Pickles


pickled-black-beans-with-rice

This is the traditional Peruvian dish, frijoles negros escabechados: spiced black beans marinated in red wine vinegar. The black beans to use here are black turtle beans. Chinese black soy beans, Japanese black aduki beans, or Indian black urad beans are not really suitable for this recipe.

Black turtle beans have only been available in the UK for the past few years and, sadly, they are under-utilised. This is a shame because they have a sweet, floury earthiness that makes them very versatile.

I don’t normally like the combination of sweet and sour flavours, but I really enjoy the sweet, tart and deeply savoury tastes in this recipe. So much so that I always try to sneak this dish into the menu whenever I’m cooking Latin American food.

Serve the beans at room temperature with plain, steamed white rice, as Peruvians do. Alternatively, they are excellent as a salad or side dish, served on a bed of shredded lettuce and accompanied by avocado slices. Serves 4 to 6.

6 oz/ 150g black turtle beans, soaked overnight, or for several hours
4 oz/ 100g raisins
¼ pint/ 150 ml red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 large onions, trimmed, peeled and finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Salt and pepper
4 oz/ 100g pitted black olives
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and quartered

To serve:
Cooked white long-grain rice

OR

Shredded lettuce
Avocado slices

1.    Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Cover them with fresh water, bring to the boil, and cook vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse again thoroughly to remove any toxins. (It is believed that some varieties of beans contain toxins, so this procedure is recommended when cooking black turtle beans). Cover with more fresh water, bring to the boil, and cook for an hour or so until the beans are tender. Now drain the cooked beans and set aside.
2.    Meanwhile, soak the raisins in the vinegar.
3.    Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and chilli flakes, and let them sizzle for a few seconds until they are a shade or two darker.
4.    Add the onions, and fry until lightly tinged with golden brown colour.
5.    Add the garlic and raisins (leave the vinegar aside) and sauté for a few minutes.
6.    Add the cooked beans and seasoning, and mix well.
7.    Pour in the vinegar in which the raisins have soaked. Add some water if necessary. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. The dish should be fairly moist – neither dry, nor too sauced. Adjust the seasoning.
8.    Garnish with black olives and hard-boiled eggs. Serve at room temperature.

pickled-eggs-in-big-bowl

These Nepalese eggs are not really pickled – well, not in a brine, in the way that they would be understood in the West. They are coated in a spicy yoghurt paste and served chilled as a relish or side dish. Nepalese cuisine draws from Indian and Chinese/ Oriental flavourings – so here you will find Chinese Sichuan pepper and Oriental lemongrass alongside Indian mustard oil and fenugreek seeds. It’s well worth hunting down the speciality ingredients from Asian grocers to give this simple dish its distinct and traditional Nepalese flavours. Serve the eggs with vegetable curry and plain or pilau rice. Serves 3.

2 oz/ 50g sesame seeds
1 level tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
4 tablespoons thick, creamy yoghurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons mustard oil
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
About 6- to 8-inch piece lemongrass, finely sliced
1 to 4 green chillies, sliced
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

1. In a small frying pan, dry roast the sesame and cumin seeds and Sichuan pepper until the spices are fragrant and a couple of shades darker, taking care not to burn.
2. Let the spices cool a little, then grind them in a mortar or spice grinder. Add yoghurt, lemon juice, salt, and water. Mix well, and set aside.
3. Heat the oil until hot, then lower the heat and one by one add fenugreek seeds, lemongrass, green chillies, turmeric, and chilli powder. The spices should sizzle, and turn no more than a shade darker. Pour the mixture into the yoghurt and spice paste, and mix well.
4. Halve the hard-boiled eggs, and coat each half gently with the spice paste.
5. Transfer the eggs into a serving dish, and garnish with coriander leaves.
6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.