God’s people wander
in the supermarket
among chemical frozen pies
over processed skillet dinners
nutritionless snack foods
soft drinks in throwaway bottes.
Like manna in the wilderness
hold fast
vegetables from sun-warmed gardens
protein rich beans
oven-fresh whole grain breads
home-canned fruit in Mason jars” .

Quote from More-With-Less (Cookbook)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, once again I’m repeating the importance of home cooked fresh meals. I don’t know why our generation got that idea instilled in our minds that cooking at home has to be a laborious and time consuming process. Simple noodles stir fried with vegetables, pasta tossed with a 5 minute homemade sauce, an omelette, a lentils curry, a baked potato and even a fried egg are good, honest home cooked meals. Don’t we have even this much time to save ourselves from a bombardment of chemicals and bad ingredients?

You won’t find a calorie counter on my blog because I don’t believe in counting calories. Nothing takes the joy out of cooking and eating more than counting calories. I can’t stress enough that it’s not calories that are our enemy but the chemical preservatives, artificial colours and highly processed ingredients. I’m not saying that I don’t indulge in any of the above evils, but I try to limit them as much as I can by cooking with fresh and whole ingredients as much as I can. Really it is as simple as this recipe for Spicy Beans in Coconut Milk Curry.

Legumes and lentils are the backbone of my kitchen and a great source of low fat protein. Happily there is a huge variety of recipes in South Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines that I can create with them so there is no fear of monotony in the weekly menu. And, if not all, most of the dishes even my kids enjoy eating.

Red beans have a very meaty texture and, therefore, make an excellent main ingredient for a hearty curry. I cook them in a variety of ways, mixed and matched with meats, paneer cheese, tomatoes and bell peppers or simply on their own as in this Spicy Red Beans in Coconut Milk Curry.

Coconut milk gives the curry a whole different flavour profile and creaminess. Lemon juice balances the sweetness from coconut with lots of refreshing zing. Once the beans are boiled, the rest of the recipe takes only a few minutes to finish. Then heap it over steamed rice or scoop it up with a flat bread for a very satisfying meal. Cook a bigger batch and serve the leftovers for breakfast, topped with chunks of toasted paneer or fried/poached eggs.

2 cups red beans
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
1 cup coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons ghee(clarified butter) or olive oil
Spring onions, fresh coriander, green chilli peppers for garnish

This Is What You Do:
Wash and soak beans overnight or for several hours. Boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt till very tender. If you are in a hurry or forget to pre soak them, don’t worry, just boil them with salt and a pinch of baking soda or pressure cook them.

Strain and set aside.

Add oil to the pan and fry onions till light golden. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Add all the spices and salt with a splash of water and sauté another couple of minutes.

Add beans and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes or till the liquid is reduced. Smash some of the beans with stirring spoon to thicken up the curry.

Add lemon juice. Taste for the balance of sweet and sour. If it’s still a bit sweet from coconut milk for your taste, add a little more lemon juice.

Garnish with spring onions, green chilli peppers and fresh coriander.

Serve hot with steamed rice, roti or simply dig in with a spoon. I sometimes serve the left over curry for breakfast, topped with fried eggs.

Serves 6

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