Sunday, 30 June 2013

Farash Bean Qeema - Pakistani style Minced Meat & French Beans

Apologies for a month long radio silence. June was busy.  1st 10 days were unproductive due to a weird and stubborn strain of flu I had picked up. The later half had been busy due to the visit from my favorite people on planet earth. Oh the joys of sibling reunions. I do hope we get to use Star trek’s “beam me up Scoty"  teleporter transporter in our life times so atleast I could see my favorite people for tea & samosay every evening. Oh how much I wish! Anyhow…let’s get to cooking.

As a teenager I hated French beans in any form what so ever.  Somehow things changed post teens. I developed appreciation for many foods which I disliked as a teenager. I guess this is in some way what is called growing up!  In Urdu language, French Green beans are called Farash Beans. Its availability is seasonal in Pakistan and one can find it easily as the autumn season begins around October. In my household it was cooked with minced meat or with potatoes and eaten with chappati. A squeeze of lemon adds magic to this dish. I remember having it for lunch after school as the days became shorter and the afternoons brought winds blowing yellow leaves from the trees announcing the arrival of autumn season.  Quite a strange thing to remember! 

Here is the recipe: 


French Green Beans – 250 grams (I got them fresh, washed them, cut them small and froze them for later use).
Minced Mutton – 500 grams (washed and drained)
Tomato puree – 1 cup (Made from fresh tomatoes with 1 green chili)
Onions – 1 cup (finely chopped)
Onion – 1 medium sized (thinly sliced in rings) – for frying
Green chili – 1 medium (chopped)
Oil – 4 Tbsp
Ginger/Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp (lightly crushed in pestle mortar)
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp (lightly crushed in pestle mortar)
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Danay) – ½ tsp
Cinnamon stick – 2 ( 1 inch each)
Black Cardamom – 2 whole
Cloves – 5 whole
Dried whole red chilies - 3
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Salt – ½ tsp (adjust to taste if more desired)
Lemon Juice (Freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium sized lemon.
Fresh Coriander – for Garnish

  1. Wash the minced meat in a sieve lined with paper towel or chiffon cloth. Drain, squeeze the water out, set aside.
  2. In a pan (it should have a lid) heat 4 tbsp of oil. Saute 1 cup of chopped onions on medium to high heat till they are light brown.
  3. Add crushed cumin, crushed coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom, dried whole chilies & fenugreek seeds, saute for 30 seconds or so.
  4. Now add garlic/Ginger paste. Mix it quickly as garlic burns pretty swiftly.
  5. After 10-15 sec of sauteing the garlic/ginger paste, add minced meat. Break it with the wooden spoon and let it cook and brown. It should cook for 8-10 mins on medium heat till the water dries completely and its smell changes.
  6. Add fresh tomato paste and half of the chopped green chilies. Mix and cook over medium heat. Add salt, chili powder, cumin powder & turmeric powder. Add ¼ cup of water to let the tomato puree and spices mix and cook completely. This will take around 10 minutes. The water should dry completely.
  7. Once the minced meat is dry add frozen or fresh green beans. Mix thoroughly. Add ¼ cup of water. Once it starts simmering, reduce the heat to minimum and let it gently simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on. The french green beans I used had very small beans in the pod so the cooking time was less. If you are using the pods with bigger beans you would need more water and longer simmer time to ensure they are cooked through. Adjust according to the need.
  8. While the beans and minced meat is getting simmered on low heat, fry the other onion cut in rings to very gentle brown color. Keep aside.
  9. Once the beans are tender and the water has dried up with just a bit of juice in pan’s base, remove from the heat. Add the fried onions & lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with roti.