Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Curried Black Beans and Rice

Naturally, with this being the first day of Lent, I decided to try my hand at making a bean and rice recipe. Most of the recipes I saw called for cooking the beans with a ham bone or flavouring the beans with bacon. I thought, well why not try to invent my own rice and beans dish?

I decided to draw on my knowledge of Indian cuisine to make this dish. I was improvising as I went along, but used 2/3 of the "wet trinity" (garlic, onion but no ginger) and the so-called "dry trinity" (turmeric, cumin, and coriander powders). It actually turned out quite well, and ladling this over brown rice ... mmmmm. I'd say it made for a good Lenten meal. (And yes, it was my only meal. Let me copy one of Fr Roderick Vonhögen's Facebook status messages here:
Today is a day of fasting (only one full meal, 2 small meals if necessary, no snacking) and abstinence (no meat) for all Catholics.
Naturally, there are exemptions that exist to this ... which are easily found at other sources ...)

But enough of that. Here is my recipe.

250 g dried black beans
4 c water

Place beans in water. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for ca. 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for an hour. (Alternatively, soak the beans overnight in 4 c of water.)

Drain the beans, and place in a pot with 4 c water. Set aside.

1 onion, diced
As much garlic as you can stand, minced. (I'd say no less than 2 cloves.)
1 tomato, diced
2 pcs dried chilli
2 pcs bay leaf
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
Salt and chilli powder to taste

Put oil in pan and heat with dried chilli and bay leaf. (I used canola oil.) Don't let the spices burn. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Or, for a different flavour, heat over medium low heat until the onions are carmelised. (I did the latter.) Add the turmeric and fry for about 1 minute or so. Add the cumin and the coriander and then fry for another minute or so. Add a bit of water to make a thick paste. Then add the tomato and season to taste with salt and chilli powder. Let cook for about a minute or two.

Add this curried mixture to the pot with the beans in water. Cook until the beans are tender.

Adjust seasonings with salt, chilli powder, and lemon juice (to adjust for saltiness, heat, and tartness). Serve over rice.

If I had them on hand, I would have added 1 tsp garam masala at the end, as well as some fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves. That would have added more flavour to this dish.

Recently in the TPP chatroom, we had a discussion about curry, and how some of the chatters weren't keen on curry. I thought it might be the turmeric they found off-putting. I find that if the turmeric is fried first for a minute or two, it mellows its flavour and the perception of eating something earthy or something like dirt is minimised to eliminated. At least, this is from my experience.

As far as cooking this dish is concerned - because of my very early morning, I ended up putting the pot on simmer after having added the onion/garlic/tomato mixture and letting it sit for 4 hours. I then took a nap, and by the time I woke up from my nap, the beans were ready. If you have a slow cooker, this dish would work perfectly there.

I'll definitely make this again, but this time, I'll make sure I have some coriander leaves at hand. Even having a few fresh Thai chillies would be lovely - mince that finely and add it with the tomato if you're going to use that.

Sorry, no pic!spam to share. I haven't a digital camera; otherwise I would have taken a picture of this dish.

1 comment:

NC Knitter said...

Lyn ---

I think folks might also be sensitive to cumin. I know I am. I had a carrot dish last year using cumin seeds, but they had been roastedfirst, and I think that made a difference --- I ate two helpings with no side effects.

--- Tom