1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
Generous pinch of ground asafetida (available at Indian markets or kalustyans.com)
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 to 3 fresh hot green chiles, such as bird's-eye, Indian long, or serrano, finely chopped
2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high; add asafetida. A few seconds later, add cumin seeds and let sizzle a few seconds. Remove from heat; add chiles and ginger. Stir a few times, then return to medium-low heat.
Add beans, 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste), and coriander. Cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes more. Serve hot or room temperature.