I have had rave reviews of my Butternut and Kidney Bean Curry, and I must confess it's one of my favourite creations. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike. Bon appetit.
If you are a curry puritan, then thank you for visiting, please move on. I'm about to break some serious curry rules here. If you need your recipes to have exact weights and measures, then off you go too. I never use recipes for more than inspiration, and have not used a scale or jug for anything other than storage for years.
A few years ago, curry replaced Fish and Chips as the English take-away of choice. Whether this is because the English palate is maturing, or rather that it's only the Indian restaurants that will let them in in their inebriated state, is debatable. I know my granny still prefers her local Chippy.
To Joe Englishman, often if it has chilli in it, it's a curry. This is like saying that a Full English is the same thing as Haggis. Curries vary across India, equally a Thai Curry is as far removed from the Pakistani version as the countries are geographically.
The curries vary in their ingredients, spices, constituency and accompaniments. Thai curries can be quite soupy, designed for eating with rice, while Indians are stodgier, often eaten with naan bread or roti. A trademark Thai ingredient is Coconut, which you will never find in a true Pakistani curry. In Sri Lankan curries, yoghurt often does a similar job in dousing the flames created by a heavy chilli adding hand.
In this curry, we're going to be using Indian spices, because these are the ones I was brought up on. Please, do not buy your spices from your local supermarket! Rather visit the dodgiest Indian/Pakistani corner shop, or if you live in London, go to Brick Lane. If there is nary an authentic currymunching merchant in your lofty neighbourhood, then implore your local curryhouse to sell you some of their spices. If you cannot find one of those, then /msg me and I'll post you some.
Breaking the Rules
I tend to listen to my body's cravings and plan meals around my mood half an hour before I want to eat. I like simple dishes, with few ingredients. That way it's more likely that I'll have what I need when I want it. I also like flexible with ingredients, because usually I don't have what I used last time.
In fact, the first couple of times I made this, I used Pumpkin, not Butternut (Squash). And last time I made it I added Sweet Potatoes. It was all good. The idea is that the main ingredient is sweet and cooks down into a nice mushy texture. The colouring helps too, because most Indian curries come out orange, thanks to the Tumeric.
Now the trick with this dish comes in the major rule-break: we're adding Coconut Cream. Okay, okay, stop wheezing! (Er, unless you're allergic, in which case, dial 911 or something.) You see, the sweetness of the Coconut Cream goes down a treat with the delicate sweetness of the Butternut (or Pumpkin or Sweet Potato or whatever). Oh, and I just *love* Coconut Cream.
Great, now what?
Dice the Butternut. The hungrier you are, the smaller the cubes. I usually always fry my spices before adding anything, but this is the one exception. Toss the butternut into a pot with a lid and sprinkle your spices over.
Pour the top half of the Kidney Bean juice over, but stop before it gets to thick and murky. Poor that bit down the drain and rince your kidney beans several times. Even though the top ones look clean, trust me, the ones at the bottom are still covered in goo.
Drop the Kidney Beans into the pot and add water so that half the butternut is covered and half isn't. Put the lid on and cook on a low heat. You don't want your butternut burning, you want it to steam. Also, you want it to cook slowly so that the beans absorb the curry. Curries are actually better on the second day. Check once the water starts to boil, because I probably didn't tell you to put enough in.
As the butternut begins to get soft, mash it with a fork and leave it cooking. This is an iterative process. It's up to you if you want to leave lumps of butternut in there, or if you want it all mashed down like baby food. Try not to mash the beans though.
When you think you'll faint from hunger pains, or you're scared that you'll "just taste" the last morsel, stir in the Coconut Cream and serve with rice or roti or naan bread or make a bunnychow like Bella did when I made her some.
- Pick a Butternut with a disproportionately thick end in comparison to the seed holding part. They're easier to peel and you get more for your money.
- Liquid or add-water variety if you can't find it - just add a fraction of the amount of water they suggest. I guess the block of Coconut Cream will do, but it just isn't as nice. Coconut Milk is not a good substitute, just too runny.
- My Canadian housemates used to call these Yams, but what we call Yams definitely aren't suitable.