Wash the beans. Top and tail the ends, and if there are any strings on the side, peel them off.
Slice the beans into small even sized pieces. The smaller the better so they cook fast.
Slice the chilli, shred the curry leaves.
Heat oil in a pan. Any cooking oil may be used, however sesame oil gives an authentic flavour to this traditional Tamil Brahmin recipe, and is a healthy oil to use.
Add the mustard seeds (rai), let them sputter.
Add the fenugreek (methi) seeds. Sauté for 10 seconds.
Add the split urad dhal, sauté for 10 seconds.
Add the sliced chilli, let them scald in the hot oil. I use fresh red chilli to contrast with the colour of the beans, and so that one doesn't bite into them by mistake!
Add the curry leaves. I shred them so that they get eaten instead of being left on the side of the plate as all of us do!
Add the sliced beans, stir so that all the ingredients mix.
Add turmeric and salt, stir again. Add only a little salt, as the beans would reduce in volume when cooked. You could check the salt again at the end and add if required.
Cook, covered, on low flame, for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently so that the beans do not brown or char. Test for 'doneness' by taking a few slices on a plate, and pressing down with the back of a spoon. When cooked, the beans will immediately get smashed.
The beans need to be cooked just till the raw taste disappears.
Check the seasoning, add a little more salt if required to your taste, and stir briskly to mix it evenly.
Add the grated coconut, stir, and take off from the stove.
Transfer immediately to a serving dish, so the beans do not continue to cook in the hot pan.
Serve as a side with a meal of your choice. Its great with sambar or rasam or a kozhambu and rice, but also goes well with chapatis or dhal and rice. Or just wrap in a tortilla and enjoy (after taking out the pieces of chilli, though!)