Skip to main content

Black Bean Soup



I first saw this black bean soup on David Lebovitz's blog about a month back. I made it almost immediately and loved it. Then I made it again and then I made it a third time. I have been tinkering with the recipe and while I think the soup is now perfect and one of the best I've ever made, it no longer bears any resemblance to what David made. Which is why it seems right to share this recipe here before I forget it.

The key difference is that I use canned ancho chillies and other pantry goodies whereas David uses a lot of fresh vegetables. They are both great so pick the recipe depending on what you have in the pantry or fridge. Here's my version.

Ingredients
1/2 cup dried black beans
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 ancho chilli (I have a jar of ancho in oil)
2 tbsp pitted green olives
1 tbsp capers
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
To garnish
sour cream
dried mint
crushed nachos

Wash and soak the black beans overnight. Next day, put the beans in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover and cook until soft. Drain the beans (you should have about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of cooked beans), reserving one cup of cooking water.

Peel and quarter the onion. Peel the garlic cloves and pop into a grinder with onion, ancho chilli, olives, capers and cumin seeds. Add a couple of tbsp of water and grind to a smooth paste. Put the beans and the reserved cooking water in a large pan. Add the onion/ancho paste, oregano and chipotle powder. Mix and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the vinegar and the olive oil. Let cook for a really long time. At some point, the soup will go from having bland beans to a harmonious blend of flavours. I let it simmer for between 45 minutes to an hour.

Pour into two bowls and top with garnishes of your choice. A dollop of sour cream adds a beautiful contrast and I like the crunch of crushed nacho chips. You could also add fresh herbs or even guacamole. But while all of this is optional, I've found that dried mint is an essential addition to the flavour.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old.

That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit.

Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fruit. It…

Of Brun and Bun Maska

There is more to Bombay's breads than the pao that goes into pao bhaji and vada pao. There's Brun. and there's bun. We will get there. First, you have to get to know the city's Parsis. And Iranis, who are also Zoroastrians, but came to city a little later, in the late 19th or early 20th century. And when they came, they brought with them these little cafes that dot the city.

I am no expert on Irani chai cafes. And I can't tell you whether Yazdani Bakery will provide you the best experience or Kyani's. But I can tell you a few things you need to ignore when you get there. Appearances don't matter; so ignore the fact that the marble/glass top tables and the wooden chairs look a bit dilapidated. Also ignore the rundown look the place sports.

Instead, get yourself settled. And order a bun muska. This one's familiar to you as a first cousin of the soft hamburger bun. It's similar, but just a tad bit sweeter. Maska, of course, is the generous dollop of b…

A Bowlful of Comfort

I have a friend who is quite the globetrotter. Lunches at her place, often right after her trips, are a treasure trove of global flavours. But the last time we met, she was just back from Tamil Nadu and out she brought a bowl of curd rice. I love curd rice and have eaten a lot of it over the years but my friend's version was so full of flavours and textures, it was a revelation. Obviously, I asked for the recipe.

The genius of this curd rice lies in adding the tempering or the tadka twice, once to mix in the rice so it absorbs all the flavours. Then you make a second batch to top the rice with just before you serve, so it adds crunch to the usually mushy dish. The recipe also has a few other elements added in for texture, freshness and flavour.

I over-ate at lunch at my friend's and I over-ate again when I made this for myself for lunch. Plus, all the ingredients you need are likely in your kitchen already so you may as well go make it now.

Ingredients
1/2 cup rice
1 cup plain…