Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bean and Broccoli Curry

I have been a fan of Indian food ever since I was introduced to it on my first trip to England.  My then-future husband took me down the street from his flat to a little curry house, and I fell in love.  With the food, that is, I was already in love with him.

I came home from that trip with no less than three cookbooks on Indian cuisine, and several years later, when two of his British friends hopped the pond to visit us, they brought another one with them as a thanks-for-having-us gift.  I'm still working my way through it, picking it up every few months to see what jumps out at me, begging to be made, and this latest is no disappointment.

Though, to be fair, I did modify it some, leaving out spices I can't get locally and relying on a pinch of curry powder to replace curry leaves, something that would shock a purist, I know.  I like authenticity, but I'm not so uptight that I will forgo making a dish just because one of the ingredients can't be had!  I also ended up adding broccoli to fill it out a bit.  I think it's a good addition--I've seen quite a few recipes from other cuisines that pair white beans and broccoli, and many, many curry recipes are prefaced with "use whatever vegetables you like/have on hand" so I wasn't too afraid to experiment.

Bean and Broccoli Curry
(adapted from Anjum's New Indian)
  •  2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder (or more to taste if you like it hot)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 lb broccoli, washed and cut into small florets
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini (white/Great Northern) beans (that's about 2 cans, drained, if you don't cook from dry like I do)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the mustard seeds and fry until they begin to pop, then add the onion.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onion is soft and golden, 10-15 minutes.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook one minute more.

Add the salt and powdered spices and cook 30 seconds more, until fragrant.  Add the coconut milk, water, and broccoli.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes, until the broccoli is just tender.

Add the beans and simmer 5 minutes more to allow the flavors to marry.  Add the sugar and lemon juice.  If desired, mash some of the beans against the side of the pan, then stir them back in to thicken the curry.  Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more salt, sugar, or lemon juice to balance the flavor.  Serve with rice or (my favorite) naan!

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