Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kidney Bean and Yam Stew with Oranges

Winter's not giving up its frigid grasp and the colds are making their rounds again. So this thick Indian stew sounded perfect to fight off the chills and sniffles. Yams, kidney beans, oranges, garlic, about a bowl full of health. How much beta carotene, vitamin C, fiber, protein can one really cram into a single meal? I refuse to get sick now, with spring so close!

adapted from Everyday Indian by Ball Arneson

Serves 4

The Ingredients:

2 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp garam masala
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary, dried or fresh
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
one 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked, cubed yams (approximately 2 medium)
1 cup water
one 14 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups peeled, cubed oranges (approximately 2 medium)

The Process:
Place the oil, ginger, garlic and fenugreek seeds in a big pot over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cumin, garam masala, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, and salt, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, yams and water: increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 7 to 9 minutes. Add the kidney beans and oranges and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. remove bay leaves and serve.

My Modifications:
I lacked fenugreek seeds in whole form, but had the ground seeds on hand. I substituted that at half the amount. And while on the subject of spices, I've begun making my own garam masala blend. My recipe consists of whole cloves cumin seeds, green and black cardamom pods, coriander seeds, peppercorns, a bay leaf, a cinnamon stick, and a pinch of nutmeg. Countless variations of this Indian stable abound. Feel free to experiment...or pick up a pre-made variety at the store.The original recipe did not specify that the yams be cooked, though given the short cook times listed it seemed unlikely the tubers would be tender without a little pre-stew prep. I prefer to bake mine in the oven for about an hour, but in a pinch the microwave will do the trick. The original recipe also did not specify to peel the oranges. The thought to chewing on orange peel did NOT their exteriors were disposed of prior to cubing and adding to the pot. Mine oranges were a seedless variety.

The Review:
The warm oranges were a bit odd, and the cumin a tad overpowering, but overall the stew was a big hit. It struck me as sort of like the Tex-Mex chili's long lost cousin. The kidney beans gave the stew the hardy parallel. And the cumin lent a familiar flavor. But the meat was hardly missed. It's nice to have another vegan friendly main course in the arsenal.

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