Fried Fresh Green Beans with Coconut


4 T unsalted butter
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 T urad dal. if available
½ C finely chopped onions
1 tsp scraped, finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb fresh green string beans, trimmed and cut crosswise into paper-thin rounds
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
¼ C finely grated fresh coconut
2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 T fresh lemon juice

In a I0-inch heavy skillet or a 12-inch wok, heat the butter over moderate heat until a drop of cold water flicked into it sputters instantly. Add the mustard seeds and dal and fry for 3 min, until the dal browns lightly. (If the dal is not available, fry the mustard seeds alone for 30 seconds.) Thoroughly stir in the onions, ginger, salt, and pepper, and drop in the green beans. Stirring constantly, add the red pepper and fry 5 min longer. Add the coconut and cilantro, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan. Stirring occasionally, cook for 10 min more, or until the beans are tender. Sprinkle with lemon juice, taste for seasoning, and serve at once.