This is an absolute classic dish for Turks and can be found all over the country in varying degrees of spiciness.
There is no fancy name for this dish, it is simply known as Beans and Rice.
AN ALL TIME FAVOURITE
As mentioned in the Chickpeas and Rice recipe, this was my girls’ all time favourite as they were growing up here.
White beans known as ‘kuru fasulye’ in Turkish, cannelloni beans in Italian, haricot beans in UK are the ones what we use for this dish known simply as Beans and Rice. Served with a salad it makes a very delicious, easy and affordable meal.
There are many ways to cook ‘Beans and Rice’ and often little chunks of beef or lamb are dotted throughout the beans. However the vegetarian option is also extremely popular and very tasty. Just omit the meat and use a vegetarian stock.
TO GAS OR NOT TO GAS
There is a reason too why there is a spoon of sugar in the recipe. Many Turks believe that the sugar helps to release the gas in the beans and prevents flatulence.
As for the beans, it has taken me years to glean this little bit of information. There are two types of beans. In Turkish they are known as Kuru Fasulye (dried beans) and the other are Şeker Fasulye (sugar beans). They look extremely similar and the only way to tell them apart it seems is the price. Sugar beans are nearly double the cost of dried beans. They are sweeter as the name suggests and not as common. Both can be used in this recipe.
Also, I have always tried to find the largest beans possible, thinking they are the best. I have no idea where I got this idea from or perhaps it just felt better as I chewed them. However, recently I learnt from a Turkish friend that I should buy the dried beans loose from the villagers at the market and choose the smallest ones possible as they are far tastier. So yesterday I did exactly that. They were really delicious. No looking back!
This dish is a staple in many workers’ cafes and can also be found at every bus station and most local cafes (lokantas). Every Turkish child will be served this regularly and it is on nearly every kindergarten and school menu in the country. It is extremely popular with good reason.
Sometimes simple is just the best.
- 2 cups dried beans soaked overnight
- 150g cubed lean meat
- 50g oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 sweet pepper (sivri biber) seeded and diced
- 1 heaped Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp hot pepper paste (optional)
- 1 litre stock or 2 stock cubes with 1 litre water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp pul biber, red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- dried oregano, dried thyme or dried mint
- Strain soaked beans and rinse thoroughly.
- Sear the meat in a little oil in a large pan or pressure cooker till browned
- Add the onion and pepper
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes
- Add the tomato paste and pepper paste and stir for one minute.
- Pour on the stock, mix well
- Add sugar
- Add the rinsed beans and cook for 20 to 30 minutes under pressure until the beans are tender.
- If boiling in a normal pan this could take up to an hour depending on the freshness of the beans
- If the beans are still hard and the liquid is absorbed, add more water
- Once tender the salt can be added to taste along with some red pepper and a sprinkling of oregano, thyme or mint as desired
- Serve hot with rice and a glass of ayran
- Please note : This is meant to be a sloppy dish, eaten with a spoon
- 3 cups Turkish rice ( I use Baldo or Osmancik types)
- ¼ cup orzo or şehriye (pasta grains or angel strands)
- 4 cups water
- 1 heaped tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp oil
- Put rice in a pot and cover with boiling water
- Leave for one hour to soak with lid on
- Drain and rinse thoroughly, massaging the starch out of the rice
- Heat oil in medium sized saucepan and when hot add the şehriye
- Fry until it takes on a golden colour
- Add the drained rice and continue frying for 2 minutes continually stirring
- Add 4 cups water and salt
- Stir, place on the lid and let it come to a boil
- Once boiling turn it down to a simmer, leaving it gently bubbling for 10 minutes
- Turn off the heat without taking off the lid at all and let it rest another 15 minutes
- Remove lid and fluff up the rice with a fork.