Beans are an essential part of a healthy vegan diet, and this Butter Bean Tikka Curry recipe from East Meets Vegan by Sasha Gill is a delicious way to eat more beans.
There’s an Indian grocery store that’s close enough to my house that I can walk there. It’s in an awkward little shopping plaza, nestled between a donut shop and a tiny local bar. The donut shop has been there forever, and in the mornings you can smell the freshly baked donuts for blocks. I’m not a fan of most smells, but I’m a big fan of morning air mixed with the heavy scent of freshly fried dough.
As the day wears on, the donut smell isn’t as prominent. Even so, the parking lot of the awkward little plaza always faintly smells like glazed donuts. That all changes once you open the doors to the Indian market.
The air is thick with the smell of incense and freshly cooked samosas; shelves are overflowing, and there are entire aisles of spices. It’s heaven. So, when The Experiment Publishing asked me if I’d like to review Sasha Gill’s new cookbook, East Meets Vegan, I quickly agreed.
No one needs to ask me twice; I love going to my local Indian market.
Cooking from East Meets Vegan
Let’s talk about the East Meets Vegan cookbook. There’s a lot to like.
First, it’s a beautiful book. The photos are vibrant and enticing, and I’m particularly fond of the use of color pages throughout the book. This cookbook is one of those cookbooks that you can sit down and pass some delightful time reading. In the introduction, you’ll get to know the author and learn about her journey towards veganism. Covering the best of Asian cooking, you’ll learn about each new cuisine in a brief introduction at the beginning of each section.
Next, as for more practical matters, the book is broke out into the following sections:
- Recipe Notes
- Pantry Essentials
- Basic recipes and techniques
- Singapore & Malaysia
- Mix-and-Match Leftovers
As an aside; whoever designed the layout of this book deserves a pat on the back. The recipe pages are in a clean, easy-to-read format. The color contrast between the font and the pages is perfect. And even though the font throughout the book is a bit small for those of us with poor vision, it’s clean and pleasant to view.
One of the nice things about this cookbook is its wide variety of recipes. From chutneys to pancakes to noodles to sushi, there’s a little something for every taste bud. Although the methods aren’t complicated, I wouldn’t call this is a beginner cookbook. All of the recipes in East Meets Vegan are Asian-inspired, so unless you have cooked with each cuisine before some of the cooking techniques might be unfamiliar to you. Luckily, the author does a great job of walking you through advanced techniques like how to roll sushi or a spring roll; there’s a diagram on each recipe that needs it.
In regards to prep and cooking times, you’ll spend an average of 25 – 40 minutes preparing these dishes, sometimes longer depending on the recipe.
Finally, let’s talk about the ingredients. Obviously, the recipes in this book require Asian products or spices that you may or may not already have in your pantry. While you might be able to find most of the ingredients at a large grocery store, I encourage you to check out your local Indian or Asian markets. Not only will they have what you’re looking for, a lot of the times you can find them at much lower prices than other places. Plus, you’ll be supporting a small local business which is good for the community.
Cooking Note: Butter Beans aka Lima Beans
If you don’t cook with beans often, you should. They are the richest plant sources of protein available and especially abundant in the amino acid lysine, which is essential for bone health. Ginny Messina, a dietitian specializing in vegan nutrition and the author of many vegan health-related books, recommends three servings per day of beans or four servings for people over 50.
According to Messina, one serving is equivalent to one of the following portions:
- 1/2 cup cooked beans
- 1/4 cup of peanuts
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/2 cup tofu
- 1/2 cup tempeh
- 1/4 cup soynuts
- 1-ounce vegan meat
- 1 cup soymilk
I have good news; this recipe is a great way to eat more beans. It calls for butter beans, which is just another name for a lima bean. Lima beans were cultivated in Peru for more than 7,000 years. The explorers of South American took the beans back to Spain and Portugal where they made their way to Africa, the Caribbean, and finally to North America. The names of these velvety beans have many names depending on the region: Lima, Madagascar, Gigantes, or Butterbeans.
Butter Bean Tikka Curry Recipe
After spending some time with the book, I decided the first recipe I would try is the Butter Bean Tikka Curry. It took me 45 minutes to make the dish from start to finish, and that includes prep and clean-up time. The recipe was easy to follow, though there was some confusion about one of the ingredients — rice syrup specifically — that I’m still not 100% on. The recipe calls for rice syrup but does that mean brown rice syrup or clear rice syrup? It’s not clear, so I used brown rice syrup, and it worked out fine.
Let me tell you; this dish was a spicy hit. The yogurt-marinated beans were velvety and had the right amount of spice, but it wasn’t overwhelming at all. The Tikka curry was warm, vibrant, and heavily spiced just the way it’s supposed to be. The whole dish is made even better with a dollop of tangy vegan yogurt and a handful of cilantro. I chose to serve my curry with rice, but naan would be great too. Maybe next time because I’m definitely going to make this again.
For the beans
- 1/4 cup (70 g) vegan yogurt
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1-inch ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Two 15-ounce cans of butter beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 inches fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 cup (250 ml) tomato passata
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
- 1/4 cup vegan yogurt
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and grease a baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the bean ingredients except the beans: yogurt, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add the butter beans to the mixture and stir to coat well, then transfer onto the greased baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the beans start to look dry and a bit crisper.
- Meanwhile, for the tikka curry, heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Fry the onion, garlic, and ginger for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and the onions have softened.
- Add the bay leaf and spices and fry for another minute until aromatic.
- Next, add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and cilantro stems, then cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Once the beans are done and out of the oven, add them to the saucepan along with the yogurt, rice syrup, and lemon juice.
- Bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove from heat.
- Serve while warm, with naan bread or rice.
Hearty butter beans work well in this recipe because of their starchiness, but if you prefer a different bean, feel free to substitute.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 428 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 4mg Sodium: 355mg Carbohydrates: 80g Fiber: 19g Sugar: 27g Protein: 23g
Win a Copy of East Meets Vegan
I couldn’t talk about this new vegan cookbook without also allowing you to get a copy for yourself, so here’s your chance to win. All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below. Yup, that’s it. Easy.
Before you enter here’s the fine print:
This giveaway has ended
starts on April 24, 2019 ends on May 5, 2019, and is made possible through The Experiment Publishing Company.
- This giveaway is open to United States & Canada residents only.
- There’s only one (1) entry per person.
- The winning cookbook will arrive directly from the publisher, which means that any mailing address provided as the result of this giveaway will be shared with them for shipping purposes.
That covers it. So, don’t wait. Enter now!