Cooking Live recipe: Black and white beans in coconut sauce

I’ve been doing #cookinglive on Twitter on and off for a good couple of years, now, and beyond the fact that it seems to make a lot of people hungry around dinner time, it’s become a good way for me to consign improvised or semi-improvised recipes I make. And when I get my act together, I even put these recipes up on this blog.

The bean dish I made last Tuesday caught a fair bit of attention and interest, with people asking for the recipe – a good incentive to find a minute and put it up. It’s inspired from a Tanzanian dish found in The World in Your Kitchen, a terrific vegetarian cookbook my wife and I got from her parents a few years ago. The original recipe wound up being a little dry, when I tried it, however, so I added a little liquid (maybe even a little too much, this time).

The recipe, which managed to feed a family of five for a couple of meals (served with rice or over Udon noodles), starts out pretty simply:

Warm olive oil over medium heat. Dice a medium onion, sautée in oil two minutes.

I have a mortar and pestle, so I tend to buy certain spices in whole seeds (in this case coriander and cumin) and crush them just before using them. Otherwise, you can use powdered:

Add crushed cumin and coriander seeds, garlic, turmeric and chili powder, stir and let cook for one minute.

For this recipe, I used a generous teaspoon of each of the dry spices, and a couple of cloves garlic. Warming the spices in oil helps release the flavors – but don’t cook them too long or too hard, or the flavors can get harsh.

I then used four or five medium-sized potatoes, cutting them in small pieces:

Add three cups of broth (chicken or veggie), bring back to boil, throw in diced potatoes. Cook the potatoes 5 minutes in the spicy broth.

Tomatoes and potatoes, cooking in a well-spiced, colorful broth

The idea, here, is to have enough liquid to boil the potatoes properly in the spicy, tasty broth. Balancing the liquid proved a bit tricky, though, probably because of the next step:

Add a can of diced tomatoes, bring back to a boil and cook another five minutes.

The recipe wound up being a little too liquid, however, which brings me to suggest draining the tomatoes and setting the liquid from the can aside, and adding some in if necessary, later in the process.

Then come the main stuff, again calibrated for a rather large recipe:

Added 1 cup dessicated coconut, 2 cans black beans, 2 cans white beans and a can coconut milk. Cooking 30 mins.

Stir all the ingredients in as you add them, bring the stew to a boil, and then turn down the heat to simmer, stirring regularly. You don’t want this to stick. I used some light coconut milk, by the way, which may also have contributed to the conclusion:

Coconut bean stew not as thick as I hoped. Should’ve put only 2 cups broth, drained tomatoes. No matter: will serve over rice.

Indeed, if the stew is not exactly thick enough to eat just like that, serving it over rice or rice noodles, for instance, will work very well. The kids loved it, in any case.

And you know what? If you add more liquid, this might make a very nice, heartwarming soup, too.

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