As a young fella on the islands I fondly remember helping our mom pick (harvest) the mature bodi (bora, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean) which grew on the bamboo branches our dad would place next to the plants for the vine to spread. Something about the long beans cascading down like lengthened streams of water falling from the heavens attracted my attention. Especially when we had a good crop and the beans were the length of long shoe laces. However you had to be careful when picking the bodi when there were still flowers on the vine, as they attracted bees who did their thing pollinating so we could have a continuous crop.
If you can’t source bodi (bora in Guyana) french beans, string beans or any of your favorite green beans will work for this recipe. The one thing you will have to note though is the cooking time for the beans you select. Bodi is a bit tough so it takes about 5-10 minutes longer to cook than other beans.
1 bundle bodi (about 1lb)
3 cloves garlic (diced)
2 tablespoon olive oil (veg oil works great as well)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 medium onion (sliced)
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (any spicy pepper)
dash black pepper
1 cup shredded salted cod
8 cherry tomatoes
* Prep salted fish – soak – boil – drain and shred – please use boned salted fish for less work. Click here >> How To Prepare Salted Fish <<< to learn how to prepare saltfish for use.
Heat the oil on a medium heat, then add the salted fish and cook on low for about 3 minutes to create a lovely base of flavour. Then add the garlic and onion and cook for another 3 minutes on low heat. Stir well.
While this cook wash the bodi, then trim off about 1/4 inch off both ends and discard. Now cut them into 1 – 1.5 inch pieces.
Turn the heat up to medium/high, add the trimmed bodi as well as the other ingredients (except the tomatoes) and bring to a simmer.
Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for about 20 minutes. After-which remove the lid, taste for salt (adjust accordingly to your taste) and turn the heat up to burn off all excess liquid.Should not have any liquid when done.
You will notice that the bodi will not have the brilliant green color you started off with (normal) and you can personalize this by cooking to the consistency you like as I know many people who like their beans with a little crunch to them. Add the tomato (toss), turn the heat off and cover the pot. The residual heat will gently cook the tomato.
If you want to make this fully vegetarian you can leave out the salted fish and start by gently cooking the onion and garlic and proceed from there (for extra flavor you can add a vegetable stock cube). And remember if you can’t source bodi, you can use your favorite green bean with great results. To stretch this dish for more people you can add some cubed potato, but do remember to adjust the amount of salt you add.