As a young fella on the islands, my brother and I usually helped mom with the kitchen garden after school and on the weekends. I enjoyed seeing plants go from seeds to actually bearing fruit and harvest time was usually my favorite. Picking bodi (yard beans) off the bush (grows on a vine-like bush) was like a treasure hunt and it didn’t hurt that I LOVE beans of all shape and form. So the meals which would follow the time spent harvesting, was a glorious time for me. Traditionally mom did this one of two ways, in a curry or stewed with some sort of leftover meat or bits of salted cod. But in this recipe I’ll show you another take on cooking bodi (or any green bean).
1 lb Bodi (aka yard beans)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tomato diced
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
1/4 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1/2 cup cashews (raw)
1 tablespoon veg oil
1/4 cup water
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
* Taste for salt near the end and adjust as the soy and oyster sauce may have enough salt to season this dish. I used oyster sauce in this recipe, so please visit your local Chinese grocers for a vegetarian option if you want to make this 100% vegetarian. If you cannot get bodi, feel free to use string beans or french beans, but note that they may cook faster than bodi. Be sure to use a gluten free soy sauce and oyster sauce if cooking this according to a gluten free diet.
Prep the yard beans by trimming off the ends, then cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Wash and drain. Dice the onion, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper – remember to wash your hands after handling the scotch bonnet, don’t use any seeds and only use as much as you can handle. The recipe works fine without it as well. (I grated the ginger)
Heat the oil on a medium flame, then toss in the garlic, onion and ginger… lower the heat to low and let this gently cook for about 3 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium and then go in with the trimmed bodi pieces, stir well, then add all the other ingredients (except the tomato) and add the water. Bring to a boil and cook on a medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, then go in with the cashews. Stir well.
Here’s where it’s up to you to personalize the dish a bit… taste for salt and determine how tender you like your beans. If you like it really tender you may need to add a bit more water and cook for an extra 5 minutes or so. As you turn off the heat toss in the diced tomato to brighten up the overall stir-fry. The residual heat from the pan will be enough to cook the tomato enough (so it’s not melted away).
If you didn’t already know, Chinese immigrants (as contract laborers) came to the Caribbean over a century ago (between 1853 and 1879), so you’ll find many of our dishes are heavily influenced by their delicious contributions.
I do hope you give this bodi stirfry with cashews a try as the flavors and texture is simply stunning.