Kyrgyzstan recipe for green walnuts in syrup from “Wildwood – A Journey Through Trees” by Roger Deakin
Essential reading for anyone with an interest in trees, wood, food and the environment as a whole.
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 chilli fresh or dried
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
Salt & Pepper
Smash a clove of garlic with the flat of a knife, sprinkle with salt and put to one side.
Heat the pan you will be using, dry. Toss in the whole spices, move them around until the colours darken and they smell good.
Take out the spices and add cooking oil and sliced onions to the hot pan. Leave the onions on as low
a heat as you can for as long as you want, the longer the better. After a few minutes add the chopped chilli and crushed, salted garlic.
Grind the toasted spices in a pestle and mortar, or in a bowl with a rolling pin or spoon. They’ll crush easily. Turn up the heat and add all the spice powders, stir for a couple of minutes then add the kidney beans. After another minute or two, briefly run a potato masher over the kidney beans. You’re aiming to crush quite a few of them without leaving a mashed up mass.
Add the tomatoes and the other thinly sliced clove of garlic, then tip in two tomato cans of water. Add salt and pepper Turn up the heat and stir. When it comes to the boil, reduce to simmer and partially cover the pan.
This will be ready in 30 to 40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes or so. Check for seasoning.
After 10 to 20 minutes add your herbs and greens. These can be whatever you fancy. I favour chopped comfrey or nettle leaves with rosemary and mint. The mint works particularly well.
You’ll find the slight crushing of the beans creates a thick, creamy sauce.
This will give 3 or 4 portions, served with rice, bread or potatoes.
You could add a dollop of yoghurt before serving, or add chopped potatoes with the tomatoes.
As always, the spices, herbs and their quantities are there to play around with until you’re happy.
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