Dunno why, but I always find recipes that use beans intriguing. Many of them of course use beans that I have no clue about and it's interesting for me to try and decipher which exact bean they're talking about or to substitute what the recipes used with what I have available and see which works better for me. Down South, in Bangalore, one gets all kinds of different bean varieties, available fresh, peeled or dried up, and I'm always after my folks to bring me back some when they visit Bangalore.
Early this year, we had headed out to Himachal Pradesh on a (relaxing) family holiday. The owner of the place we were meant to be staying at insisted it was a mere five hour drive, so we set off for a 3 day break. Only to realise that far from 5 it was a 9 hour drive, with the last 2 hours or so among ba-aad, narrow mountain roads. Poor A, who drove our car, said his legs were vibrating for the next week, since he also got stuck with driving us back. Anyway, I always like to explore the local markets for new fruit and veggies and while we were there, I discovered some lovely white beans( picture will follow tomorrow). They looked so buttery and silky, how could I resist? So I lugged a good two kilos back and have been using them on and off for diverse purposes.
Now that winter's here and I read on Tigers and Strawberries about her bean and green soup, I thought, why not try that? Of course, I forgot to copy the recipe to take home ( and now y'all know what I do in office!), so wound up inventing my own version. My son, Chubbocks, insisted on helping me make the soup, which I'm all too happy with, so the greens in the soup and the tomatoes and carrots were all added by him. Sure made it taste nicer! It was actually pretty much a meal by itself, with a chunk of bread on the side.
White beans ( well, whatever you want to put in), soaked overnight and boiled until well cooked but firm
1 red onion, sliced
4 spring onions, chopped including the greens
1 bunch of chopped whatever greens - spinach, fenugreek...I had Bathua so I used that.
4 garlic pods, chopped fine
2 carrots, sliced
2 potatoes, diced
Handful coriander leaves, minced
Juice of half a lemon
Pepper and salt to taste
1 tsp jeera ( cumin seeds)
1 tbsp olive oil ( or some veg oil)
1 litre water/ stock
Put the jeera in hot oil in a large, thick bottomed saucepan and let it turn toasty.
Add the sliced and chopepd onions and garlic and saute until pale brown.
Add the tomato and stir, cooking until soft but not mushy.
Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat soft.
Add the carrots and cook until soft.
Add the greens and cook until slightly wilted.
Add the water/ stock, beans, salt and pepper to your content and bring to a boil. Then turn down to simmer for 10 minutes while you toast bread or whatever.
Top with the coriander leaves.
Put in a squeeze of the lemon juice into each cup just before serving.
I had to improve on perfection, so I added a dash of Ranjaka ( see November blogs), to add a touch of dare-devilry to the soup. Yum...!