Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Pulse of the Kitchen

I have reacquainted myself recently with all kinds of beans/pulses/legumes, whatever you want to call them! I used to enjoy them quite a lot and for some strange reason my use of them has faded over the years. Part of it is probably to do with the whole preparation involved in having pulses, that is, if you aren’t able to get them tinned. The only ones regularly available in tins (at my local supermarket) are kidney beans and chickpeas (and from time to time mixed beans and cannelini beans), which I do buy from time to time, but find the flavour is nowhere near as good as when you soak and cook them yourselves.
I have started shopping at the local Bin Inn again and they have a fantastic array of beans/pulses and I have been really enjoying trying all the different types.
I tend to buy a whole heap, soak and cook them and then freeze them in 2 cup lots, which is about what I reckon feeds 4-6 people. Today I restocked on black eyed beans, black beans, chick peas and cannelini beans.
The black eyed beans are one of my favourites. A good friend of mine, Colleen, introduced me to them some time ago when she made a recipe that was a favourite of her vegetarian (or was it vegan?) daughters. It is called African beans and is a recipe from Alison Holst’s “Meals Without Meat”. Meals without MeatThese beans are fabulous done this way, but I have mutated the recipe to an even easier version that I now make on many an occasion, as it is quick, yummy and very filling. Plus it passes the Carys taste test so it gets relied on regularly!
Another idea from that book that I still regularly use is to make a Spaghetti Bolognese sauce with red lentils. I actually make mine with half meat /half lentils but it adds another dimension to it and is actually very yummy, as well as stretching the meal further at very little extra cost. Last nights version of this did have some wine, some bacon and some pesto thrown in, it was all the better for those additions too!

My copy of “Meals Without Meat” is currently in a box somewhere in the garage and I can’t face rummaging out there to uncover the original recipe for African Beans (and no internet search found it either –blast!) but will do up my mutated recipe and then add notes on what was in the original.
I always feel so virtuous after eating this, as I am so full and yet have done minimal damage calorie wise! Don’t even think of ommiting the coconut cream, it absolutely makes it! Live a little!!! I served it with brown basmati rice but it would have been even better if it were accompanied by some raita and fresh chopped coriander.

Mutated ‘African Beans'

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
oil for frying
2 cups cooked black eyed beans
2 tins Watties Indian tomatoes (chopped tomatoes blended with indian spices)
½ tin lite coconut cream (pop the other half of the tin in the freezer for next time!)

Fry garlic, onion and capsicum together in oil until soft. Add in beans, stir through. Pour in tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 mins until the tomatoes have reduced down. Just before serving, stir through coconut cream. Simmer for a few minutes then serve with rice.

The original recipe used normal tinned chopped tomatoes and you added paprika, turmeric, chili powder and coriander to the onions and fried, before adding tomatoes. The rest of the recipe carries on the same!


hungryandfrozen said...

Lol I am such an evangelical pulse and bean convert. They are unbelievably good for you and so cheap! Hoorah! Red lentils are wonderful mixed in with mince - you don't even taste them at all, but they add a lot of bulk. Hmm, I am really sounding like a student now LOL

Scott Steensma said...

thank you so much. i ate this dish9 years ago and have never had it again!!! just bought BEP's today!!!!! can't wait to get into the kitchen. cheers, cara