Runner Beans with Burnt Onion and Cumin

On the TV some time last year or the year before I saw someone make burnt onion powder to flavour something, and elsewhere I’ve eaten Dal wtih burnt onion garnish (can’t remember). Anyway, I liked it and when I was asked to prepare runner beans from the garden to eat with slow cooked lamb, ghee soaked homemade flatbreads, dal (by my mum) and raitha (by Sam), and I made this.

The sweet beans, burnt tang of onion and crunch and fragrance added by the cumin was a pleasing combination. Everything else on the table was really very delicious.


A bag of runner beans, as fine as you can find, sliced into 2cm diagonal pieces.

½ onion, sliced finely

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons, cumin seeds

vegetable oil

How to make:

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the beans until properly tender: probably longer than you think – try 7/8 minutes.

Heat a tablespoon of oil and add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook gently in a heavy pan until they are browning and getting crispy and almost burnt looking. About 10 minutes. When they are becoming quite brown add the garlic and the cumin with another pinch of salt.. Keep on a lowish heat so they don’t scorch.

Finally mix in the drained beans and cook for a minute or so, stirring to coat with the onions. Season to taste.

Eaten with:

Rosé, slow cooked lamb shoulder, flatbreads, raitha, dal.


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