One of my favourite things to do is to go to the local markets and discover ingredients that we don’t usually see. I learn a lot from the ladies minding the stalls about what the vegetables are, how to cook them and what ailments they are good for curing. While looking at a wonderful store on the side of the market that carried every local grain, bean and legume that we have locally, I found what looked like little white beans. It turned out that they were the seeds of the string bean, or sitaw. The owner of the store told me that this is eaten in the provinces and that many people like to eat these beans. I was so happy to find a local equivalent of the white or pinto bean and, and such a reasonable price! A kilo of sitaw beans cost a fraction of regular pintos. They are small and white with an eye in the center and are cooked the same way any other bean is cooked. I decided these would make a wonderful curry as the beans have a firm texture and nutty flavour. In the summertime, one can find alukon in the markets, a stringy vegetable with the texture of cauliflower and the taste of baby corn. If you can find this, blanche a little bit and top the curry with this to add a sweet and crunchy taste and texture.
- 1 cup soaked, uncooked sitaw seeds, save the water
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 bunch coriander stalks, chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 thumb size piece ginger chopped finely
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- salt to taste
- 1 bunch blanched alukon
In a pan, turn the heat on to medium.
Add the oil, when hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander.
When it starts to become fragrant, add the garam masala, paprika and cumin.
Add the sitaw seeds. Spoon in a little bit of the soaking water so that the beans are covered.
Tip in the tomato sauce.
Stew for about 20 minutes, or until the beans soften. Season with salt to taste. These seeds are a little nuttier than other beans so they won't get mushy or soft.
Top with the blanched alukon.
Serve with a side of rice.