Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beans/ legumes

I love the bean family. I love the idea of cooking or experimenting with beans and am always looking for new ways to cook and enjoy them, so I was inspired to do some creative cooking over the weekend by the theme A Legume Love Affair. It has been really, really cold here for the past week ( about 2 degrees C at minimum, and probably lower with the wind-chill), so I wanted to brew up a hearty broth of a soup with beans.

I flipped through a couple of recipe books but nothing there appealed to me so I decided to whip up my own concoction. I wanted something with the essence of Thai flavour to it, but not necessarily a traditional Thai recipe, and wanted to use beans. We had bought these intriguing white beans from a trip last year to Himachal Pradesh, so I soaked a cupful overnight and then pressure-cooked them until soft the next morning.

I luckily had lemon-grass on hand, and have several flourishing basil plants in my roof garden as well as a lime tree so the basil and kaffir-lime flavours were taken care of. I didn't have galangal do decided to go ginger-free for the soup. I always like having lots of veggies in the soup, so I used whatever came to hand - a handful of podded peas, some broccoli, a carrot, one green pepper...The soup turned out brilliantly. It's one that I will definitely be repeating or ringing changes on. It was flavourful and aromatic, brothy yet light and a complete win with both A and my mom and the kids.

Thai-inspired Bean Soup
1 cup White beans, soaked overnight and pressure cooked until soft
2 red onions, chopped
3-4 pods garlic, peeled and chopped
Handful fresh basil leaves
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped into 1 inch pieces
Handful fresh grated coconut
2 cups mixed vegetables, diced and boiled
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp sugar
Handful coriander leaves, chopped finely
Lime juice to taste
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil ( peanut)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 liter veg stock/ water

Heat the oil and put in the cumin seeds. When they get toasty, add the basil and lemon grass. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until brown. Puree the beans and the onion-garlic-lemon grass mixture together with the coconut.
In a saucepan, pour in the bean puree, the mixed vegetables and half a litre of water/ veg stock. add the salt, chilli powder and sugar and bring to a boil, storring occasionally. Blend with the whisk to ensure the bean puree hasn't clumped onto the bottom of the pan.
Serve hot, topped with coriander leaves and lime juice.

This was a simple recipe and fast to cook, which I always enjoy. The chilli powder, salt and sugar can all be adjusted to individual taste and the final dash of coriander and lime juice adds an amazing freshness to the taste.


Asha said...

Me too! Beans make any dish substantial and nutritious, great recipe BEV, thanks girl!:)

bird's eye view said...

You're welcome, Asha!

SSNAB said...

aloha :)ur on my indiblogger network.. got ur link frm thr..
u've gotta a nice blog..even i love cooking!! everything from traditional to hybrids and desserts..
will defntly try ur Thai inspired bean soup..

bird's eye view said...

Thanks ssnab; do try the soup, it was quite delish!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

My first visit to you blog and You are one of the few people who got it right to widen the written part of your bog. Can you advise me how - I don't even understand Blogger 4 dummies.



bird's eye view said...


Apologies for responding so late -vhave had a crazy few weeks between work and my daughter's illness. To widen the written part, I think what you should try is to go to templates and choose one that is called Stretch. I seem to remember that's what I did...

Sucharita said...

Hi, I just stumbled onto your blog while searching for Basil and Thyme Restaurent.Loved reading some of your articles on cooking.I love cooking myself and all kinds of food,though I dont get much time. While reading one of your articles I read you have planted basil in your home. I've recently come to Delhi and would like to know where I could get herb saplings such as basil, mint, pudina, thyme, parsley etc. I've always wanted to have my own garden.Do you have ideas ?

bird's eye view said...


Thanks for your comment. Basil is really easy to grow - if anyone you know has a plant, just take a few seeds and plant them in a pot. It spreads like wildfire, so now I have several pots of it. If you'd like, you can always come by and I'll give you a pot.
For coriander, just plant one of the coriander stalks that you buy from the market, complete with roots, into a small pot. Other plant seeds are available at the Masjid nursery near Khan Market, or sometimes on MG road, - there are several nurseries on that stretch. There is also a Kisan Bhandar at the municipal market near RK Puram sector 13 Multi-storey flats. they have all kinds of seeds and fertilizers/ nutrients for plants.

I have a roof garden of plants in pots, including trees like frangipani and mahua, which is flourishing despite the Delhi weather, so it's quite easy to do, though one has to be prepared for the heartbreak of various plants dying from time to time. I have blogged about my garden on my other blog - with a few pictures.

Sophie said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)