Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who needs a weekday supper?

I do!
After work, rush hour traffic, filling up the car so you can actually get home, and getting the team's lotto tickets because hope is like a fever, a girl gets hungry. This must be one of the most bastardized recipes in my repertoire- and it's not that I just sneak the word 'bastard' in where ever I can, because I do, but it is.

Le tale:
Back in the college days at MHC, there was a Caribbean food festival that involved cooking, and eating. I really don't see how you could go wrong with this. At that time, it was snowy as hell, and we were all crowded around the telly of the FP house, watching subtitled Jackie Chan movies. How. Can you. Go wrong.
You can't.
Somewhere in the realm of 2am on a Weds morning, things were abuzz. Delicious things. I found my house mate Alana, who hails from Trinidad, cooking something amazing. It smelled of coconut, spices, and warmth. It radiated through that 190 something year old kitchen (not even kidding), and lured me closer. She told me that It was red beans cooked in coconut milk with an array of spices, and a bit of a kick- it was to be served on Mac & Cheese. 'This part is vegan' she said, 'try it!'
You know those warm, fuzzy, somewhat surreal nights that just stand out in your head even though in the grand scheme of things, so much more has happened? This was one of them.

This is my approximation of the recipe. If you too hail from Trinidad, and you come across this somehow, try not to hold it against me for wanting to mimic the amazing dish, but only going on the memory of taste. Also, let me know the real version!

(Bastardized) Trinidadian Beans

1 can of red Kidney beans
1/2 can of coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Thyme
Red chili flakes to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp Fresh grated Nutmeg at the end

It occurs to me that at some point, I used to add ginger to this. I didn't tonight, and it was delicious. Try a dash if you like.
In a small nonstick pot with just a dash (tsp) of olive oil, briefly
sauté the garlic over medium heat.
Rinse the beans and add them to the pot.
Add the half can of coconut milk and spices to the beans. You want to cover all the beans, and have enough for a decent amount of sauce. Also, it turns an awesome mauve color at this point. How often do you get to say that? Mauve.
Taste for salt / heat levels, and adjust accordingly.
Now, everything in here is cooked, so you really just want to let the sauce thicken a bit, and for the flavors to develop. Simmer on medium / medium low for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Serve this over brown rice. Specifically, my saving grace from Trader Joe's. Highly recommend.

There's something extremely comforting about this dish, even in the swelter of summer.


MadMolecule said...

This sounds fantastic! I'm going to make it for my (vegan) girlfriend. The macaroni idea got me thinking this might be good with macaroni pasta instead of rice; going to give that a shot.

MadMolecule said...

OK, made it last night; this was terrific, and a big hit. I served fresh sliced mango on the side as well, which went really nicely with the spices and flavors. Thanks for posting!