Green beans are a coveted vegetable in Turkish cusine. The most highly coveted of all is the green Romano bean. In Turkish, they are called “çala” or “Ayşe Kadın” (Lady Aysha) beans.
This recipe is served cold. You can eat it as an appetizer or salad, or as a side dish along with your main course.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
• 1 kilogram/ about 2.5 pounds very fresh green Romano beans
• 2 large onions
• 1 large tomato
• 3 tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. black pepper
• 4 tbsp. sugar
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
How to prepare:
1. Wash your Romano beans in cold water and drain. With a small, sharp paring knife, snip off the ends and pull off the strings down each side of the beans. Either cut them in thirds, or lengthwise two or three times to make long strips.
2. Wash and peel the tomato. Dice into small cubes. In the bottom of a pressure cooker or saucepan, arrange the diced tomato near the center.
3. Next, arrange the beans over the tomato. If you cut them lengthwise, lay them all neatly in the same direction. First cover the bottom of the pan completely, then make a second layer. Continue layering until all the beans are finished. If you cut them in thirds, arrange the pieces in a “sunburst” pattern from the center outward. First cover the entire bottom of the pan, then begin layering.
4. Peel the onions and cut them in quarters. Arrange the quarters over the top of the beans. Don’t separate the pieces too much as you will need to remove them later after cooking. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and sugar evenly over the top.
5. If you’re using a pressure cooker, add the recommended amount of water, usually about 1/4 cup, close and seal the lid and set the cooker on the recommended vegetable setting. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes as your cooker directs.
6. If you’re using a covered saucepan, add about 1/2 cup water to the beans, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Let the beans simmer gently. First, the amount of liquid in the pan will increase as the beans release their own juice. You should simmer them until the beans are very tender and the liquid is almost gone.
7. When the beans are cooked and the liquid is almost gone, turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker or pan cool down to room temperature. Remove the onions from the top. Once the pan is cooled down and the beans have set, cover the opening of the cooking vessel with your serving plate and turn it over gently. The beans inside should turn out in the pattern you arranged them with the tomatoes on top.
8. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the beans. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate before serving.