Two Twists on Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Bowl of Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry with Dates cinnamon and cardamom

These two twists on traditional Thanksgiving side dishes that my wife and I have come to enjoy are from the Indian cookbook, “The Best of Lord Krishna’s Cuisine”. Whole cranberries cooked with chopped dates and spiced with fresh green chilies is pictured here. Together with cardamom and cinnamon the tart flavor of cranberry balances out to an almost spicy result. Listening to the berries pop while cooking and mashing them up in the pan make good entertainment for the cook. The dish is incredibly simple to prepare and keeps well too.

Green Bean Photo

Spiced Green Beans

For a twist on the perennial green bean casserole, spice up those traditional veggies with a mixture of black mustard seed, cumin seed, and crushed red pepper for a lively dish that you will love. I frequently use frozen string beans, first steamed tender crisp, then sautéed with the spices.The recipe calls for clarified butter, known as Ghee, but a good substitute is a combination of vegetable oil and butter. The butter gives flavor and the oil helps it withstand high cooking temperature.

Recipes are here:

Cranberry Chutney

3 Inch Peice of cinnamon stick

3-4 Whole caramom seeds, crushed open

1 teaspoon Whole Cloves

1-2 Hot Green Chilies, seeded

3 Inch piece of Orange Zest

1/2 Cups Water or white grape juice

1/2 Cup Raw Sugar or Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Pitted Dates, sliced

1 pound Fresh Cranberries

1) Tie the first 5 ingredients tothether in a small piece of cheescloth ( a coffee filter stapled closed also works if you don’t have cheesecloth)

2) Combine the liquid, sweetner, dates, and spice bag in a heavy bottom, 2 qt  pan over moderate heat. Cook, stirring, unti the sugar disolves. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1/2 hour.

3) Remove the spice bag, pressing it to extact the flavor. Stir in the cranberries and cook for 7-10 minutes until the mizture thickens and the berries pop. Use a potato masher to break up the berries if desired.


Spiced Green Beans

4 Tbs Ghee (or a mixture of light oil & unsalted butter)

2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper

1 lb Green Beans, trimmed & cut into ½ inch pieces

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sugar

1)      Steam the green beams until tender crisp. Set aside to drain.

2)      Heat the ghee in a large heavy bottomed skillet over moderate heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and crushed red pepper and fry until the cumin seeds darken and the mustard seeds turn gray.

3)      Add the green beans and salt, and cook, tossing gently, for 4-5 minutes.

4)      Add the sugar and cook a minute more until sugar is dissolved.

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