What Makes Armenian Braised Green Beans Unique?

Armenian cuisine is one rich with vegetables and succulent meats, and one that is steeped in history and deeply influenced by geography. According to Advantour, the country's cuisine is among the oldest in the world, with some traditional dishes going back over 2,000 years. 

While dishes like succulent sini manti and comforting harissa often come up in Armenian culinary conversation, anyone traveling to Armenia will also want to try their spectacular ganach fassoulia, or ganach lupia. According to Serious Eats, the dish's name is a direct translation of the legume, as ganach is the Armenian for "green" and lupia is the Armenian word for "bean." However, the other common name for the dish, ganach fassoulia, comes from the Arabic word for bean. According to the site, for Armenians to frequently refer to the meal by its Arabic name, it demonstrates how well-liked the dish is throughout Southwest Asia and North Africa. 

While green beans are a popular staple legume across the globe, Armenians have a special way of preparing them that turns the hearty beans succulent and tender by braising them in a garlicky tomato sauce. 

Fantastic fassoulia

For many Armenians, both inside and outside the country, ganach fassoulia brings forth a nostalgic feeling. According to Dining in Diaspora, this is a dish where every family has their own variation and favorite way to prepare it, but that's what makes this dish so special.

While ingredients can vary, the preparation process is usually the same. The dish can take hours to prepare, according to Serious Eats, but its worth the wait. Whether lamb is being cooked alongside the beans, or its a vegetarian rendition, simmering the beans in the tomato-y sauce can take a long time.

The Armenian Kitchen's recipe first starts by browning the meat, and then adding onions in olive oil. Once the onions and meat are cooked, it's seasoned with staple spices, such as salt, pepper, allspice, and garlic. Separately, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and green beans are cooked together and then added to the meat mixture. It's brought to a boil then simmered for about an hour on low heat. Once they're done, the beans should be tender and have absorbed all the great garlicky and meaty flavors.

When served alongside bulgur pilaf with a dollop of tangy yogurt, per Serious Eats, the dish is perfectly rounded out and ready to enjoy.