Saturday, February 18, 2012

White Beans Masala / White beans stew

When I came to this country 13 years back, most of the Indian restaurants in the area where we lived were north Indian restaurants. And most of the curries or side dishes would taste very similar except for the vegetable or legume. Lot of people have a misunderstanding that if you use ginger garlic paste, add garam masala and some red chilli powder to any vegetable or lentil base, you can create a curry. That is one option but one option only. Number of spices in Indian cuisine is such a nice number that if you do combinations of spices, you won't have to eat the same tasting dish often. Fennel is the star in this dish. Coconut and raisins lend the sweetness to this dish which balances out so well.

One year back - Sourdough Focaccia, Butternut squash spinach curry
Two years back - Chocolate almond spread,
Northern beans / white beans - 1 cup dry
Red Onion - 1 large or two medium ones divided use
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized or 1/2 - 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
Oil - 3 TBSP divided use
Garlic - 1 pod chopped
Ginger - 1/2" piece peeled and chopped
Turmeric - generous pinch
Salt - to taste
Red chilli powder - 1 - 2 tsp or as per taste
Fennel seeds /Saunf - 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 5
Cinnamon - 1/2" stick
Cardamom - 1 - 2
Raisins - 1/4 cup (I used black ones, you could use golden ones if you wish)
Coconut - 1/4 - 1/3 cup grated
Cilantro - 2 TBSP chopped for garnish

Soak white beans in enough water for 6 - 8 hours or overnight. Pressure cook the beans in enough water till soft. Drain the water reserving it. Mash about half cup of cooked beans with a potato masher. Set aside.
Chop half the onion into big chunks. Chop remaining onion finely. In a pan, heat 1 TBSp of oil. When hot, add fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves. When they pop, add garlic, ginger followed by big chunks of onion. Sprinkle turmeric, some salt and let it wilt. When onion is cooked, add coconut, raisins and crushed tomatoes or chopped tomatoes. When tomatoes are cooked, turn off the heat and let it cool a bit.
Meanwhile, in another pan, take the remaining 2 TBSP of oil. When hot, add the finely cut onion and mix well. Sprinkle some salt and let the onion cook. When this is happening, take the ingredients of the first pan in a blender and make a puree. You won't need any water to do it. When the onions are cooked, add the ground paste, cooked beans, mashed beans. Mix all well and add enough water from the reserved water (in which you cooked beans) and bring it to a simmer. Add chilli powder and adjust the salt if needed. When the whole mixture starts boiling, garnish with cilantro and turn off the heat. You can serve it with rotis or rice.

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  1. very delicious curry, lovely preparation..

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  2. i usually change up the spices, but not much in the usual curries.. this looks like a great combination!

  3. Yummy.. Nice pics..
    Love the bowl!!

  4. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.


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