Monday, May 8, 2017

Indian Kidney Bean Stew

 A while back, I saw Bal Arneson making this recipe on her show "Spice Goddess", and I thought "ooooo I need to try that." And then I promptly forgot all about it. Cut to several months later, I happened to turn her show on again, and I saw the same episode. I thought "OH! There's that recipe I never tried!" And now that I've built up my collection of Indian spices, I finally have all the ingredients on hand to make it! Perfect!
 It's spicy and warm, it has a couple sweet elements, it's comforting and aromatic and flavorful, and it all blends PERFECTLY! It's really easy too! If you like Indian flavors, you MUST try this. Serve it up in big bowls as is, or serve it over rice as I did. (Yes, yes, I know this stew already has potatoes in it so it should be served in a bowl, but I served it over rice anyway!) Either way, it's absolutely delicious. I'm so glad I finally gave it a try. You should too!

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp*
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups diced sweet potato
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 small seedless oranges, peeled and cubed

 *Can be found at specialty Asian and Indian markets!

 Place the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala, fenugreek seeds, oregano, rosemary, and turmeric, and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the kidney beans and oranges and cook for 2 minutes to heat through. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Before you start  cooking, make sure you have all of your spices measured into a small bowl and ready to go. You don't want one spice to burn in the pan while you're searching your spice rack for the next one! 
There are A LOT of very strong flavors here. The spices bring quite a lot of flavor to the party. So it's nice to have the sweet potatoes and oranges to help balance everything out. Definitely be sure to include them!
 When I bought the tamarind, it was a solid block. So I soaked it in some warm water for a while, just to soften it, used my fingers to separate it and smash it up a bit, then strained it and pushed the pulp through a sieve. If you can't find tamarind, just use mango or peach puree.
 Instead of cooking the sweet potatoes in the stew, I roasted them on a sheet pan in the oven until they were just about cooked through, and then added them to the stew at the last minute. I think it helps to keep the them from becoming too mushy. Then you can just simmer them in the stew until they're done. Oh, and be sure to be gentle when you stir everything together!
 If you don't like kidney beans, you can substitute chickpeas or any other kind of bean. Just be sure to drain and rinse them, just as with the kidney beans. 

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