It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe. I don’t know how you’ve all coped: you’ve probably been on bread and water, praying. Your prayers have been answered. Especially if you are a vegetarian. In fact, not only is this recipe vegetarian, it’s also vegan and gluten free. Alas, it is probably not paleo (though I’m not entirely sure what a paleo diet forbids) and nor is it nightshade free (I’m not making this one up). Nor is it made in an Instant Pot; though I don’t doubt that the more enterprising among you will be able to figure out how to make it in an Instant Pot—I assume you will use the time you save in some activity that will better your mind and character.
I kid, I kid: I make fun of the Instant Pot in order to bug friends who are high up in its cult; the truth is most Indians do cook dried beans in pressure cookers (though we were doing so long before the Instant Pot came along). This recipe, however, uses my friend Steve Sando’s excellent Rancho Gordo beans and those cook implausibly fast on the stovetop. If you’re using beans from some other source, a pressure cooker may be the prudent choice. If you’re using canned beans then I will pray for you.
The bean I used here is Rancho Gordo’s gigantic Royal Corona bean. They seem to be out of stock now but you could use any of their other white beans. And in fact you could use any of their other beans, with no thought for colour. I like to make this with white beans mostly for aesthetic reasons. Whichever bean you use, this is a simple recipe—with very few and relatively basic ingredients—that yields a delicious result.
- 1 lb Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans or other beans of choice, rinsed and soaked overnight.
- 1 medium red onion, chopped.
- 1 t-spn grated ginger.
- 1 t-spn grated garlic.
- The following ground to a coarse powder: 2-3 dried red chillies, 3/4 tspn cumin seed, 1/2 tspn coriander seed, 3/4 tspn black peppercorns, a small piece of cinnamon.
- 1/2 tspn ground turmeric.
- 2 large poblano pepperrs, deseeded and cut into 8-10 pieces each.
- 1 cup chopped or pureed tomato.
- 1 pinch sugar.
- Put the soaked beans in a pot and add enough water so that the beans are 2 inches or so below the surface. Bring to a hard boil, and boil uncovered for five minutes. Then reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook till almost done. Go read a book for an hour or so.
- Once the beans are almost done start doing everything else.
- Heat a tblspn or two of oil in a saute pan and saute the onions for a few minutes.
- Once the onions are beginning to brown, add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute.
- Then add the powdered spices and the turmeric and saute on medium heat for another minute or so.
- Add the peppers, mix and stir fry till beginning to wilt.
- Add the tomatoes, salt and sugar and cook till the oil begins to separate.
- If the beans are not yet done, go back to your book.
- Once the beans are almost done (cooked but still a little too al dente) add the contents of the saute pan to the bean pot and mix in thoroughly. Continue to cook at a simmer till the beans are done. Add more water along the way if it seems too dry before the beans are done.
- The final consistency is up to you. If you think you’re going to be eating it mostly with rice, you might want to use a little more water and make it a little soupier. If you’re gong to be eating it with parathas or chapatis or straight out of a bowl, make it more like a stew. Either way, you want the gravy/sauce to be easily pourable but not too thin or thick. Make sure to taste for salt.
- I like to use poblano peppers with this but any mild green pepper will do. You could go a bit hotter with maybe Anaheims but I wouldn’t go any hotter than a Fresno or Hungarian Wax—it’ll throw the balance of the dish off.
- Depending on how hot your dried red chillies are, or what your heat tolerance is, you might want to adjust the number you use. Though I made them with hotter byadgi chillies here, I usually prefer to use Kashmiri chillies, which are quite mild but impart a lovely red colour, and let the heat come mostly from the black pepper.