This recipe is easy, really healthy, and my family liked it so much that they were actually geeked about leftovers. I served it along with curried cabbage, less popular with the kids, but my husband and I each had two helpings. The kids ate it with a salad, and when I put the beans over chewy, short-grain brown rice, I felt gratified to watch them enjoy such nutritious fare.
For the beans, the ideal preparation is to soak them for at least 24 hours in water with a half a lemon. This destroys anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that cause the common digestive issues that lead people to vehemently expunge beans from their lives. Try pre-soaking and see if that makes your gut happy. Beans are so nutritious that ideally they should be competing as one of the main proteins in your cooking repertoire.
To start, drain and rinse the beans and simmer them in clean water for around 45 minutes, until they are soft but not mushy and falling apart. Cooking time varies, so I start checking on them after about 30 minutes. Also at this time, put 1 1/2 c. of short-grain brown rice into 3 c of water with 1 t salt and simmer until all the water is absorbed.
Once the beans are near done, heat a big covered sauté pan and melt 1 T of coconut or olive oil. Add 1 large diced onion and let it brown for 5 minutes. Add 3 garlic cloves and about 1″ of fresh ginger all minced on a microplane. Cook another minute or so, then add the following seasonings: 1 t salt, 1/2 t black pepper, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1 t garam masala, and a dash of cayenne (to taste, or omit). I am very loose with measurements; always taste as you go and add what works for your palate.
Now add to the onions: the drained kidney beans, one can of undrained small-dice tomatoes, and the zest and juice of one lemon. Stir well, and adjust salt if needed. Simmer on low another 10-15 minutes, and then turn off the heat and let the dish rest for a while. Allowing dishes to “rest” at room temperature for even several hours deepens the flavors immensely. There is nothing to spoil here, so if you make this dish in the morning, let it sit on the stovetop cooling all day, and then reheat at dinnertime. I do this with many of my recipes; the ones that contain more perishable foods, I allow to rest for shorter amounts of time, but even an hour or two makes a big flavor difference.
Before serving, chop up some crunchy scallions and fresh herbs–cilantro and mint or basil are good. Some people despise cilantro and find it tastes “soapy”; if that describes you, try parsley instead. Spoon a mound of rice on a plate, then top with a hearty portion of the kidney beans. Sprinkle with the scallion and herbs. I like to serve a lime wedge on the side, for a little fresh citrus blast at the end.
If you like the sound of curried cabbage as a side dish with this… Rough chop 1/2 a head of cabbage. Heat 1 T butter (or any good oil, but I like the butter flavor best) in a large skillet. Add the cabbage with 1/2-1 t of salt and sauté for at least 7-8 minutes on med-high heat without stirring much. This allows it to get brown and a little caramelized on the bottom. Sprinkle with about 1 t curry (again, more if you like it), and toss around and continue sautéing until soft but not mushy. Turn off the heat and let this sit for a while, too, if possible. Heat back up when ready to serve. This is an awesome side veggie that is quick and that your guests will almost invariably love.