This Indian Bean and Chickpea Stew with Mushrooms is a fantastic and flexible vegetarian curry that will sell anyone on Indian food–case in point my mom loved it! As you will read, the first time I made it, I did not properly record what I did. I made it again in October 2015 and updated the photos and added cauliflower. I have chosen to leave my hilarious recipe blueprint untouched for the sake of posterity, but rest assured you can scroll to the bottom for a proper recipe!
My mother warned me. She came to visit, she adored this stew (it was what I would call a good bet), and she said “Did you write down what you did so you can do it again?” “Yes, Mom.”
And I did, I swear I did. But then we made all those cookies and I lost it.
Ingredients I Can Remember
1 T panch phoron
1 t dark mustard seeds
3 onions, chopped
crimini mushrooms–1 lb
cooked scarlett runner beans
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t turmeric
4 peeled, chopped medium sized tomatoes
add beans w cooking liquid
juice of lemon
3/4 cup whole fat yogurt(sour cream)
First I started the scarlett runner beans and chickpeas cooking, together, with a chopped onion, some chopped garlic, and turmeric and paprika. When they were tender–but still holding their shape–I added about a teaspoon of salt and set the pot aside, off the heat.
I’ve been obsessed with mushrooms lately. I don’t know why I say lately–mushrooms have been a lifelong love affair–except I used to avoid using them in non-European, international preparations. Don’t ask me why–clearly no good reason, because this was FANTASTIC. My lazy person technique is to brown the onions (in the panch phoron), and then when they are done, scoot them to the side and brown the mushrooms handful by handful in the center of the pot, mixing them into the onions as they are done, and then repeating with the next handful of mushrooms.
When the mushrooms were done I know I added the tomatoes and cooked it until the mixture resembled a thick sauce. Do not be tempted to use canned tomatoes–I just don’t think they work well in Indian cuisine, they are too intense and the flavor is not right.
I cannot remember if I added any spices with the tomatoes. Isn’t that pathetic? So frustrating! Maybe cumin, maybe coriander, maybe a a little garam masala…. At any rate, when the tomato mixture was thick and intense, I added the cooked beans, with their cooking liquid. I cooked that for a bit to let the flavors meld, and then added the cilantro with amchur powder and lemon juice, maybe more garam masala? Unlike with, for example, Mexican or Thai cuisine, I am ok with cilantro cooking a bit in Indian cuisine. So I just let it simmer until I was ready to serve it.
Last I tempered the sour cream (I would have used whole fat yogurt if I would have had it) until it was hot and then added it into the soup. I served it over Basmati rice with cranberry chutney on top.
- For the beans:
- 1 lb dried beans of choice, this time I used Rancho Gordo Good Mother Stallards
- 1 lb dried chickpeas
- 1 chopped onion
- 6 chopped garlic cloves
- ½ t turmeric
- ½ t paprika
- drizzle avocado oil
- 1 t sea salt
- For the stew:
- 2-3 T avocado oil
- 2 t whole spice punch phoron (I only had 1 t, so only used 1 and added extra mustard seeds)
- 1 T dark mustard seeds
- 1 T cumin seeds
- 3 med-large onions, chopped
- 2-3 T ginger paste
- 2 T minced ginger
- ½ t turmeric
- ½ t paprika
- 2 lbs sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 T ground cumin
- 2 T ground coriander
- 1 T amchur powder, plus more to taste
- 1 small head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
- 4 chopped tomatoes
- beans with their cooking liquid (if you cannot fit quite all of them, add them to the leftovers)
- 2 t garam masala
- ⅓ cup brown sugar (remember this makes a ton!)
- ⅔ cup full fat yogurt (I used a blend of full fat sour cream with 2% yogurt)
- lemon or lime wedges (I was out)
- chopped cilantro
- Basmati rice
- First make sure you have enough time to cook your beans. I cooked mine by throwing them into the slow cooker (cooktop safe) insert with the aromatics, spices and oil, covering with 2-3 inches of water, and bringing to a boil. I left them boil for 5 minutes, and then left them cooking in the slow cooker overnight on low for 9 hours. They were done perfectly. You can also cook them the day of on the stovetop, but I recommend you soak your beans overnight in cold water in that case to ensure they finish in time for the stew. However you choose to do it, first cook your beans. When they are done, add the salt and let them sit until you need them (let them wait in the fridge if you make them the day before).
- When you are ready to make the stew, heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven on medium high heat. Add the panch phoron and mustard seeds and place a lid slightly ajar on the pot. When the mustard seeds slow their popping, add the cumin seeds. When you are roasted nice and brown, a matter of a minute or so (cumin burns easily so don't walk away!), add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally. Keep a cup of water by the stove--if the onions start to scorch or stick, splash a tablespoon or so in and stir. Cook until the onions are caramelized golden.
- Stir the garlic and ginger in. Continue cooking, stirring as needed, until the onions are much darker.
- Add the turmeric and paprika and stir. Let cook for 30-60 seconds.
- Push the onions to the sides of the pot, and add about ¼ of the mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, and the stir into the onions. Push that mixture to the sides and repeat with another quarter of the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Repeat this process until the mushrooms are completely mixed in. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid. Throughout this process, I added about a cup of water, total, in tiny amounts to keep everything moving and not scorching.
- Add the ground cumin, ground coriander and amchur powder. Mix in and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the cauliflower, getting it completely coating in the spices.
- Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Let the tomatoes reduce and thicken for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the beans with their reserved cooking liquid (pot liquor).
- Bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 20 minutes--this allows the flavors to meld and also ensures that the beans are safe despite sitting at room temperature for a few hours.
- Add the garam masala and brown sugar.
- Little by little add beans to your yogurt and mix them in. When the yogurt mixture is hot, turn off the heat on the stove and mix the yogurt mixture into the stew.
- Taste for more: brown sugar, salt, garam masala, or amchur powder (the amchur gives it an earthy sourness--especially useful if you are out of citrus as I was).
- Serve with lemon or lime wedges, chopped cilantro and basmati rice. Sweet and sour chutneys are also especially nice with this dish.
For the collage lovers….