The persistent June gloom that hung around for a few too many days had me craving a homey curry, and this one from Nigel Slater’s Tender has a great sprinkling of greens so as not to completely forget it’s summer. The beans, tomato, coconut milk, and spices concoction is really wonderful accompanied by a slice of crusty bread, rice, or greek yogurt–and can surely be experimented with. I used garbanzo beans for mine.
Cabbage with beans, coconut, and coriander
from Nigel Slater’s Tender (Ten Speed Press, April 2011)
enough for 4 to 6
dried haricot beans – 1 pound (500g)
onions – 2 medium
vegetable or peanut oil – 2 tablespoons
garlic – 3 cloves
green cardamom pods – 8
coriander seeds – 2 teaspoons
mustard seeds – a teaspoon
cumin seeds – a teaspoon
ground turmeric – 2 teaspoons
chiles – 3 small, hot
chopped plum tomatoes – two 14-ounce (400g) cans
a pinch of sugar
coconut milk – 1 cup (250ml)
fresh cilantro – a large handful
a lime, maybe 2
for the greens
leafy soft green cabbage, such as spring greens – a good handful or more per person
Soak the dried beans in cold water overnight. The next day, boil the beans until tender in deep unsalted water. Drain and set aside. (If you are using canned beans, rinse them under cold running water, then set aside.)
Peel the onions, cut them in half and slice them thinly. Add them to the oil in a large, deep pan and let them soften, coloring lightly, over moderate heat. This often takes longer than you might imagine, a good fifteen minutes at least. Peel and chop the garlic and add to the onions.
Crack the cardamom pods open and extract the tiny seeds. Crush these coarsely, using a pestle and mortar or a very heavy rolling pin, then stir them into the softening onions. Crush the coriander seeds and then the mustard, and add them to the onions with the whole cumin seeds, ground turmeric, a generous seasoning of salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, for at least five minutes, so that the spices toast in the heat.
Meanwhile, seed and finely chop the chiles and add, with the chopped tomatoes, 13/4 cups (400ml) of water and a pinch of sugar, followed by the cooked beans. Simmer gently over low heat, with the occasional stir, partially covered with a lid, for about thirty-five to forty minutes.
Mix the coconut milk into the sauce, simmer for a further five minutes, then add the cilantro leaves and the lime juice. When the curry is almost ready, make a tight fist of the greens and shred them quite finely. Steam or blanch briefly, then add to the curry.
For more recipes from Tender, see the excerpt below: