I have come across different versions of beans cooked in coconut milk from Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia, all countries on the east coast of Africa. Below is my recipe for a simple and delicious vegan variation….using home grown beans. And it’s delicious….
Beans are a large part of a sensible vegan diet, as they provide the essential amino acids that human beings need, and are otherwise found in meat and dairy produce.
I’m lucky, I have an allotment and grow my own beans, and there is nothing quite like a freshly dried bean. They’re easy to grow, and are actually quite decorative when they’re flowering, with pretty blossoms in various colours such as orange, white and purple, depending on the type of bean. They also don’t take up too much space as they grow up rather than out! They can be picked at various stages: young fresh green beans when you eat pods’n all. Flageolet, when the beans are quite advanced in size, but still soft and green: and can be podded and used fresh or dried. And the final stage, when the pods have died on the vine, and the big fat beans are harvested and dried.
With dried beans, I soak them, cook them in batches and then freeze, that way I always have beans on hand when I need them….
However, buying the best quality dried beans you can find, or opening a tin or two, will work just fine for this recipe.
EAST AFRICAN BEAN STEW
can be served with rice or flatbreads
- approx. 120gms. sweet red pepper
- 2 large tomatoes – (optionally skinned)
- 300ml water
- 2 tbs.olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4cm ginger, finely grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 800gms. cooked beans ( a large hearty bean such as red kidney – I used scarlet emperor)
- 400ml. coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp.coarse ground black pepper
- Roughly chop the pepper and the tomatoes (skinned if wished) and place in a pan with 300ml water.
- Simmer covered until tender.
- Puree the pepper and tomatoes with the cooking water. Set aside.
- In a deep sided casserole pan, saute finely chopped onions in 2 tbs.oil for 2 mins.
- Add crushed garlic and finely grated ginger. Saute 1 min.
- Add tomato/pepper puree. Simmer 3-4 mins.
- Add 400ml. coconut milk.
- Simmer 2 mins.
- Add 800gms. cooked beans.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently on lowest setting 20-30 mins. Used a heat diffuser if necessary.
15 mins. before serving: prepare cabbage:
- Shred and wash cabbage.
- In a frying pan, add 1/2 tbs. olive oil + 1 chopped garlic clove.
- Add shredded cabbage, and saute 5 mins.
- Add 120ml. water, and continue cooking cabbage until water has evaporated. Cabbage should be al dente.
Serve immediately. Piping hot.