Beans and cardamom

A nice vegan recipe inspired by India which combines legumes and a versatile spice

by Simone Salvini
Red beans, coconut milk and red tea jelly, a recip

Red beans, coconut milk and red tea jelly, a recipe by vegan chef Simone Salvini (photo by Emanuele De Marco)

Today I propose a dish which is inspired by the East and, to be more precise, by India. In the Subcontinent, beans are an important source of protein given the limited use of meat and they are mostly cooked in 3 ways: in buttermilk, in tea or in coconut milk (the latter tradition is more typical of Sri Lanka). The following recipe uses another ingredient which I believe is extraordinary, namely coriander, which in this case is used both as a spice (the seeds), and as an aromatic herb (the leaves). It is a fine combination with legumes because it makes them more digestible and avoids the annoying problem of bloating. It is a very common ingredient in Chinese, Indian and Oriental cuisine.

Red beans, coconut milk and red tea jelly

Recipe for 4 people

200 g cooked red beans (for their preparation, see below)
50 g peeled carrot
50 g peeled celery

for the coconut milk cream
200 g unsweetened coconut milk
50 g water
2 g salt
4 g corn flour

for the red tea jelly
250 g water
1.5 g powdered agar-agar
2 g African red-tea (theine-free)
4 lemon zests
4 black pepper corns
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves

coriander stalks
coriander leaves
coriander seeds

Cardamom is the third best selling spice in the world, after sapphron and vanilla

Cardamom is the third best selling spice in the world, after sapphron and vanilla

1) Melt the corn flour into the cold water. Bring the coconut milk to the boil together with the salt then add the corn flour and whisk for 1 minute. Remove from the stove and keep warm.

2) Dice the carrot and celery into small pieces. Sauté these using a pan with a little oil for a minute and put to a side.

3) Simmer for 3 minutes the water necessary for the jelly, together with the zest, pepper, cardamom and bay leaves. Add the agar-agar and mix quickly with a small whisk, so that the vegetal gelatine can melt. Remove from the stove, add the red tea and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Strain and transfer the liquid into a metal baking tin with a completely smooth base. Leave in the fridge.

4) Toast the coriander seeds in the oven at 180°C for 3 minute. Clean the coriander stalks with a knife and soak them in cold water. Remove the prettiest leaves from the stalks and soak them.

5) Put the coconut cream on the dish, add some carrot and celery dices. Add the cooked beans and the aromatic herbs. Finish with the toasted coriander seeds and some disks of red tea gelatine.

For the cooked beans
Leave 500 g of red beans or borlotti beans soaking in the water overnight. If possible, change the water at least once. The following day, put the beans on the base of a casserole tin with a thick base and cover with lots of water. Add 4 bay leaves, a rosemary sprig and 4 sage leaves. Simmer with the lid on until the cooking is completed (it takes about 40 minutes). Gradually remove the foam using a small strainer. Salt lightly only a few minutes before finishing to cook, so it will take less time and the legumes will be more digestible.



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