Posts Tagged “beans”

Runner Bean Vindaloo Last month I made the annual end-of-summer visit to my parents' farm. This is a particularly opportune time of year to visit as there is a huge _glut_ of produce coming from the garden (and mushrooms from the woods, but that is a story for another time). I left with an overflowing box full of tomatoes, sweetcorn, apples, peas, broad beans, a _massive_ quantity of courgettes, cucumbers, runner beans and fresh herbs. I took as much as I could carry. In previous years I would hesitate before taking the runner beans. I have to admit, until recently I was always a bit unenthusiastic when it came to runner beans. I think it was their slightly furry texture that put me off. However, my mum used to make this unusual but very delicious green bean chutney which I loved; rich with mustard seeds and onions and turmeric, it had a curry-like aspect to it which, as a long-time curry lover, obviously appealed to me. Last year I had about half a kilo of runner beans and, wondering what to do with them, I remembered this chutney, and so got mum to send me the recipe. It is, as you'd expect of any good chutney, quite vinegary, which is another thing that particularly gets my taste-buds going! The chutney was great, and just as tasty as in my memories. This recipe is not for a chutney, but it was the seed of an idea. I had a moment of inspiration and realised that I could make a hot version of the runner bean chutney which, with generous quantities of vinegar and garlic, would be kinda like a _vindaloo_. It turned out to be really good, I'll definitely be making it again and I'll be pre-ordering the runner beans from the garden next year! --- * 500g runner beans * 3 tbsps of high quality rapeseed oil * 50ml white wine vinegar * ½ tsp ground turmeric * 1 tbsp ground cumin * 1 tbsp paprika * 1 tbsp ground coriander * 1 tsp cayenne pepper * 1 ½ tsp garam masala * ½ tsp brown mustard seeds * ¼ tsp whole fenugreek seeds * 15 fresh curry leaves * 3 medium onions, finely sliced along the grain * 2 tbsps fresh ginger, finely grated * 10 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated * 1 handful of baby spinach leaves * 1 tsp sugar * 1 tsp salt 1. Finely slice 2 or 3 of the runner beans length-ways and set aside to use for garnish later. Roughly chop the rest of the beans into about 2 inch pieces. Put a large, heavy based casserole pot or deep frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Wait for the oil to heat up. Fry the beans in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, until they are lightly browned. Set aside on a tray or in a bowl. 2. While the beans are frying, measure out the turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper and garam masala and set aside in a bowl. 3. Ideally, your pan will be big enough to cook the rest of the curry in it; if not, transfer all the fat from the pan into a larger one. Set the pan over a medium-high heat and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the onions and curry leaves. Stir and fry until the onions turn a light golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic, and stir until fully mixed. Now add the spice mixture. Turn the heat down and continue to cook for around 5 minutes. 4. Add the beans to the pan along with the salt, sugar, and about 150ml water. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, until the beans are soft. 5. Taste the curry and add more salt if necessary. Finally, add the baby spinach and stir until gently wilted. Serve with white rice, and garnish with the raw sliced beans.

Dal Makhani Dal is the Indian name given to lentils or beans. In India you can find a huge variety, and many more delicious savory concoctions made from them. When I visited the country, I was astounded at the depth of flavour that could be found in a _dal_; they were undeniably tasty, and had a powerful savoriness that I had previously thought wasn't possible in a dish with no meat. As lentils and beans are relatively inexpensive, they are used in everyday meals for lunch and dinner. This dal, made from black _urid beans_ however, is a bit more special. Due to the toughness of these beans, they must be soaked for several hours, then slowly simmered over a gentle heat for several hours more. Of course, a customary mixture of garlic, onion and spices is added to the mixture, and the result is a dark earthy bean stew that has a hint of smokiness. It's very rich, there's no denying it, so I have finished it with a swirl of yoghurt and some freshly chopped coriander. --- * 200g urid beans, soaked in water for at least 6 hours * 30g unsalted butter * 1 large onion, finely chopped * 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped * 20g root ginger, grated to a pulp * 3 tbsp tomato puree * 1 ¼ tsp salt * ½ tsp cayenne pepper * ¼ tsp ground asafoetida * 1 tsp ground coriander * 1 tsp ground cumin * ½ tsp garam masala * 15g unsalted butter * 1 bunch fresh coriander * 3 tbsp natural yoghurt 1. Drain the beans and rinse. Place in a pot and add water until just covered. Add ½ tsp salt, then bring to the boil, skimming off and discarding all the scum that rises. Simmer gently for 45 mins, topping up with water if necessary. 2. While the beans are simmering, add the 30g of butter to a separate pot and place over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and ¼ tsp salt. Turn the heat to low and fry gently for 20 minutes until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Now add the tomato puree, cayenne pepper, asafoetida, ground cumin, ground coriander. Stir thoroughly and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat. Now add the beans, the remaining ½ tsp of salt 300ml water. Bring to the boil, then turn to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 hours, topping up with water if necessary. By the end, it should be dark in colour and fairly thick; almost but not quite as thick as porridge. 2. To finish, add the 15g butter and mix vigorously to thicken the dal. If, at this point, it seems too thick just add a splash of water. Mix the yoghurt in at the last second to create a marble effect. Roughly chop the coriander and scatter over, along with the garam masala.

Crispy Fried Egg and Black Beans I’ve become quite fond of black beans. I’ve starting substituting them for kidney beans in chilli con carne, fajitas and other Mexican favourites. Also, one of my favourite Madhur Jaffrey recipes is a South African red kidney bean curry; it’s a simple but amazingly delicious recipe that impresses me every time I make it. I tried making it with black beans instead of kidney beans and it was even better! I’m not sure exactly what it is about these beans that makes me like them so much. I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that my all-time favourite meal from my local Chinese restaurant is _beef and black bean sauce_. It's an umami-rich delight. For this dish, I think they ferment the beans which makes them extra flavorsome. Fermented or not, I believe black beans actually have a deeper, more savory flavour than most other beans. This recipe is a really simple, easy dish that’s perfect as a weekend breakfast or brunch. Nothing more than onion, garlic and some cumin accompany the stewed beans; and to top the egg I have scattered over some rustic chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime. I like to fry the egg until it’s golden and crispy around the edges. It’s a fairly quick recipe; only about 50 minutes of cooking time, however, remember to soak your beans overnight first! --- * 100g dried black beans * 2 large free range eggs * 1 teaspoon of ground cumin * ½ onion, sliced * 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced or chopped * 1 small handful of coriander, roughly chopped * ½ a lime, juice of * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * 2 tablespoons of good quality rapeseed oil * vegetable oil, for frying 1. Put the beans in a bowl and cover generously with cold water. Leave for 6 hours, or overnight. 2. Place a pan over a medium heat and heat up 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Wait for the oil to get hot, then add the sliced onion and garlic. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft. 3. Drain the beans in a sieve. Turn the heat to high and add the cumin. Stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the beans along with 450ml water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 40 minutes, until the beans are tender and the water is almost all absorbed. Add more water if necessary. 4. In a frying pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Crack your eggs in and cook until the white is just cooked in the middle, but crispy around the edges. 5. Before serving, check the beans for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil and stir vigorously to thicken the liquid. It should be quite thick. 6. Serve the eggs on top of the beans, and scatter the coriander over. Finally, finish with a squeeze of lime juice.