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a seasonal alternative to green beans
In Tamil, poriyal usually means a dry stir-fry of any vegetable along with spices and often, coconut. The most ubiquitous preparation is using green beans, although you could really use most vegetables. In this recipe, we use slender spring asparagus, which is absolutely delicious and a great way to incorporate seasonality into South Indian cooking! And what’s more, it’s ready in a flash.
Asparagus Poriyal (Download recipe card here)
1 lb [450g] asparagus (about 12-15 spears)
1 tbsp avocado oil, or coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp urad dal (black gram, split and skinned) (optional)
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
10-12 fresh curry leaves
1-2 dry red Indian chilli
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp fresh or frozen shredded coconut, (sub dry unsweetened coconut)
Step 1. Prep the asparagus - trim the spears about 1.5 inches/4cm from the woody portion at the bottom. Use your hands and gently snap - the spear will automatically snap at the weakest point! Wash and dice the spears, keeping the pointy ends.
Step 2. In a skillet on medium high, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop, lower heat to medium and add urad dal, asafetida, curry leaves and chilis.
Step 3. When urad dal is golden brown, add asparagus, turmeric, salt and cayenne. Mix well, cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is bright green and fork-tender but still a bit crunchy. You can add a splash of water to deglaze the skillet as needed.
Garnish with coconut and serve