Better Rice and Beans

RedBeans Ready to serve

Rice and beans has been looked down upon by most – as something you will need to live on, if you are getting by on a limited budget. Of course, this is not so! In a lot of cultures this is something which is part of every meal.

Nutritious and delicious – there are so many ways to make this. Different beans and different ways to prepare them and then you also have many ways of making the rice. The choices are plenty.

So, what are we doing today? This recipe/approach is mostly for the uninitiated who are balking at eating this healthy dish – perhaps they think its too bland just to open a can of beans, heat it up and serve over rice. This is for that level of people, myself included.

Rice and Beans, Yeah, Baby!

Using mostly canned stuff and a couple of fresh ingredients, I tried to fix up something tasty and nutritious. And I hope we don’t need a primer on making rice. A simple electric rice cooker some rice and water is all you need.

As with most vegetable dishes (including beans etc) the recipe is fairly simple and generic. Of course, if you start with dried beans – you must soak them overnight and cook them well, till you can actually add them to your dish – there are several methods to do this – but that’s a different series of posts all together; and it gets more complicated when you talk about re-fried beans and such.

Being simple and wanting to keep things easy (KISS) we will start with canned beans – you can pick any type of canned beans. If you can look for no salt added and organic beans – Trader Joe’s and Sprouts sell organic store brand beans. You can use the recipe with northern beans, Garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans etc.

We won’t have a lot of specific recipe details – the pictures should be self explanatory. Adding salt and spices should be to your personal preferences – go easy on those first if you are not sure.

Now, before serving – let’s make some garnish, the traditional Indian way. There are lots of variations – This is just what I did using what I had on hand. Heat up oil (coconut or Ghee preferably) then add cumin and mustard seeds – you will see the mustard seeds pop (so stand back) and you will smell them roasting (lower flame) and add in a handful of mixed lentils (split yellow lentils, split moong dal, split urad dal or even split yellow peas) let these roast and you will see them get golden brown – lower the heat and add in the curry leaves. Be careful because the hot oil will super heat the moisture inside and that will sizzle, splatter and pop. Stay back. Mix well and turn off heat when the leaves change color – you will see they are getting crisp.

Transfer the finished beans – (yes, while you made the garnish the beans cooked well in the tomato paste) – into a serving dish. And add the garnish to the top. If the oil is still hot there will be sizzles and splatters.

Rice and Beans with garnish
Add as a garnish to the Beans after you transfer to a dish

Mix it so garnish is spread in the dish and Serve over/with Rice.

Rice and Beans
Rice and Beans, Reloaded!

Let me know how this came out for you.

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