With tomatoes at the heart of the sauce, the typical Mauritian curry is much lighter than coconut milk based sauces. In fact, coconut milk is a less common ingredient in Mauritian-style curries. Quintessentially, the Mauritian curry is a Creole-style sauce with just enough spices for a heart-warming aromatic dish. Despite being much lighter, it is not for the least shy on flavour.
The white bean curry is one of the most common filling that is served with the Mauritian roti that is sold on the streets. While this post is part of a series of three, featuring the traditional Mauritian roti and the fillings that go along with it, you can certainly enjoy this curry over rice too.
Quite often, I come across discussions on groups and forums about curries turning out bland. While you can add more curry powder and other spices to accentuate the flavour, most of the time it just comes down to roasting the spices as you might have noticed in previous curries featured here. The devil's in the detail, as Kevin would sometimes put it. Two to three minutes can seem like a very short time but relatively, when it comes to cooking, they can make all the difference. Two extra seconds of roasting the spices for a curry, can either brighten the whole dish to a whole new level or downright ruin it, that is if you let them burn! Small subtleties are all it takes to either make or break any perfect dish.
The recipe is simple and comes together rather quickly. I usually keep pre-boiled beans (from dried) portioned out in the freezer, ready to be used, but you can certainly use canned beans. Because of their size, white navy beans work well as a roti filler but Great Northern Beans, cannellini, lima or butter beans are good substitutes.
Watch the recipe video.
White Bean CurryIngredients (serve 3 - 4)
2 1/4 cups (430g) boiled white navy beans, 1 cup [200g] from dried, (you can also use canned beans)
1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed powder (optional)
6 - 8 curry leaves (dried or fresh) or substituted with 1 - 2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 small onion, diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 fresh large Roma tomatoes [240 g], diced
1 green chilli (optional), cut in half
1 red chilli (optional), cut in half
4-5 sprigs cilantro or coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Heat the coconut oil in a pan on medium-high temperature.
Next add the minced ginger. If you are using onions and garlic, add them at this stage. Cook for about 30 seconds then quickly add in the curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
Let the spices roast in the oil for about 5 seconds. Then add a little water to form a paste.
Allow the paste to roast for a couple of minutes.Then add a little more water when it starts to dry out. Let the spice mixture roast for another couple of minutes.
Next add in the tomatoes and continue to cook until they start to break down.
When tomatoes have softened, mash them with your cooking spoon to help them disintegrate further into a smoother sauce.
Add the chillies. Stir and leave this to cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the pre-cooked white beans beans. Add a little water and stir
Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for another 10 - 15 minutes (depending on how soft the beans are).
Add salt to taste.
You may adjust the sauce consistency with some more water at this stage but we want to keep the sauce fairly thick though otherwise it will be too runny to be used as a roti filler.
Garnish with coriander (cilantro).
Give everything a stir and turn off the heat.
Also in this series: