Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cookbook Case Study - Beans Tijuana - Food Legends of the World

Here's a post that's been a long time coming!

The first recipe I tried from Food Legends of the World was... Beans Tijuana!

As I mentioned in my previous post (almost a month ago!), the book presents the legends of 25 ingredients and follows each with a recipe. My first recipe choice was based upon beans, and a Mayan legend is told.

A clever, virtuous man, finding himself in unfortunate circumstances, decides to make a deal with the Devil - trading seven wishes for his soul. His first six wishes are the predictable ones: his home, family, food; health; riches; friends; power; travel. His seventh wish, "one last whim", was to wash some black beans until they turned white. Once he had granted the final wish, keen to get his hands on the "full and luminous soul", the Devil saw that he had been tricked - no matter how much the man washed the black beans, they would not turn white. In order to prevent such trickery in the future, the devil demanded that there would also be beans of all different colours: white, yellow, green, brown, red... and so there are today.

Now for the cooking - Beans Tijuana

It's quite a simple recipe, calling for red beans, adzuki beans, and kidney beans, as well as onion, garlic, chilli, tomato, and other seasonings. I used adzuki and kidney beans - aren't red beans red kidney beans? Probably not, I don't know that much about beans, but that's okay.

Heat and other ingredients
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The recipe called for four tablespoons of fresh chopped chillies (maybe four or five chillies), and then asked for another tablespoon of chilli powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Both Neil and I thought that sounded like a lot, so debated putting in less chilli, but in the end decided to follow the recipe and see what would happen.

Making Beans Tijuana
Onion before adding chilli
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Making Beans Tijuana
Onion after adding chilli! Yum!
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No more photos... I guess I got distracted :)

Apart from a small spoon to check for cookedness, I didn't try it the night it was made (instead, I felt unwell and had plain rice with honey). Neil had some and said it was quite hot - and he does like things hotter than I do in general, so neither of us were sure I would be able to palate it!

It made a quite thin chilli - almost soup like. We've been serving it mixed with rice, which does well. I've frozen some and have found it good defrosted, too. I've also drained some and scooped it onto pizza (with leftover greens), which was actually pretty stunning. I wrote about that pizza already, here.

The beans were on the only just cooked side, though I think the freezer improved this. I had read previously that beans should not be cooked with anything acidic, else they would not soften. This recipe cooked the beans with lime and tomato, among other things, perhaps explaining the lack of cookedness?

As for the heat - It's much hotter than the last chilli I made, but luckily not too hot for me! It also has quite a nice tang to it. Due to its thinness, it would probably be best for an accompanying dish, like a spicy bean soup. Nice!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I love hearing the stories that go with food, somehow they make eating it much more enjoyable.
    Plus beans are so good for you!