I mentioned in my Top 13 of 2012 post that Indian food has become my comfort food. The timespan following my recovery from C.Diff has proven that thoroughly. In the days when I started eating again I made several kheemas, the Parsi Inspired Chicken Curry with Mangoes and Cherries, and then this Curried Cranberry Beans and Sweet Potatoes. It is as though exhausted and tired of battling my appetite, all I could conceive of was Indian food. As though I had been raised on it.
Life is funny sometimes.
I wanted the probiotic benefits of the yogurt, so I chose to serve the yogurt on top of this curry, rather than cooking it into the curry as I might normally have done. Although it is not pictured (because I decided after taking the pictures), the lemon wedges I suggest serving this with are so important as to be part of the recipe, not just an optional garnish. That jolt of tart against the richness of the beans and the sweetness of the yams really elevates this dish.
- 1 lb dried small-medium pink/red beans, such as borlotti/cranberry or pinto beans
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
- Drizzle about 1 t mustard oil
- 1/2 t turmeric
- 1/2 t paprika or cayenne
- 1 t salt
- 3 sweet potatoes, yams chopped
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 T mustard oil
- 1 T dark mustard seeds
- 1 T cumin seeds
- 1 small handful of curry leaves
- 1/2 t turmeric
- 1/2 t paprika
- 1 1/2 t ground cumin
- 1 1/2 t ground coriander
- 1 T garam masala
- 1 cup water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- additional lemon
- plain Greek yogurt
Begin by cooking the beans--how long will depend on the age of the beans. I use Rancho Gordo, which means I can count on them being in done in a few hours or less. Place the beans in a large, heavy bottomed pot and cover them by 2 inches of water. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, Ceylon cinnamon stick, turmeric, paprika and drizzle of mustard oil. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes.
Then cover and lower to a gentle simmer. Check every so often to see if more water is needed--the beans should remain covered by 2 inches of water while cooking.
When the beans are nearly tender, add 1 teaspoon of salt and let finish cooking. Turn off the heat and set aside until you need them.
For the curry: heat 1-2 tablespoons of mustard oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the dark mustard seeds and cover with a lid. When they are nearly finished popping, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves--stand back, because the leaves will sizzle. Let the spices roast for about 1 minute, until the cumin seeds are a shade darker but not burnt.
Add the sliced onions with a pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well caramelized. Add a splash of water if they start to scorch or stick.
Add the turmeric, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander and garam masala. Let cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
Add the sweet potatoes with a pinch of salt and toss to incorporate. Cook without stirring for 5 minutes (add a drizzle of oil if you feel it is needed).
Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and let cook for 10 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are nearly tender.
Add the beans with their liquid and bring to a boil. Let simmer, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the flavors are melded. Add the juice of one lemon.
Before serving, mix in a teaspoon of garam masala. Taste for additional garam masala or salt.
Serve with lemon wedges and plain Greek yogurt.