Delish Green Beans with Coconut

Today we are featuring a post from our friends at A Global Affair who provide wonderful content on travel and delicious recipes.

Many moons ago, when my mom had to leave for India for an extended period of time to care for my grandfather, she wrote down a bunch of recipes of the staple, time honored dishes that my family from Kerala had served for generations in their kitchen. Before I had any money to buy any sort of cookbook, these recipes became my guidepost; a primer that ensured that I would carry on creating the tastes of my mother, grandmothers, aunts and more in my kitchen. Of course, in the rush to give me these recipes, mom sometimes missed writing exact quantities or an ingredient, but they were enough of a foundation to enable me to cook.

Beans Poduthol, also called as Thoran, is a simple dish of whatever veggies are on hand, some oil and spices and lots of freshly grated coconut. It is the kind of dish that is not only super yummy and healthy, but also makes me feel with every spoonful that all will be okay in this world.


  • A pound of beans, washed, destringed and cut into small pieces
  • A tbsp of oil (traditionally coconut oil is used)
  • A tsp of mustard seeds
  • A tsp of urad dal (skip if you don’t have this, it adds crunch)
  • One or two dried red chili pods broken
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Four tbsps freshly grated coconut
When I copied mom’s recipe into my first attempt at organizing recipes.

How to:

1. Heat oil in a pan.  Fry the mustard seeds, urad dal (if using) and dried chilly pods.  When the mustard seeds start popping, add the beans, turmeric powder, salt and cumin powder and toss well.

2. Cover and cook till the beans are cooked, yet crunchy (about 10-15 minutes).

3. Add the fresh coconut and toss a few times.


PS. You can prepare cabbage, spinach, carrots, and raw bananas in a similar fashion.

Fresh Seafood Paella with Clams, Mussels, and Shrimp

Like many people, we really enjoy paella because it is versatile and not particularly complicated to make. Obviously we associate paella the time that we spent in Spain, but we’ve also had it in resorts in Mexico as well as the Caribbean. The key to making seafood paella is making sure that you are using the freshest seafood possible. We actually had the clams and mussels shipped to us from a company called Maine Lobster Now, which is also where we got our fresh lobster from last year for our anniversary when we were all in lockdown. The other key is using short-grain rice such as Bomba or Calasparra. Fortunately, in these days those are also available online if not in a store near you. Even though it is a simple dish to make and very rustic, it is perfect for a gathering where you can simply put the paella in the center of the table and let people serve themselves. Although we limited it to seafood, you can definitely add chicken thighs to make the dish even more hearty. It is quite common to add peas to a paella, but we have a food allergy in our family, so we did not add them. We made a slightly smaller batch that would serve 3 to 4 people, but it is easy to increase it to serve for a crowd.

Seafood Paella Ingredients


  • 6 to 8 Live Clams – scrubbed and cleaned
  • 8 to 10 Live Mussels – scrubbed, cleaned, and debearded
  • 8 to 10 Large Shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup Bomba Rice
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion – finely diced
  • 1 Small Clove of Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper – cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup Tomato Purée
  • 2 3/4 cups Chicken Stock – preferably homemade
  • 1/4 tsp Saffron
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Green Onion for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Seafood and Bomba Rice


Add the olive oil to a large cast-iron skillet (or a paella pan if you have one, but it isn’t necessary) and heat the oil to medium-high heat. Add the onion and simmer for 2 minutes and then add the garlic to the oil and simmer for and addition 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato purée and simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes and the liquid has reduced. Add the chicken stock, saffron, paprika, salt and pepper, and turn the heat to high in order to bring the liquid to a boil. Evenly distribute the rice around the pan and cook the rice for 10 minutes. Place the clams, mussels, and shrimp into the pan, being sure that the seafood doesn’t touch one another, and press them down into the rice and liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. At this point some of the clams and mussels might have opened. Add the red pepper to the pan and cover (if all of the liquid has absorbed, add a little more stock) and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, checking every few minutes, until all of the clams and mussels have opened. If any of the clams or mussels don’t open, discard them, but if your seafood is really fresh, there shouldn’t be too many that don’t open. Garnish with the green onion and serve.

The Finished Paella

Moroccan Beef with Sweet Potatoes

We purchased a decorative tajine during our trip to Morocco, but it was too small to use for actual cooking. Since we really wanted to try and recreate some of the meals that we ate, we ended up buying a full size tajine and have used it several times. We made our version of a Moroccan beef with sweet potatoes that had a nice spice and made for a wonderful meal. Although we cooked it in a tajine, a Dutch oven works just fine as well. The meat was very tender and the spices were warm and fragrant, but not spicy. It was an easy dish to make for a weeknight meal for the two of us, but could easily be done for a larger gathering as well.

Tajines and Dishes for Sale in Morocco


  •  1 lb Beef Shoulder Roast – cut into 1 inch cubes
  •  1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  •  1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  •  1/2 tsp Salt
  •  1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  •  1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  •  1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  •  1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  •  2 Shallots – quartered
  •  2 Garlic Cloves – thinly sliced
  •  1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  •  1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes – undrained
  •  1 Large Sweet Potato – peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Brown the Beef with the Shallots


Combine the paprika, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Toss the beef cubes with the spice mixture being sure that each piece is evenly coated. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the shallots and beef and cook for about 4 minutes until the beef is browned on all sides. Add the garlic and cook for another minute and then transfer the beef, shallots, and garlic to the tajine including all of the pan drippings (if using a Dutch oven, the beef can be browned in the Dutch oven). Add the sweet potato, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes to the tajine and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Place the lid on the tajine an place in the center of a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about an hour and a half or until the potatoes are fork tender. Serve as a stew or over a bed of rice.

Moroccan Beef with Sweet Potatoes
Coat the Meat
Combine the Ingredients
Cook Until the Potatoes are Tender
The Finished Meal
Final Serving
Lunch at a Moroccan Restaurant