In My Kitchen, February 2014

Azuki Bean Dip February, like all cold months, is when my kitchen sees a lot of me. Perhaps because it’s the warmest, coziest place in the house. Perhaps because there’s never a better time to bake bread, one of my favorite things to do.

I love my beans and lentils and this February, in my kitchen, I have invited some new legume friends and some old and I am looking forward to eating them one by one.

Beans On a recent trip to my local Asian store I picked up a bag of brilliant red Azuki beans (bottom left) which I had never cooked with before. Then I found a bag of red mung beans (top right) at my Indian grocery store — again a bean I have never cooked with, although green mung beans are a staple in my pantry. Also from the Indian store came the green chana — green garbanzo beans (bottom right) that I remember seeing my mom use back in India. And finally, from Whole Foods, came an old favorite– French puy lentils whose peppery taste goes perfectly with just about any Indian dal recipe. They are particularly good in this Cauliflower Dal.

Sourdough Starter In my kitchen I have revived my sourdough starter which had been sitting around, neglected, for months. But sourdough starter is hardy stuff and with some attention it is possible to coax it back to good health. Mine is now back and bubbling away in its jar and in this batch of dough for a high-hydration whole wheat sandwich bread I am testing out (if the recipe works, I promise to share it).

Bread dough


Leafy veggies In my kitchen this month are fresh, healthy vegetables that I cannot wait to cook up. The Yu Choy (right), which I found at the Asian grocery store, is a new leafy for me. It is a variety of Chinese broccoli with thinner stems and since Desi and I love broccoli I am really looking forward to making something wonderful with it. Also in my kitchen this month is my favorite leafy vegetable– one I usually can only find in the Indian store: Methi or Fenugreek leaves (left). This pleasantly bitter vegetable is eaten all over India not just for its amazing flavor but also its health properties — it is said to lower blood sugar and cholesterol and is quite the wonder veggie. It’s also a versatile veggie that you can cook up in a subzi or a curry. I love it most in Methi Chaman, a brilliant green preparation that goes beautifully with rotis.


Another wonder veggie waiting to be devoured in my kitchen — also an Indian favorite– is the bitter gourd or karela. Bitter gourds, warty and very bitter in taste, can be intimidating to someone not used to them but like methi leaves they possess amazing, health-giving qualities. Desi and I love karela– he more than me — and one of our favorite ways to eat Karela is in this Rajma Bean Curry. At the Indian store I also picked up these little globular eggplants– one of my favorite veggies ever.

Adzuki Bean Dip In my kitchen I just cooked up those wonderful Azuki beans into a Curried Azuki Bean dip. I wanted to try a different sort of dip for my Superbowl evening, one that was healthy and fat-free, and I think I got a winner with this one. I added some smoky garam masala and some sundried tomatoes and they gave the dip the perfect yin and yang.

This In My Kitchen post goes to Celia of the blog  Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, who started and hosts this wonderful meme each month. Head on over to her blog to peek into the kitchens of many fabulous cooks. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Thanks, Celia!

Curried Azuki Bean Dip, Fat-Free
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup dry Azuki beans, rinsed
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder or curry powder
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes (you can use the oil-packed ones if that's what you have but that would add a small amount of fat to the recipe)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (use more or less to your taste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup packed parsley leaves
  • Salt to taste
  1. Place the beans in a saucepan, add enough water to cover the beans by an inch, and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, cover with a lid, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook 45 minutes to an hour or until the beans are tender. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Drain the beans once they've cooled and add them to a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend well. I like some texture but you can make this dip smoother by blending it longer, if you wish.
  3. Garnish the dip with some red pepper flakes. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips or crudites.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 97 Carbohydrates: 18.3 grams Fiber: 4.8 grams Protein: 6.2 grams



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  1. says

    Nice pictures Vaishali, gave the warm and cozy feeling as I was scrolling :) I too love puy lentils and mung beans especially on days like when we need a diversion from the regular dhals. Azuki beans is new to me, never tried it before, your dish looks good :)

  2. says

    Green chickpeas? Never seen those before. Now green hummus would be interesting. I found a bag of lentils when I was clearing out my pantry this month I really need to turn it into dahl.

  3. says

    This sounds fun. I invariably cook more beans during winter time as very few seasonal vegetables are available in local farmers market. I love Puy lentil sprouts usal.
    Adzuki beans and red chowli are same, aren;t they? Try sprouting it and making nice usal. I am sure you will like it :)

    • says

      Hi Mints, I have never before heard of red chowli– the only chowli I know are black-eyed peas. How interesting that it’s the same as azuki beans and is eaten in India. I learn something every moment!
      I have had a yen for usal recently so thanks for the idea! :)

  4. says

    MMMmm! I like the food in your kitchen. I’ve never seen green garbanzo beans before- but I have tried the bitter melon. I can’t say I loved it on the first try- but it is supposed to be good for diabetics so I’m going to try it again.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    Yum! I’d love to taste your azuki bean dip! And I’ve never seen green chana before, how intriguing. I’ve only seen dried chick peas, or the split yellow channa dal. I had methi gota yesterday, and the fenugreek leaves added a delicious flavour to them. Hope the bread went well – your starter certainly looks healthy! :)

  6. says

    Hi, Have just watched a Jamie Oliver programe and he was doing Indian foods. As a Diabetic with Blood sugars and Colesteral probs I saw a veg. that helps in the lowering of both conditions. Could you tell me what they were and if possible, do you think they would be available in New Zealand. We live in a small town so may need to go into the city to purchase. Thank you

    • says

      What did it look like? There are many Indian vegetables that have cholesterol and diabetes fighting properties, and the two that come rightaway to mind are bitter melon (karela) and fenugreek leaves (methi). Karela is warty and bumpy and dark green, methi leaves are oval and look just a little like watercress. I am not sure about where you can buy Indian groceries in New Zealand, but safe to say there are usually Indians — and Indian grocery stores– in nearly any city in the world.

  7. harpersfaerie says

    I just made it, as specified; it is excellent, and didn’t need much salt. I used a pinch

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