Fry bodi is yet another dish I only grew to appreciate as I got older and if I’m being completely honest, I must mention that it’s one of those dishes I can’t replicate as good as our mom’s. How come we can do a dish “exactly” as our mom and never be able to replicate the taste (and consistency in some cases)? Like the curry bodi recipe I shared with you all a while back, this one is a favorite among vegetarians and I’ve received many compliments from it. So I know you’ll just love it.
* BTW, bodi is also known as the yardlong bean, bora, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean
1 bundle bodi (about 1.5 lbs)
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil (veg oil works great as well)
1/2 cup water
1 medium onion
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (any spicy pepper)
dash black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Notes: I must mention to you all that if you’re getting bodi freshly harvested, the cooking time will be a bit less (about 5 mins less). I know from my days on the islands that the bodi tends to cook faster and is more ‘meaty” (thicker). The bodi we get here in North America (see Asian and West Indian grocery stores) tend to be much thinner and take longer to cook. To brighten up this dish (this is optional), add a chopped tomato the last couple minutes of cooking. If you can’t get bodi, a good substitute would be french or string beans.
The first thing we need to do is to wash and trim the bodi (refer to the video below). Basically all you’re doing is removing both ends of the bean and discard. Then trim each bean into pieces about 1/5 inches long.
Chop the onion, scotch bonnet pepper (remember to not use the seeds as that’s where most of the heat will be) and slice the garlic very thinly. Then is a saucepan, heat the oil on med/high heat and add the sliced onion and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and allow this to cook for about 3 minutes. We’re trying to infuse the oil with the wonderful flavors of the garlic and onion.
After 3 minutes add the scotch bonnet pepper, black pepper and toss in the trimmed bodi pieces. Give this a good stir and top with the salt. Raise the heat to high, add the water and bring to a boil. Should take 2-3 minutes.
When it comes to a boil reduce to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and allow it to cook for about 25 minutes. Remember to stir every 4-5 minutes. You will notice that the fry bodi will start changing colour.. go from the brilliant green to a darker shade.
After 25 minutes your beans should be fully cooked and there should be no liquid in the bottom of the pan. If there’s liquid, do raise the heat and burn it off. Here’s where you’ll now add the chopped tomato and cook for 2-3 minutes.. just to heat through. The bodi will be fully cooked, but have a slight firmness to it. If you like your beans cooked to the point where they’re tender and sort of melting away, feel free to cook longer.
Fry bodi is a lovely vegetarian dish which goes well with rice, roti or bread. You can add additional flavor by using coconut milk instead of water when cooking and if you have leftover pieces of Caribbean style stewed meats (chicken, beef or pork), you can add it during the final 5 minutes of cooking. I recall our mom adding pieces of salted cod to the fry bodi and our dad would be in heaven. Maybe I’ll share that recipe with you soon.