As a child, I wasn’t really a fan of legumes (as most of us) but as I grew up watching my mother cook, I appreciated the different flavours and methods more and more and today I am a fan of every type of legume. This is my mothers original Fasolakia Yiahni recipe, she was more than happy to share this with me and thus with you all. This is an easy recipe, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes of preparation and will make a lovely lunch or dinner.
Fasolaki Yiahni has a few variations in our home, from the vegan version of todays recipe to chicken and rabbit (I dont eat rabbit EVER). For todays version we will use the following ingredients:
- The main ingredient are Green Beans. Green Beans are actually unripe common beans in their protective casing. To prepare the green beans you only have to cut of the two tips and break them in the middle.
- Garlic, those who know me know that garlic, is an important part of my cooking palette.
- Yellow onion gives the stew a great flavour. I add a medium sized onion finely chopped to a portion for five to six people.
- Potatoes give flavour, texture and some carbs to satisfy hunger.
- Lemon Zest gives fasolakia yiaxni a twang and makes the flavour more interesting. Definitely a must for green bean stew.
- Tomato and Tomato Paste are an important part of this recipe. Flavouring the stew juices and giving it its signature taste.
- Other ingredients used for flavouring include, Sugar, Salt, Pepper and Vegetable stock.
How to make Fasolakia Yiaxni or (Yiahni)
The preparation of this Mediterranean dish is very quick and simple, start by preparing your ingredients. Peal the potatoes and cut them into medium sized squares. I tend to quarter medium sized potatoes which is a great size for the dish and pot.
Then prepare the Green Beans, cut of the tips on both sides, I snip them of using my thumb nail and index finger. Then break them in half and place them in a sieve. Wash the Green Beans and set aside. Finely dice the onions and sauté them in a large pot until translucent.
Add in the potatoes cubes and brown them. Now you can add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Simmer at medium/low heat until the potatoes are soft. This should take around 40 to 45 minutes but occasionally try the potatoes (don’t burn yourself)
The Cypriot Cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean and Lebanese foods. And it makes a lot of sense, Cyprus has been a travel hub between Europe and the middle east for centuries. Travellers passing through Cyprus have left their impression on the local cuisine. This is why we find many familiar adaptations of European and Arabic dishes in Cyprus.
Fasolaki Yiaxni is a basically a green bean ragout. Green beans originate from South and Central America and have made their way to Europe and the Middle East. A ragout is a French style slow cooked dish, many other dishes fall under a ragout for example Italian style meat sauces such as Bolognaise are also ragout’s.
Options and Alternations
Here are a few things you can change (tried and tested) with this recipe to spice it up or add more protein.
- Add Chicken, all parts of the chicken work. If you are using chicken breast, pan fry it a little but don’t cook completely.
- 1/2 a Cup of white wine works well in this recipe too.
- A lot of Cyprus cuisine is influenced by the Lebanese Cuisine, so adding a bit of Cumin like a Lebanese Green Bean stew is great.
- Almond Flakes and Parsley for serving.
- Prepare your green beans by cutting off the pointy ends, not too much just enough to remove the thin part and open shell. Crack them in the middle and wash in a sieve. Peel your potatoes and cut them into cubes, approximately 3 x 3 centimetres small. Prepare your lemon zest and chop your onions into fine cubes.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot add your onions and saute until translucent. Add your potato cubes and to the onions and brown them for a few minutes,
- Add the remaining ingredients, everything should be barely covered with liquid, don't worry if a couple of green beans are sticking out of the water. Bring to simmer and cook with a closed lid for 45-50 minutes. Taste your potatoes and green brands, they should be soft but not mushy. Take off the heat and your green bean ragout is ready.