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

angelica talen

photographer & stylist

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