A Turkish recipe dating back to the Ottoman era. A family classic and one loved by locals and most foreigners that try it. This simple recipe tastes a world away from dull boiled runner beans… it’s tasty and may well surprise you. Here’s a little info on which beans are best to buy, their many health benefits and how to cook up this tasty vegetarian dish.
Many foreigners, especially Brits like myself, grew up on family dishes of meat, potatoes and two veg. Although there is a growing number of vegetarians, many meat eaters wouldn’t choose to cook a veg only dish as a main meal. In Turkey however it’s different. The majority of Turkish families eat vegetarian dishes regularly. Meat, especially red meat, is expensive and who can blame them for opting for the veggie options given the quality and price of the produce on offer at the local markets. Taze Fasulye is traditionally served as a main, at room temperature accompanied with Bulgur Pilav or rice, salad, or served simply with a few wedges of crusty bread. It also appears on some menus as a meze or part of a meze platter, or as a side dish to accompany grilled meat.
Heath Benefits of Fresh Green Beans
According to Medical News Today, fresh green beans are a fabulous, low fat, healthy vegetable rich in vitamins, nutrients and minerals. They are great for those watching their weight with 100g containing just 31 calories, zero fat, 3g fiber, 2g protein and 7g carbohydrate. They are a great source of vitamins A, C and K and also contain folate, iron, folic acid, magnesium and potassium. There have been many studies suggesting that incorporating fresh green produce such as beans can help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In particular, green beans folic acid and iron content is great for those with fertility issues and pregnant women. The folate they contain is also good for those suffering from depression or feeling low, and their vitamin K content can help reduce the risk of bone fracture in those with brittle or weak bones.
How to pick the best beans for this Taze Fasulye Recipe
I refer again to Macide my Mother in Law. She may possibly cook the best fresh beans I’ve had in the 10 or so years I’ve lived in Fethiye (and believe me I have tried many!). She tells me that the secret to this dish is all in the beans you choose. They should be the freshest available, definitely not floppy, stringy or soft, but quite hard and snap when bent. She normally opts for the ‘Seker Fasulye‘ variety. You will see a number of different beans at the market. The Seker ones tend to be labelled as such. They are normally a little paler and sometimes a bit more expensive (you can pick a kilo up for around 5tl at the moment). They are quite wide and flat long beans. ‘Seker‘, meaning ‘sugar‘, is the reason she buys them as they tend to be sweeter. The other darker green ‘taze fasulye‘ also work well but Macide says to make sure they are fresh and add a little more sugar to the recipe.
TAZE FASULYE RECIPE
500g Seker or Taze Fasulye (Green runner/string beans)
1 Large Onion (diced)
1 Large Carrot (diced)
1 Potato (cut into large wedges)
1 Large Ripe Summer Tomato (Skinned and Diced)
1 Heaped Tablespoon Tomato Salca (Tomato Paste)
2 Cloves Garlic (diced)
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Few Glugs Good Olive Oil
Handful Flat Leaf Parsley (chopped for garnish)
1- Prepare the beans. Hopefully your beans are fresh so its easy to top and tail them by pinching off the ends. As you do this string the edges by pulling the tough fiber along the seam of the bean as you pinch them. Alternatively quickly run a potato peeler down the seam at the side to take off the stringy bit. Next rinse them and snap them into 1.5 to 2 inch pieces and put to one side in a bowl. Continue with all the beans.
2- Add a decent glug of good quality olive oil to the bottom of a deep lidded pan. Add the onion and carrot and fry at a medium heat until the onions start to turn translucent and the carrots start to soften slightly (around 5 minutes). Add the garlic, fry for a minute then add the tomato paste and stir.
3 – Turn the heat down and add the beans. Give it all a good stir to let the beans blend with the mixture then add the diced tomatoes and stir again. Leave for a few minutes to let the tomatoes warm up. Add a teaspoon of sugar (to take the acidity away from the tomatoes and add sweetness), a good pinch of salt and enough water to just cover the beans (not so much as they float!). Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. As soon as it’s boiling, turn the heat to low, add the potato and let it all simmer for around 30 – 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking as the liquid evaporates and reduces. If it starts to stick add a touch more water. The dish is cooked once the beans have softened and are to your liking.
4- Allow to cool to room temperature and pour into a serving bowl. Garnish with a little chopped parsley.
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