Last Minute Lunch (navy bean curry)
After months of dealing with frigid temperatures and wet weather back east, I’m back at my parent’s home in San Diego ready to soak in some…what, San Diego’s in the midst of an unprecedented 6-day deluge of rain? Why did I bother coming home then? Oh right, family. I suppose my relatives are just as worth the cross-country trek as Southern California’s typical golden rays of Christmas-y sunshine. Okay, they’re totally worth the trip – even a trip including nasty airport meals and a few hours way too close to a screaming toddler. Oh, air travel.
There are a million things I love about coming home, but I have to say a disproportionate number of them are food-related – from my favorite SoCal restaurants to Mom’s home-cooking, San Diego is my food mecca. And that’s before you even throw in Mom’s palatial and well-stocked kitchen. So, naturally, I’ve been spending my days fiddling around in her kitchen, making innumerable messes as we alternate the roles of head chef and sous chef. Mom and I have similar taste buds and temperaments when it comes to cooking, so it all generally works well. Except, I’ve noticed the lady seems obsessed with the clock. I don’t know what she’s so worried about. People will certainly wait around until 10pm for dinner, right? Wait, what do you think you’re doing with that peanut butter and jelly? Mom? Come back!
Okay, so I have issues with timing. Time never seems to matter when you’re cooking for one. And Amanda and I often let our food obsessions and culinary ambitions drive our big cooking days well past midnight. We may be too exhausted by that point to eat more than a few bites of our creations, but it’s all worth it for the girl time and a week or two’s supply of tasty leftovers. However, it turns out that hungry brothers hate leftovers and don’t care that you’re having fun in the kitchen if dinner isn’t ready by 7pm. 8 at the latest. So demanding! I’m sure I was never like that as a kid; I’m positive I was the picture of patience.
With other mouths to feed, time constraints forced me to change Saturday’s dinner plans, meaning the beans I had soaked and started cooking for a roasted tomato recipe would have to be used another time. Fast forward a couple days and lunch needs to be thrown on the table in 30 minutes. Not wanting to waste the beans, I threw together this Indian-inspired bean curry and couldn’t wait to share the results. I love the deep yellows brought on by the turmeric – especially contrasting with the bright green of the cilantro and the melting red tomatoes. And I’m glad the boys don’t like leftovers, because I fully intend to make the last helping of this hearty, soul-warming curry all mine. I can’t imagine a better – or tastier – way to stave off the chilly weather I can’t seem to escape from.
Last Minute Bean Curry
An EmandAm original (as much as any Indian recipe can be an original), serves 4
2 cups cooked navy beans (can used any canned white beans in a pinch, but you’ll sacrifice some flavor)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 large or 1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cilantro
2 cups rice
2 tablespoons butter
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add butter and rice. Lower heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until rice is done. Stir occasionally and monitor water level. You may need to add additional water before the rice is done.
While rice is cooking, heat pre-cooked (or drained canned) beans on low heat. Heat oil in medium skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add onions. Cook onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add tomatoes and all spices. Let simmer on low heat for 5-8 minutes, or until rice is ready.
When rice is ready, add cilantro to the spice onion mix and then add mix to beans. Serve beans immediately atop a serving of rice.
Changes: I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t add coriander here, but I’ll throw that in when I make this again. If you like spicy, add cayenne with the dry ingredients or some fresh green chilies with the garlic.
Curry keeps well in the fridge or can be made in advance and frozen. Trust me, there are days when discovering a frozen portion of homemade curry seems like a miracle of the grandest proportions.