I find Cranberry beans showing at my local grocers around this time of the year, although I have no idea how fresh produce like this turns up during winter (or maybe I do, but my greed for anything so green over rides my concern about the carbon footprint it leaves being transported from where ever on earth it originally grew), its always a treat to use these gorgeous crunchy little beans in lieu of soaking dried beans and cooking them for hours to an end (or even worse, open up a can). Call it a prelude to spring!
For a change instead of mechanically reaching out for the spices in the pantry, I opted for the all fresh, green ingredient route (all except for the turmeric, used for a bit of color). Although I could have shopped around for the fresh roots, it was not exactly feasible, given I wanted to have this for lunch in an hours time.
It can be quite exciting to make something with all fresh ingredients even if you are constantly stopping yourself from reaching out for the spices & blends that are taken for granted. The end result is a healthy vibrant tasting dish that is well worth the effort. and the best part, it is ridiculously low in calories. just 2 cups of the fresh cranberry beans yields about 4 generous servings and even with a potato and a generous slpash of olive oil thrown in to fry the green masala paste, it still works out to a healthy 4 points per serving. (~ 250 calories per serving)
All green Cranberry bean curry
2 cups freshly shelled cranberry beans (10 WW plus points)
1 medium russet potato, diced into cubes. (3 WW points)
1 - 1.5 tablespoons olive oil (4.5 WW plus points)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
for the paste:
1 medium white onion
1 clove garlic smashed
2 tablespoons minced ginger root
1 cup Cilantro, stems and leaves
1/4 cup fresh green mango diced (~2 WW plus points, although they assign 0 points to fresh fruits and veggies)
1 - 2 green serrano chiles
Set the fresh beans to boil in plenty of water. They should have a firm al dente consistency when cooked without the characterist 'green' flavor of fresh beans. The vibrant color will fade and the cooked bean will have more of a dull white color.
Grind all the ingredients for the masala into a smooth paste. Set aside
In a pan, heat the olive oil and first add the diced potatoes, allow them to develop a golden color and make sure to toss the potatoes around so that all the sides brown well. (the potatoes need not get cooked fully).
Add the green masala to the potatoes, turn down the heat and cook the paste on a low heat until it loses the raw smell of the onions. Add a splash of water if the paste turns dry and starts coating the bottom of the pan. Add turmeric, salt and sugar.
Add the cooked beans along with some water. Cover and cook until the potatoes have turned completely soft, (even mushy). Since these are fresh beans they do not break down and release starch to thicken the sauce. The potatoes are added for that purpose. taste and adjust for seasoning The beans themselves will retain their shape and will show some resistance when bitten into.
Serve hot with Pita bread or roties.