Beetroot and Green Bean curry
I have a skill that comes easily to me, I can’t often say this so I am quite proud of this skill and it was learned directly from my grandmother. It’s the skill of being able to create a delicious meal out of meager ingredients. Looking into a next to empty fridge I can quickly think of a creative delight to whip up for dinner.
I remember living with Mama, my grandmother, when I was sixteen and she often created scrumptious meals out of very few ingredients. I asked her how she had become so creative when cooking with very little and she told me she loved tasty food and had learned to make do through times of war rationing and when money was scarce as a child and teenager.
For someone who has lived a somewhat privileged life in comparison I have never really known what it is like to be living on a rationed diet so it hasn’t been an issue. Although living in London in my late twenties and deciding to spend all the money I had on an air ticket to India leaving me with an empty wallet and an almost bare cupboard did give me one miniscule experience of living with very little food. A sad and sorry bag of white rice and a can of preservative free baked beans sat next to each other on a shelf in that next to bare cupboard and that’s what I ate for two days. On the third day I caught a stomach virus and lost my appetite and couldn’t eat for a week and a half which was rather fortunate now looking back on it as that is when I next got paid and was able to purchase food.
So even during that experience I didn’t need to test out whether I was able to make creative meals out of next to nothing. Mostly this skill has developed from getting home too late from work to pick up food to cook with. I was also given plenty of creative opportunities during the three and a half years I lived in Main Arm, a rainforest village ten kilometers from Mullumbimby in Northern NSW. Once I got home from work that was it I didn’t go back out so if I didn’t have an ingredient I learned to improvise and make do and as a result created some wonderfully new meals. In addition during our time in Main Arm we got flooded in more than a few times and then the real creativity began.
Again the test came when a few weeks ago I was using everything up that I had bought from the Byron Bay farmers market before going away for a week. I did not want to leave anything in the fridge and come Sunday morning the day before I was due to leave I realised I still had a big bag of green beans and six beautiful beetroots. I decided to offer my weekly home cooked meal clients a curry for dinner that night and this recipe is the result of that offering. It is a wonderful curry full of flavour which also looks very appealing to the eye. The addition of cannellini beans and coconut milk eaten alongside organic brown rice, millet or quinoa is a pure decadent delight and provides plenty of vegetarian protein. The beetroot high in iron is a great bonus.
6 beetroots grated
300 g green beans cut into small pieces on an angle
2 Spanish onions finely diced
10 curry leaves
½ tsp ground fenugreek
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup filtered water
400 ml of coconut milk
400g of cooked cannelini beans
splash of oil
fresh coriander to garnish
In a saucepan sautee the onions in the oil for a few minutes then add the curry leaves, fenugreek, coriander, salt and turmeric stirring for a few more minutes. Next add the green beans, grated beetroot and water. Leave to simmer until the beans are cooked to your liking. Add the cannellini beans and coconut milk and simmer until heated through. Serve with cooked millet or brown rice and garnish with the coriander leaves. There you go it's that easy.