Three bean salad. I like it a lot. The Werda one in the plastic bag inside a box is a big favourite. Around a camp fire. In Botswana. When the nearest fresh veg is a 12-hour drive through the thick sands of Chobe away. At home I feel bad to go the store-bought route. It smacks too much of lazy cook and too little of domestic goddess.
Traditional three bean salad is of course NOT a thing of beauty. A bit like something Jackson Pollock would have created on a particularly hungover day. So I jazz it up with bright red kidney beans, white cannellini beans and the thinnest of thin green beans, barely steamed. I add spring onions and finely sliced radishes (one of the ‘in’ ingredients for 2015) and I tumble the lot on a plate in a vaguely deconstructed way (another ‘in’ thing right now). A sweet and sour sauce with a hint of curry pays homage to the traditional.
All you need is…
1 tbs sunflower oil
2 tbs red onion, diced as finely as possible
1 small clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp medium-strength curry powder (Rajah is perfect)
¼ tsp salt
5 tbs white wine vinegar
3 tbs brown sugar
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
small packet fine green beans
3 spring onions/scallions (with the green bits)
Steam or boil beans very briefly – they must be ever so slightly bendy with loads of crunch. Remove and plunge the beans into ice water until cool. Drain and set aside. Fry the onion in the oil over a low heat until soft (not brown). Add the garlic and curry powder and fry for a few seconds. Add the vinegar, salt and sugar and boil briefly, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Pour a third of the dressing over the red kidney beans, a third over the cannellini beans and a third over the green beans. Place in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour.
Finely slice the spring onions on the diagonal. Finely slice the radishes (I use a mandolin). Plate the lot up and serve straight away. This makes a great accompaniment at a braai (that’s barbie/barbeque for my far away readers). I also love it on it’s own as a light lunch.