As much as I like to cook, I don’t think I could manage the demands of running a restaurant or a café. I love to cook to small groups of people, but more than ten and I start to stress out. I’m also kind of slow in the kitchen, and adding up to that, I hate to delegate tasks. Even though the idea of having a place of mine – with my food, my kind of atmosphere, and so on – sounds appealing, I’m sure it will never see the daylight because of the reasons mentioned above. However, though, that doesn’t stop me from thinking about the dishes I’d like to serve in my little imaginary café, and this one would certainly be a regular on the menu.
It’s simply beans flavored with a spicy curry paste and served with warm charred naan, to whip up the sauces – the kind of food I could eat everyday. The naan is made with both wheat and spelt flours, and you can flavor it in way you like – by adding cumin seeds, garlic, chili powder, and so on. I wanted to make a 100% spelt naan but couldn’t find white spelt flour, so had to compromise and make a wheat and whole spelt version instead. However, though, next time I find it I’ll make the bread again and update this post with how it turned out. A few words on the measurements: I always like to have all the ingredients for each recipe weighted into grams (it’s way more accurate than cups), but my scale has been having some sort of identity crisis and only gives me the weights in pounds. I was a bit lazy and didn’t want to go into the trouble of weighting things down and then make the conversions, but if the scale doesn’t change its mind soon, I’ll buy another one and reintroduce the proper metric measurements.
Curried Beans with Naan Bread
For the naan bread:
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 1/2 cup whole spelt flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- optional: cumin seeds, thyme, chili flakes, coriander…
For the curried beans:
- 4 cups red beans (canned is fine)
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped canned tomatoes
- 1 large fresh green chili, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 large lemon (cut into 4 wedges) and chopped avocado forserving
To make the naan bread:
- Add, to a medium bowl, the water, yeast, salt, brown rice syrup and olive oil, and whisk everything together. In another bowl, combine the flours. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl with the flour and knead until you have a firm, yet soft to the touch, dough. If the dough is too wet, add more flour until you reach the right consistency. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.
- Heat a large grilling pan over medium-high heat. Dust a working surface with flour and add the proofed dough. Knead for a couple of minutes and divide it into 4 equal parts. Roll each ball of dough into a not too thin elongated shape and add the topping you want (if using) pressing it down gently into the dough. Brush the naan with water and add it to the grilling pan, water side down, and cover with a lid. Cook for 30-50 seconds, or until you start seeing some bubbles on it. Cook the other side for approximately the same time, or until lightly charred. Repeat this process with the remaining balls of dough.
To make the curried beans:
- Add all the ingredients for the curry, except the beans, to a food processor and pulse until it turns into a paste. Add the curry to a pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot, for 2-3 minutes. Add the beans, 3/4cup of water (if you cooked your own beans use the cooking water), and cook for additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Add a good squeeze of lemon juice to each serving, along with some chopped avocado and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the naans.