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An oval dish of battered green beans

Peixinhos da Horta (Battered Green Beans) by Leandro Carreira

Learn how to make this delicious Portuguese appetiser of battered and fried green beans, which can be found in both family restaurants and homes in its native Lisbon.

Acclaimed Portuguese chef Leandro Carreira shares the recipe from the new Phaidon publication, Portugal: The Cookbook, which gathers dishes from every region of the country, including fish and shellfish dishes from the Algarve coast, hearty stews from the Douro Valley, and the famous and beloved pastries of Lisbon. 

Fine Dining Lovers readers can save 30% on a copy of Portugal: The Cookbook. Simply enter code FDL30 at check out.

A portrait of Leandro Carreira

Excerpted from Portugal: The Cookbook by Leandro Carreira.

19 April, 2022
Average: 4 (3 votes)

serves for


total time

0 HR 25 MIN


Green Beans
500 g/1 lb 2 oz, trimmed and strings removed
All purpose flour
180 g/6 oz (1. cups)
Whole milk
120 ml/4 fl oz (. cup)
Sunflower oil
1 litre/34 fl oz (4. cups), for deep-frying
juice of 2 lemons, for drizzling

"Literally meaning ‘little fish from the garden’, these battered and fried green beans are served as appetisers in both family restaurants and the home. This technique, which we now call tempura, was actually introduced to the Japanese in the 16th century, when three Portuguese merchants were the first Europeans to arrive in Japan. It has been a staple of Japan’s cuisine ever since. The word ‘tempura’ comes from the Latin word ‘tempora’, referring to times of fasting, and Peixinhos da Horta (and sometimes fried fish) were often eaten when the Catholic church dictated that meat should be avoided."

Watch and learn how easy it is to make battered green beans in the video, and see the step-by-step recipe below:

Step 01

Have a large bowl of iced water nearby. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, add the beans and blanch for 30 seconds, or until soft. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the iced water and leave to cool. Once cool, put them in a colander and leave to drip to remove any excess moisture.

Step 02

Put the flour into a large bowl, add the milk and stir together until a smooth batter forms.

Step 03

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Heat the sunflower oil for deep-frying in a large, deep saucepan or fryer until it reaches 180°C/350°Fon a thermometer. Taking three or four beans at a time, dip them into the batter, then carefully drop them into the hot oil and deep-fry for 1 minute, or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining beans.

Step 04

Season the beans with salt and drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

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