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Blackbeans Jumble Recipe

Blackbeans Jumble, our Monday night one-pot dinner creation influenced by Creole Jambalaya. The origin of Jambalaya apparently derives from the Provencal which is spoken in the South of France, the word “jambalaia” refers to a mishmash or mix-up. Talking about fusion, diversity and cooking, you definitely will find it in Creole cooking, this cuisine is a living proof of all the descendants of early settlers.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is recognized as a unique style of cooking, which makes use of the “Holy Trinity” (in this case, chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions), but has a great variety of European, French, Caribbean, African, and American influences.

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

Pulses and legumes

I love one-pot dishes, mixing ingredients and blending of spices they are ideal to finish up whatever vegetable is leftover on my kitchen counter. Adding pulses and legumes to your diet is very healthy since beans are considered protein-rich super food. Beans are low-glycemic, high-fiber, high-protein and packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not to mention very convenient to cook and to add to your weekly meal plan. Beans help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and as a bonus helps to lower your weight.

Double value for health and grocery shopping budget to buy dried beans instead of cans or jars, a bag of beans is very economic, because it triples in quantity. One dried cup yields 2½­- 3½­ cups soaked beans, enough to feed a family of 4-6 persons. Just soak a cup overnight (1-2 days max, refreshing water in between) to let them well double in size, transfer to a pressure cooker and depending the bean and quantity you only have to cook 7-10 min tops and the beans are ready to be used in dishes or as ingredient of a recipe. For an overview of beans with image and description click here.

Black eyed beans

Black eyed beans

Digestion aid

Not everyone has the same experience but it is a well known side effect of eating beans resulting in flatulence, because beans contain raffinose which is a starch that is poorly digested due to a lack of the enzyme galactosidase. In aid to reduce increased intestinal gas production, there are several ways to avoid bean flatulence;

  1. Pre-soak overnight up to 24 hour, rinse in between (48 hours max otherwise it will ferment instead!) is a must and cook them well, the beans must be entirely soft without any hard bits.
  2. Add a knife tip – pinch of baking soda to the soak water of dried beans before cooking, this will significantly decreases the content of the raffinose family of sugars.
  3. From our time in India, were lentils are staple food we learned from Indian cooking to add asfoetida aka ‘hing’ as a digestive aid, this little tub is on our spice rack among Indian spices. In many Indian recipes it includes turmeric and ginger both are digestives spices as well.
  4. Other spices are cloves, cinnamon, and garlic are potent in reducing gas.
  5. According to a Huffington Post article, adding a piece of seaweed (Kombu or Wakame) will make the beans more digestible. Seaweed is another well known power food and it adds an extra depth as part of flavoring the beans as well aid for digestion 

Chili con Carne is a well known recipe with kidney or brown beans, Blackbeans Jumble is made with blackeyed beans and this recipe has creole influences but was mainly inspired by leftover greens, the use of spices like smoked paprika powder and cumin makes it interesting. You can add peppers if you like the heat or leave them out, by omitting the meat it will become a full vegan dish.

Blackbeans as comfort food

Blackbeans as comfort food

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Gluten-free

Many summers back we had an impromptu BBQ dinner with friends at our Taiwanese home. Our guests brought Pot Luck to our home, one of the dishes a fantastic Tabbouleh salad made with bulgur. My first attempts to remake Tabbouleh was disappointing since then I learned of my mistakes such as not squeezing hard enough to remove all liquid.

While parsley is the main herb ingredient, you can easily make adaptations with other herb options. Based on this salad but creating a different taste is by adding 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato tapenade instead of tomato puree for a pronounced flavour.

A healthy dish with memories, running out of bulgur gave room for another twist by preparing this salad with Quinoa seed. With every bite, the seeds will pop a little giving it an extra dimension.

 

With no fresh lemons available nor bottles of lemon juice, I substituted with Chinese rice vinegar and adjust seasonings for the olive oil based dressing. The same reason I tried Apple vinegar which would be my last resort since it has a higher acidity you need less. So start with just one tablespoon and increase with half if needed.

Last summer our youngest came back from her holiday in Morocco with student peers. She brought Aragan oil purchased from a local vendor in a small village. There’s a reason why it is called Moroccan liquid gold as one of the rarest oils in the world.

The nutty taste and fragrance is absolute heaven! I am not an exaggerating type but Aragan oil really does give an extra dimension to salad dishes. If not available you can replace with walnut oil, olive oil will work but has a different end taste.

Liquid gold, it is an unequalled and understandably rare commodity outside of Morocco. A food gem in my kitchen cabinet for as long as the treasured food gift last.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Power food

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad


Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa is a basically a powerhouse full of nutritional value and a good choice on the menu. A super grain high in protein and fibre, an ancient seed re-ignited as a super food. If Aragan oil is gold liquid than the mother grain of the Inca’s are gold nuggets. Apparently, NASA sent astronauts into space with Quinoa on the menu as the power food.

Today’s Tabbouleh version has no parsley, instead, it is prepared with fresh mint and coriander. You can serve the dish for lunch with bread, dinner or barbeque as a side dish.

For other salad inspiration, try our Red Beet Salad with Orange, Feta Cheese, Mint recipe or Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad recipe.