Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Carol Taylor – Beans – A staple food for 12,000 years

Here are some wonderful recipes from Carol Taylor to ensure that you add beans regularly and their health benefits into your diet. This post is complementary to the current Food Therapy 2020

Full of Beans by Carol Taylor

Beans are such a versatile legume…it is the name used for the seeds of several plants that includes beans, peas and lentils and they are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available and if you have perused Sally’s writing before you got to my recipes you will know just how beneficial to our health and wellbeing they are.

Sally has even included a little tip which may make the air surrounding you be a little less sulphuric…ha ha…Methinks we have all been on the receiving end of that one!

Here in Thailand beans are included in most Thai diets and come in many guises some I had never seen or heard of before living here and have now come to love and one which is very aptly called the Stink Bean grew on me as after eating these your urine will smell very much like the smell you get after consuming asparagus.

Firstly my time in the kitchen over the last few days has been fraught to say the very least and also hilarious….My first effort at making Baked Beans ended in a culinary disaster…and I forgot to take pictures but trust me the pot was encrusted with burnt beans and the smell invaded everything…My other half who was left in charge while I went to the hairdressers…Big Mistake… went on the defensive…

When he managed to get his nose out of his book (why) after all those years of not reading anything did I encourage him to read??? He had a simple task og keeping an eye on the pot of beans… As soon as I walked in I could smell the burning. The answer to my “ Could you not smell the burning?” Was.. and I quote “I thought that was a cooking smell “

Those who know me don’t very often see me stunned into silence…..I was just speechless …If the volcano had erupted it would still be spewing forth…lol

Take 2.

As these beans have very little cooking juice they need constant stirring and watching (and folks) let me tell you I have made the mistakes so you will not…. See how good I am to you!
I set the timer on my phone to go off every 5 minutes… My office is in my bedroom and up 2 flights of a marble staircase… I forgot how quick I could get down and up to reset the timer and at my age…I was impressed and so was little Lily who turned it into a game…I got 2 hours of up and down the stairs which was good exercise …I felt invigorated..truly… I knew if I burnt these beans I would never ever live it down.

The result:

They were ok…took ages to soften and so next time I hope they will be just perfect and not take so long to cook so I have slightly rewritten the recipe…. And next time I make these baked beans I will not only pre-soak them but will be pre-cooking them in water before adding the ingredients…You live and learn don’t you???

Baked Beans:

Firstly, cover the beans with water and soak the beans overnight. Secondly cover the beans with fresh water and cook for at least 2 hours until they are nearly soft it will depend on the age of the beans as apparently the ones you buy of of the supermarket shelves can be years old so it is best to buy online or from a health food store as they have a bigger turnover and the beans are likely to be somewhat younger.

Now we can add our tomatoes and seasonings and cook for a further 2 hours or until soft.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gm Navy Beans or haricot beans
  • 200 gm passata or good chopped tomatoes
  • 20 ml Apple cider vinegar
  • 10 ml Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme or other herbs
  • A dash of olive oil
  • Salt to season (Don’t) add salt until near the end of the cooking time.

This was my basic bean recipe and I have also included underneath a few ideas for variations.

Let’s Cook!

In an oven proof dish mix all the ingredients except for the salt together and pour over your pre soaked and pre- cooked beans. Cover with the lid and cook at 175C for about 2 hours or until soft. Don’t forget to stir occasionally and add water if required.

Enjoy!

Oh! And a little cooking tip…
Never throw away the liquid you pre- cook your beans in it makes an idea base for soups.

Now for a few ideas for some additions to your basic bean mix…

Apple-Cheddar Baked Beans: Core and cut up 1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith) and stir it into the bean mixture before baking. Sprinkle the beans with 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked cheddar cheese after baking.

Hawaiian Baked Beans: Stir one 8-ounce can pineapple titbits, undrained, into the bean mixture before baking. Bake the beans uncovered for the last 10 minutes.

Apricot Baked Beans: Substitute apricot preserves for the honey, and stir 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots into the bean mixture before baking.

Maple-Pecan Baked Beans: Substitute maple syrup for the honey. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans over the bean mixture before serving.

Another great idea for beans is a lovely mixed bean salad with my favourite feta cheese.

Mix black beans, kidney beans and great northern beans, dice some fresh tomatoes with green chilli peppers, feta cheese, red onion, Greek seasoning, and 2 cloves of garlic finely diced in a bowl. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a separate bowl; pour over the bean mixture. Toss to coat.

This is lovely served with some grilled fish, a nice chicken breast cooked in garlic butter or a piece of medium rare steak.

This can be whipped up in minutes with ingredients you probably have in your fridge or store cupboard.

Ideal when you really don’t want to cook.

Hummus:

My home-made Tahini is now made and in the fridge. Click the link below for the recipe.
Tahini Recipe

SAM_6922

Ingredients:

  • 3tbsp Tahini Paste
  • I can of chick peas or you can use soaked dried, cooked chickpeas.
  • 2tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2tbsp Olive Oil,
  • 1 clove Garlic,
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • ½ -1 tsp salt

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine your tahini paste with the lemon juice and blitz. Add olive oil, cumin, salt and garlic and blitz. Add half the drained can of chick peas and blitz 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add other half of Chick peas and blitz again for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Put in suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with 1 tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika.
  4. Voila it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.
  5. This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

Wing Beans:

This lovely fluted edged little bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), Is also known as the Goa bean, asparagus pea, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, Manila bean, Mauritius bean, and winged pea.

Winged bean is nutrient rich, and all parts of the plant are edible. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, flowers can be used in salads, tubers can be eaten raw or cooked, and seeds can be used in similar ways as the soybean.

All you need is Wing beans, garlic, a small chilli chopped( optional) and some seasoning sauce I use Oyster sauce….Which I believe is available worldwide now in Asian stores.

Chop your wing beans in ½ inch pieces on the diagonal; chop your garlic and chilli if used.

Add a little coconut oil to a pan quickly stir fry the garlic and chilli add the beans and stir fry 1-2 minutes add 1-2 tbsp oyster sauce and stir fry for another minute and viola a lovely little dish which I eat for a quick lunch with some steamed rice or it can be served as an accompaniment to a main meal.

Enjoy!

Stink Beans:

This recipe is for one of the most popular beans in Thailand called the Stink Bean it is often eaten raw with a spicy dip and also stir fried with prawns , chicken or Pork.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams shrimp (you can also make this recipe with chicken or pork)
  • 2 – 3 heaping tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup of shelled stink beans (I used 6 pods, and you can use more or less)
  • ½ tsp shrimp paste
  • ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • ½ tbsp sugar (This is the Thai way, but I use less or none)
  • 6 – 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying

Let’s Cook!

  1. Prepare the shrimp by taking off the head and peeling the shell, and then devein them. If you want to prepare your shrimp Thai style, peel the body, but leave the tail on.
  2. Stink beans grow in a long twisted hard pods, so the first thing to do is peel the stink beans out of the outer shell. The skin is quite tough so it’s easiest to take a sharp knife and slice the bean, almost in half first. Then peel back the skin and remove the stink bean inside. You’ll also see an inner, beige colored skin that coats the stink beans, and you want to remove that too.
  3. Go through all the pods and remove all the stink beans – this will probably take a few minutes.
  4. Put your wok or frying pan on a medium heat and add about 2 tbsp of oil. I normally like to use less oil when I stir fry Thai food, but with this stink bean curry recipe, you really need to add some oil so the curry paste gets nice and fragrant when frying and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. When your oil is sizzling hot, add in the curry paste, first start with 2 tbsp. – you can always come back and add more later if it’s not flavourful enough. Then add about ½ tsp of shrimp paste.
  6. Stir fry the curry paste, working it into the oil, and scraping it off the bottom of the pan. Immediately you should start to smell those beautiful chillies, the lemongrass and the turmeric. Keep stir frying for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, making sure the paste doesn’t burn, but is nice and fragrant.
  7. Add the shrimp, and stir fry continuously for about 30 seconds. The shrimp should pretty quickly start to turn from transparent to pink orange in colour. If the curry paste starts to get dry, you can toss in a splash of water, and that should give you some liquid to work with as well as a little extra sauce.
  8. Then toss in the stink beans, and stir fry for about another 30 seconds or so. You want to keep stirring hard so the curry paste doesn’t stick to the pan.
  9. Season with ½ tbsp of oyster sauce and ½ tbsp of sugar (the normal Thai way is to use sugar, so I showed it this way in the recipe, BUT, when I cook it myself I normally omit the sugar or use just a tiny bit – so up to you how much sugar you want to add).
  10. Again, if your stink beans ( goong pad sataw) get dry, add another splash of water, and then stir fry for just another minute.
  11. The final step is to take 6 – 8 kaffir lime leaves, and tear them off the stems directly into the curry. When you tear the kaffir lime leaves, it will release their flavour. Stir fry for just 10 seconds, and then turn off the heat.
  12.  Immediately put it onto a serving plate, and you’re ready to start eating.

Serve with some steamed rice…

Enjoy!

Lastly we have a ..Chilli Con Carne of which there are many variations. Most of which I think are a generic chilli as a proper Mexican chilli is normally chunks of beef and no tomatoes and actually bears little resemblance to the Chilli Con Carne we know and love…

Ingredients

  • 500 gm lean minced Beef ( I use pork) as I can’t get minced beef here.
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped2 inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 beef stock cube or 1 pt of fresh made beef or vegetable stock
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans, drained

Let’s Cook!

  1. Put the olive oil in a large pan and heat add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.I like to add my cumin seeds with the onions as it brings out their full flavour and we love cumin.
  2. Add the minced meat and cook , stirring until nicely browned.Add the tomatoes, stock, peppers and tomato puree stirring in well and bring to a soft simmer.
  3. Add the paprika, marjoram and sugar. Cook for 20 minutes now this is where I taste and add more chilli and usually more cumin seeds and then add the drained kidney beans and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with steamed rice and sour cream dusted with a little smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed these bean recipes and I would like to thank Sally once again for allowing me to add my recipes to her wonderful posts on the health benefits of the food we eat.

As always I am so grateful to Carol for the time and effort that she puts into preparing these recipes, including misunderstandings with her assistant!  She is a treasure.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

36 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Carol Taylor – Beans – A staple food for 12,000 years

  1. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    Beans, Beans are good for your heart, the more you eat the more you ****
    I love beans and am trying to cut down and have a couple of meat-free days a week…The health benefits which Sally will outline for you are just amazing…The way to go if you want to get healthier and Sally also has a tip to cut the windy side of bean eating…Enjoy!

    Like

  2. I am eager to try several of these recipes! The last time I made baked beans they were a little on the hard side, so I’m going to take your advice and try cooking them a bit differently. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Carol, I cook different beans in batches, then portion them out and freeze them; this way I always have a supply for whatever hits my funky mind at the moment. I have taken to sprouting them first, though, as per advice of my husband’s physician. However, I’ve never heard of winged beans; I’ll start looking for them ’cause I wanna fly!
    P.S. Our friends grow kaffir lime in their urban garden. The have brought them to me, and I can’t figure out what to do with them, other than use them for decoration – very pretty! Any recommendation?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love beans. And wing beans are a new type of bean I’d never heard of, but scoffed the recipe with the oyster sauce to use on other beans 🙂 Had to laugh at your watching the pot story Carol. A woman’s work is never done! LOL ❤ xx

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Keffir Limes, Microplastics, Glitter, Beans… | Retired? No one told me!

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  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – 12,000 years of history that we know about and avoiding the wind factor by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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