afghan red bean curry

These are strange times indeed! I’ve never been the kind of person who happily cooks through a repertoire of dozen or so of favourite dishes, I like to travel, I like variety. During the first lockdown, with time on my side, I found an Afghan red bean curry recipe, tweaked it and served it with an Afghan inspired courgette. The resulting dish had various outings in 2020.

Although crosshatch scoring is not essential, if you have a sharp knife and the inclination, the result is pleasingly chefy. The use of coconut oil adds a sweet, rich nutty flavour to the dish but if your Amazon delivery hasn’t arrived yet, you can happily substitute olive oil – or butter if you are not vegan.

serves 2
for the Afghan red bean curry

2 tbsp of coconut oil
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tsp whole cumin
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
400g (drained weight) cooked red kidney beans
1 400g can good Italian tomatoes (I like Mutti Pelati) – reserve *2 tbsp of the juice for the courgette.
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the courgette

2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 medium green courgette
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 small red onion, diced
1 level tsp turmeric
*2 tbsp of the tomato juice from the tin
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

Afghan red bean curry:
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a medium-sized pan.
  2. Gently cook the spices until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes – reserving the last 2 tbsp of juice – and the mint leaves.
  4. Cook for a few minutes till the tomatoes break up easily.
  5. Remove the tomato mixture to a blender or food processor to blend until it’s smooth and glossy.
  6. Heat the other 1 tbsp of coconut oil and cook the onion and garlic until soft and slightly coloured.
  7. Stir the tomato sauce into the onion and garlic mixture followed by the drained kidney beans.
  8. Season to taste.
  1. Halve lengthwise the courgette and crosshatch score the flesh side on each half. Be sure to keep the lengthwise cut straight as an uneven cut will result in uneven browning.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the coconut oil.
  3. Sprinkle a little salt over the flesh side of the courgette halves and place them flesh-side down into the pan.
  4. Add the onion and garlic in the spaces between the courgette halves.
  5. When the onion and garlic are soft and translucent, the scored flesh side of the courgette should be nicely browned soften for about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the turmeric and season the onion mixture.
  7. Add a little water to the tomato tin to remove the remaining tomato juice.
  8. Turn the courgettes over and cover the pan for another 5 minutes or until the courgettes are soft.

Serve the red kidney bean curry alongside basmati rice, placing the courgette on top. Finish with a few coriander leaves.


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