A touch of Africa: kidney bean curry


Filling, nutritious cupboard gourmet food.

My friend Anna made us this kidney bean sauce with rice when we were visiting her in Lisbon, maybe four years ago. It's fast, cheap and delicious. Anna got the recipe from an African woman who worked in the same market hall as she did in Turku. We eat this pretty often, and it makes me think of Anna and of Africa – even if I have no idea if this is really is typical food anywhere in Africa.

This dish has become our "emergency food", because the main ingredients are dry or tinned and we can keep them around so that when we think there's no food in the house, we'll realise we can still make this yummy curry!

Anna's African kidney beans

1 onion
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp oil for frying
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin coconut milk
500 passata (sieved, pureed tomatoes)
1-2 tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
Chili, white pepper and pepper to taste

Serve with bulgur: 100 ml dry bulgur / person. (Bulgur is whole wheat and can be sourced more regionally than rice.)

Dice an onion and crush the garlic clove so the flavours will be released. Warm up a pot (big enough to hold all the ingredients) to medium heat. Add the oil, throw in the onion and garlic and fry them gently until they turn slightly transparent and soft. Rinse the kidney beans, then add the beans and passata in the pot and let it all simmer for about five minutes. 

Boil the bulgur according to instructions on the package or count one part water to one part bulgur and boil the grains until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. 

Add the coconut milk to the sauce last, heat it up but don't let it boil anymore. Season the dish to your preference, but a little heat is definitively nice here.

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