Get to know the Chinese red noodle bean

Have you ever bought this red noodle beans? In my latest trip to the Asian store, I spotted this vibrant “Chinese Red noodle beans”. They were stacked next to the green yardlong beans and I couldn’t ignore this purple beauty! I picked a bunch of purple and green one without any recipe in mind.

The green yard long beans are not alien in Asian cuisine. They are tagged as Asparagus beans, yard long beans (though they don’t reach a yard), snake beans (quiet apt for the purple), Chinese long beans. In Tamil Nadu, it is known as payathangai or Karamani.

Coming to the purple one, they taste similar to the green beans and not to forget they are string less (less work). It is firm, meatier and retains well the purple color once cooked. Could you believe the yard long beans are related with black eye peas and classified as legume? 
The only recipe I could recall was something that my mom does: stir fried beans along with small shrimps. But seafood doesn’t get a warm welcome in our table. I referred to the old cookbook ‘Samaipathu eppadi' (how to cook?) by Smt. Vedavalli for the usili recipe.
The recipe needs a prep work, soak the lentils, ground it and steam it. So better to double the quantity and freeze a portion for later use.


3 tbsp of Bengal gram/chana dhal
3 tbsp of toor dhal
5 Red chillies
¼ Hing powder
1/8 to ¼ salt (adjust according your taste)
 A bunch of yard long beans (mine yielded: 3 cups)


1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of urad dhal
2 to 3 tsp of oil


Step 1: prepare the lentils

Rinse the lentils/dhals thrice. Soak the lentils for 2 hours. Drain and ground into a coarse paste along with red chillies, salt and hing.

Grease an idli plate, fill the mold with ground lentils and steam it around 15 min or keep in pressure cooker and leave two whistles.

Once cooled down, broke into small pieces and keep ready or you can freeze at this stage.

 Step 2 make the yardlong beans usili

Wash the yard long beans and trim both end. Cut into the desire length.

Bring water to boil, add salt and blanch the beans for 5 minutes and drain it. I didn’t plunge in cold water.

Heat a 2 tsp. of oil, add mustard seeds and urad dhal, add the steamed lentils and fry few minutes, mix the blanched yard beans and cooked another 5 minutes . You can adjust the salt if it is less and serve with rasam rice.

The usili can be done with green beans, cluster beans, etc..

Is this purple yard long beans look spooky for the Halloween season?

As the yardlong beans are considered as legume and good amount of lentils are used equally, I am sending to Sra who is hosting My legume Love Affair-52 and the event is created by Susan.


love it... I dont think I ever saw this... but lovely colors!
Vani said…
I love the flavor of yardlong beans. Much prefer this over green beans many times. The purple ones are so pretty. Nice way to up the nutrition with moong dal. Will try
Uj said…
Love yard long beans. We make stir fries and coconut based curry out of this. They taste heavenly with simple dal and rice. Will try purple one's next time. They look so good
sra said…
I love these beans, love usili, so love everything about this dish. I'm usually disappointed by exotic colours that turn green when cooked, so I'm really surprised this one has retained its colour. Purple cabbage is the only other veg I know that retains its colour - well, at least it turns blue and doesn't turn green!
Priya Suresh said…
Oh god,does this beans exists, never got a chance to see this beans, thanks for showing us.Usili looks super catchy.
Finla said…
I have never had the purple and looks so nice, and this dish is new to me too, but looks so yumm.
Shama Nagarajan said…
delicious and inviting dear..join me in Fast Food event - Vermicilli.
BongMom said…
My kids love the green ones. I have never seen the purple ones though. tastes same in Indian dish ? Your dish looks really good too.
Srivalli said…
That's one colourful one Cham..glad that it retained the colour..does it taste the same?..I love the green one, though never made an usli with it..
CurryLeaf said…
Yum. I have seen and been using the purple long beans. But the usli is completely new to me. Will try it and let you know. Informative post ,Cham. I am here after a long time.Last post I had seen was the Brinjal pullipu which I am planning to make this weekend. Hope you and your family had a lovely Navratri/Dussehra. Take care