Braised String Beans with Allspice and Garlic

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This dish is traditionally cooked on a stove top—as are most hot dishes in the Syrian repertoire—which reminds us that Aleppian Jewish home cooking as we know it evolved without the benefit of ovens. Even after generations in the modernized Western kitchen, many Syrian women refuse to cook in ovens, preferring instead the more familiar gas-burning stove tops, so they can maintain more control over the heat, especially for dishes such as riz halabieh (Classic Aleppian Rice), with its a’hata (crispy golden rice crust), and the many varieties of mehshi (stuffed vegetable dishes), which simmer for a long time.

Some people braise the beans in a 350°F oven for 2 hours after simmering so that the beans are exquisitely tender.

10 servings

Cooking Methodbraising, sauteeing



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian


Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, spiced

Type of Dishvegetable


  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds string beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste


In a medium saucepan, sauté the garlic in the vegetable oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the string beans, allspice, salt, 2 cups water, and, if desired, cinnamon and white pepper. Dollop the tomato paste by the heaping tablespoon over the surface of the cooking liquid. Do not stir. By letting the tomato paste remain undistributed, its thick consistency allows for maximum adherence to the string beans as the cooking liquid reduces.

Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.


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