A simple and extremely tasty recipe.
- A medium-sized pot, preferably non-stick. I prefer a ceramic-lined pot. I recommend a lid, but it's not strictly needed.
A stirring spoon
- A largish long-handled one.
- A small knife
- can opener
A stove with moderate heat
- This recipe could probably be made with an appropriate-type (iron?) pot over a fireplace, a cheap electric range, an electric frying pan or a rice cooker.
- Yes, I've made this kind of stuff in a $20 rice cooker, and it does work well.
- Some water (a sink would be nice) to wash the beans.
- The initial preparation and cleanup can be cut down to 10 minutes with practice.
- 1 hour cooking time.
Cooling time varies by taste, but I could easily eat it hot within minutes of cooking.
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
1 white onion
- You could probably use any other large-sized onion, as long as you were ok with any differences in taste that it may have.
- The onion is not optional. Omitting it strongly dims the overall taste.
1/2 cup dry lentils
- Any kind, but I strongly prefer red and not green.
- I'd avoid the smaller "Dal" variety.
- This is "lentils" and not "split peas".
2 cloves garlic.
- Even if you like garlic, do not use any extra. It's really not needed because it's so flavourful as it is.
- The garlic is probably optional, but I always have garlic around so I haven't bothered to make this recipe without any.
3 tbsp medium curry powder
- There are many kinds of curry, but you can get some cheap pre-made medium or mild yellow curry.
- I wouldn't want to use actual real curry paste with this recipe.
- 1 tbsp cumin, ground
1 medium-sized can of crushed or chopped tomatoes.
- 28oz is fine
- I've rehydrated cans of tomato paste, and they are quite bitter and would probably need a bit of sugar to balance that tartness. Use tomato paste at your own risk!
- A regular can of plain tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes and some water may also be as good. I haven't tried either.
1 small can of chick peas (garbanzo beans)
- 19oz is fine
1 small can of kidney beans
- 19oz is fine, but you could just use half a can and save the rest.
- I used red.
- I've used dried beans in place of canned beans, and I find them really lacking. Dried beans tend to make me gassy, and their texture is courser and the flavour is dryer and "off".
- 1/2 cup thompsons seedless raisins
Some water is technically optional. I usually add a few cups.
- If you use an electric stove, then set the heat on medium so it'll warm up while you work and you save some time.
- Put two tablespoons of olive oil in the pot, and put the pot on the counter (not the stove)
Chop the onion into little bits and put it in the pot.
- Don't worry about being exact, just chop the thing.
- Chop the cloves of garlic into tiny bits and put it in the pot.
Stir the contents of the pot so everything is coated with the oil.
- If the contents start to sizzle too much, then you have too much heat. Your goal is to cook the onion to make it clearer, not to brown it. A little browning is ok, burning is not ok. If you have the skill, caramelizing the onions would be interesting to do.
- Add the 1/2 cup of dry lentils and stir it around again.
Open the can of crushed tomatoes and add it into the pot.
- The contents should sputter a bit, but it should not splatter on your stove. If it does, your heat is up way too high.
Open the cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans) and kidney beans and do what you can to wash them, then add them into the pot and stir well.
- You have some time to wash them, so be thorough.
- Add the 3 tbsp curry powder
- Add the 1 tbsp ground cumin
- Add the 1 tbsp cayenne pepper and stir well.
- You can add some water right away, but I usually walk away for a half an hour before coming back to stir and add some water.
Cook for one hour with the lid on.
- The lid is only to prevent spattering, so it's optional.
- I would expect that any cooking oil would do. I only own olive oil.
- I don't know why there is cayenne pepper in this recipe. I can't taste any heat, and I doubt I'd miss it if I omitted it.
- Tomato paste and water or a regular can of plain tomato sauce may do as well as the crushed/chopped tomatoes. Heck, fresh tomatoes and some water may also be as good.
- The garlic is probably optional, but the onion certainly is not.
I accidentally made this recipe with 3 tbsp cumin and 1 tbsp curry powder and I still loved it!
The mess ∞
- Some onion and garlic skins.
- Three cans.
- A knife.
- The cutting board and colander, if used.
- The pot, and lid, if used.
The stove probably.
I let the pot cool on the stove with the lid on and eat a hot bowl with bread.
Once the pot has cooled completely, I put it in the fridge directly. The right sized pot will fit in one of those little bar fridges if that's all you've got. If I don't have the fridge space, then two tupperware bowls can store the leftovers after a medium-sized bowl is eaten.
It'll probably keep for a week, but I doubt you'll have any left after a few days!
Startup costs ∞
- Olive oil is very expensive, and you should be careful not to use any more than you need to. To save money, canola or some other oil could almost certainly be used with no impact on taste.
- The spices are common and so they're not too expensive. I've only ever used the cheapest spices, and I've had fantastic success. Not much is used, so you'll be able to return to this recipe again and again. Also, since the spices are common, you may already have them in your cupboard, and you may have other recipes which use them.
- Purchasing raisins in bulk is recommended. I go out of my way to buy raisins which don't have any vegetable oil, which means I buy smaller packages of them so I have a label I can read. Note that organic raisins may still have organic vegetable oil.
- The garlic keeps for a while, so you could buy a small amount and keep the rest around. It's cheap anyway.
An average kitchen will have all the reusable tools.
Expendable costs ∞
All the expendable ingredients are dead-cheap. Even organic beans are quite inexpensive. Even the can of chopped tomatoes is cheap.
The main problem for cost is that you only make two large bowls. It's best to not make a big meal out of this recipe though, so I'd recommend you half your portions and have a thick slice of bread or two with your meal. Eating a big bowl of this will taste fantastic, but it will give you gas. Not gas from the beans, but gas from the volume of food.. remember that beans are a nice solid food and they won't compact much in your digestive tract.
Final thoughts ∞
- Multiple strong flavours give an overwhelming and good first impression.
- The raisins add an unexpected sweetness.
- Very good, even cold.
- This is not an intimidating recipe, and I'd highly recommend it for any of the newer cooks out there. The instructions are long, but after trying it once even a young kid would be unafraid of making this on their own, with some help cutting the onions and garlic.
- I've made this recipe without measuring anything, and it worked out great.
I once did a poor man's variation which had no onion, garlic or raisins. Instead of tomato sauce I pureed some of the beans. It was quite interesting but definitely nowhere near as agood as the proper recipe. The $1.50 for the tomato sauce really makes a difference!