Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
An Indian Side Dish Goes Mainstream - Potato and Green Bean Chatt
An Indian Side Dish Goes Mainstream -
Potato and Green Bean Chatt

I seem to have become an avid collector of flexible side dish recipes. A “flexible” recipe for me must meet quite stringent criteria. It can fit comfortably in several slots of a menu, as a starter, salad, side dish or vegetable course. It tastes equally good served warm, room temperature, or chilled. And most importantly, despite a strong flavorful personality, it must get along well with many types of foods and cuisines. Potato and Green Bean Chatt is my latest such discovery.

Because of its Indian background I first served it with Grilled Tandoori Lamb chops. The fresh mint in the Chatt complemented the lamb, as mint traditionally does, but it also offered a cooling contrast to the spicy heat of the Tandoori flavors.

Despite its Indian origins this chatt is not limited to an Indian menu. The warm cumin flavor makes it a perfect partner for Mexican food. Its bold seasonings of lemon, mint, and mild spiciness complement the simplicity of broiled fish, roasted chicken, or grilled beef. Served cold as a potato salad, it goes well with almost any simple sandwich.

And those concerned about their fat and sodium intake will appreciate the complete lack of fat in this recipe and how little salt is needed, unusual for a potato dish (although when served chilled, the flavors are muted and it needs just a bit more salt).

Potato and Green Bean Chatt has earned a place in my “flexible side dish” files, right alongside previous favorites such as Summertime Roasted Tomatoes and Onions, Beet and Feta Salad, and Tortellini with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.

Potato and Green Bean Chat
Adapted from Sunset Magazine May 1989
Yield 6 servings

1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
6 medium-size red thin-skinned potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 lb. total)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
Mint sprigs for garnish

In a 5- to 6-quart pot, bring about 3 quarts water and a spoonful of salt to boiling. Add green beans and cook uncovered until just tender, about 6 - 8 minutes. Lift out beans with tongs and immerse in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and dry.

Add whole potatoes to boiling water and simmer, covered, until tender when pierced, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain and let cool until comfortable to handle.

Meanwhile mix together cumin, cayenne, black pepper, coriander, mustard, and hot water. Cut green beans into 1 - 1/2-inch lengths.

Peel potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes, and place in a large bowl. Pour water-spice mixture over potatoes, toss lightly and let stand about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To potatoes, add green beans, chopped mint, onion, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Mix gently and pour into a shallow bowl. Garnish with mint sprigs.

May be served warm, room temperature or chilled.

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