I boiled carrot and beans pieces till they were soft, fried onions and green chillies in a pan, added 1kg of the carrot and beans to the pan, few pinches of salt and some powdered spices.
Fried this for 20min and the taste of the veggies were still bland. No taste at all.
I was told to add red chilly powder to it, but I did not have any at 11pm in the night. Kept the pan in the fridge.

I can buy red-chilly powder today and try continuing to fry it.

Do you have any suggestions on what I could add to it, how much chilly powder to add, how long to fry it without spoiling it or any other precautions and tips to make it into a tasty dish?

  • How long did you boil them? Did you do this in plain water?
    – Mien
    Apr 26, 2012 at 8:20
  • Yes, in plain water. Water reached boiling point (with veggies still in it) and then I let it continue boiling for about 5 min.
    – Nav
    Apr 26, 2012 at 9:43

3 Answers 3


I would do two things to make them more palatable.

  1. Boil the briefly (5-10 mins depending on how hard of a veg they are) in salted water. Something like a tablespoon of kosher salt per 4 quarts water (3.7L water).
  2. After they are parboiled, I then will saute, simmer, or braise (depending on the recipe/mood/vegetable) in a highly flavored sauce or spice mix until they are cooked.

So if I was cooking the carrots and (green/string?) beans and wanted to use chili powder I would chop some onion and saute that in olive oil while the other veg parboils. Then, add 1-2 tablespoons chili powder to the onions (and maybe some garlic, because everything is better with garlic) and let those flavors meld while you drain the veg. Once you have the veggies drained add them to the onions and spice with a bit of liquid (wine, beer, stock; maybe 1/2 cup) and let them cook on low until they are as done as you would like them.


If I was frying vegetables like beans and carrots for twenty minutes, I wouldn't bother boiling them at all: you are simply boiling out the nutrients and flavour.

In point of fact, I wouldn't fry those vegetables for twenty minutes anyway. I would slice the vegetables so they were roughly the same size, on a diagonal to maximise surface area, then stir fry them quickly over a very high heat. Sprinkle in any spices in the last few minutes, and perhaps add a splash of water if you want a little sauce.

  • 2
    That's the first thing I thought - after soaking in water long enough to come to a boil +5 minutes boiling and then 20 minutes of frying those veggies are pretty overcooked Apr 26, 2012 at 15:48

If you really need that extra cooking time (instead of just frying) you may want to consider steaming rather than boiling.

You can even do it all in the same pan if it's all getting cooked that way, such as in Alton Brown's glazed carrot recipe (which also uses chili powder).

For some vegetables, I'll do it the other way around -- eg, for brocolli, I'll sauté the sliced up stems, then add the florets, toss in a little water and slap a lid on it to let it steam for a couple minutes, then drain any excess water (hold lid on loosely, then tip the whole thing over the sink to let the water run out), then return to the stove w/ the lid off to evaporate the remaining moisture.

In this particular case, I'd go with what amedinasmith said, but steam rather than boil in the first step as it's faster (don't have to bring a large quantity of water up to temperature), and you'll retain more of the flavor as it doesn't leach into the water.

  • Thank you. I think it's the glazed carrot kind of dish my mom used to make, though she had said I'd have to boil the veggies. First time cook I am. A bit of trial, error and advice always comes in handy :)
    – Nav
    May 1, 2012 at 15:53

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