Contributing Columnist Helly Parsons Dishes on ‘Tanzanian Beans’

Helly Parsons hails from New Zealand, that sweet Pacific landmass where the climes are perennially warm and the culture laid-back and loving. She and I first met at the Unlike City & Travel Guide headquarters in Berlin, where Helly works as a marketer and I am an editor. When she first told me about Tanzanian Beans, a plant-based meal with a Kiwi twist, I knew that this golden gal was onto something special–so I invited her to share the love. Take it away, Helly!

Tanzanian Beans

I’m quite proud of New Zealand’s culinary culture. As a small, green country, we’re never far from the farm and fields and we pride ourselves on local and seasonal produce.The country’s food identity is very much an ethnic mash-up. As well as our Maori heritage, we’ve assimilated onto the table edible offerings from Asia, the Mediterranean and the Pacific Rim. It’s the British influence, however that is the strongest, and in New Zealand, it’s meat-based meals that reign.

As a predominantly carnivorous nation, my naïve first impressions of vegetarian and vegan cuisine lead me to believe a few lettuce leaves garnished with cherry tomatoes was as good as it got. Fortunately, my curiosity and years of exploration have uncovered a wealth of delicious and exciting plant-based eats. My absolute favorite vegetarian dish is called Tanzanian Beans. Brimming with flavor, it’s an exotic potato and bean combo accented with citrus & spices. Delish!

The ingredients.
The preparation.
The eats!

Tanzanian Beans

What you need:

  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli or 1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • 2 cups of cooked or canned beans (2 or 3 varieties with mixed color is good- black eyed
  • peas, kidney beans, white beans etc)
  • 1 cup parboiled potatoes diced (approx. 2 potatoes)
  • ½ cup of diced parboiled carrots (approx. half a carrot)
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime
  • Oil

What you do:

  • Pour a few glugs of oil into a pan.
  • Add garlic, onion and chili. Sauté for a few minutes, then add remaining herbs and spices.
  • Add coconut and stir.
  • Add beans, potatoes and carrots.
  • Mix well to coat the veggies and allow to simmer for 5-10 mins.
  • Pair with green veggies or chapatti and complement with a dollop of coconut cream.
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