Here’s a recipe, that features one of my favorite vegetables from the winter produce in India – the papdi, surti papdi, val papdi or flat green beans. This Papdi Bhaji is a super duper easy, very lightly spiced, yet delicious and wholesome Goan preparation of sautéed and steamed papdi (flat green beans), which I often make at home during the chilly winter season. With minimal ingredients, this Sem Sabji recipe is also vegan and gluten free, and really gets done within minutes. Try it out, and I’m sure you’ll too get hooked to it, at the very first bite.
About Papdi Bhaji
You can call this Papdi Bhaji recipe, the Goan version of this Punjabi style Beans Recipe, minus the aloo or potatoes. By the looks and the use of a few spice powders in each of these sabjis also, they would differ from each other.
But majorly, the making is same. In fact, you can replace the French beans in the beans recipe with the surti papdi and try making it that way.
For me personally, winters are the best time of year in India, and there are many reasons to love this cold season here. First and the foremost is that it brings great relief from the sweltering heat of the summers.
Next, the fresh seasonal produce that it brings along, is quite unmatched. Markets are full of fresh greens and other vegetables that can be used to make an array of sumptuous dishes.
From leafy greens like spinach, fresh fenugreek, mustard leaves (sarson ka saag), etc. to other veggies like red carrots, turnips (shalgam), cauliflowers, flat green beans (surti papdi or val papdi) and more.
It is very difficult to really pick and choose as to which ones you would buy and which ones you would give a miss!
This Papdi Bhaji is one of the easiest and simplest ways you can use the flat green beans to make a quick, yummy and hearty dish. The spices too are minimal in this, which makes it an ideal side dish with your everyday Indian meals.
More on Sem Sabji
The variety of flat beans, which I use for this Papdi Bhaji is also known as lima beans in English. These beans are flat and have a shorter length. They are also known as Surti Papdi in Gujarati, Val Papdi in Marathi and Sem ki Phalli in Hindi.
These beans are very nutritious and packed with proteins, iron and other vitamins and minerals. However, you can use any variety of flat beans to make this sabji.
Along with flat green beans (papdi), other ingredients used in this Sem Sabji are shallots or onions, garlic and green chillies.
Some turmeric powder, grated fresh coconut and chopped fresh coriander leaves are also added. You can cook the dish in any neutral flavored oil or even coconut oil.
This Papdi Bhaji is made with a very few ingredients. Hence, a prominent flavor of the flat beans is felt throughout, in the dish. Fresh coconut added to the bhaji, gives a mild sweet taste coupled with the faint sweetness from the beans too.
Like I said, the Papdi Bhaji goes very well with dal tadka-rice, sambar or rasam rice. Or even with chapatis and roti. In the above picture, it is served with steamed rice and a Mangalorean style pumpkin and black eyed peas sambar.
These beans are a winter specialty in India. I do make this Papdi Bhaji along with other dishes with it often in this season. One more val papdi recipe made Maharashtrian style with peanuts is another favorite at home.
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Papdi Bhaji | Sem Sabji
Papdi Bhaji or Sem Sabji is a simple mildly spiced sautéed and steamed dry preparation made with a handful of ingredients – flat green beans (surti papdi, val papdi), shallots, few spices and coconut.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Prevent your screen from going dark while making the recipe
Rinse the papdi or flat beans first very well in water.
Drain the water.
Then string them and open the pods. Check for any worms. If there are no worms, then break or chop them straight or diagonally into 1 inch or 1.5 inches pieces.
If there are worms in the pods, then throw these pods away.
Making papdi bhaji
Heat oil in a pan or kadai.
Add the finely chopped onions and sauté on low to medium-heat till the onions soften.
Then add the finely chopped garlic and chopped green chilies.
Sauté for some seconds and add the turmeric powder.
Stir and then add the chopped papdi or flat beans.
Sprinkle salt and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Stir to combine.
Cover the pan with a rimmed plate or lid.
Pour water over the plate.
On a low heat simmer the flat beans till they are cooked completely.
Check in between and give a gentle stir.
If the water dries up in the pan, then sprinkle some water in the pan. Mix again, cover pan with lid and continue to cook.
If the water dries up in the lid, then add more water on the lid.
- When the beans are tender, cooked and if there is water in the pan, then simmer without the lid, so that the water dries up. Some moisture should be there in the dish. The beans should not get browned or crisp.
Add the grated coconut and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more on a low heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve the Papdi Bhaji with roti or chapati.
- Stringing and opening the bean pods take time. So you can prep ahead by doing this task a day before and storing the beans in the refrigerator.
- This same recipe can also be made with any kind of flat beans and even french beans.
- Use any neutral flavored oil. You can also use coconut oil.
- The recipe can be easily scaled to make for more servings.
Papdi Bhaji | Sem Sabji
Amount Per Serving
Calories 195 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Vitamin A 704IU14%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 44µg42%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 45µg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This Papdi Bhaji from the blog archives first published on February 2014 has been updated and republished on December 2022.