Kidney bean “stir steam”

Vegetable “stir steams” (my version of stir fries but where the vegetable gently boil/steam in the sauce rather than a quick fry in oil) are my faithful fallback when I want a quick, light meal. However, my husband complains that it doesn’t keep him full long enough if it is only vegetables so I usually serve them with some rice or noodles or throw in some protein like tofu or tempeh. One day I was cooking a stir steam but found we were out of tofu. I didn’t feel in the mood for rice or noodles so I added a can of kidney beans instead. To my surprise it worked very nicely – somewhere between a stir fry and chilli.  Since then pulses have become a popular addition to our stir steams. Here I have paired the kidney beans with our stir steam favourite – aubergine – and savoy cabbage as the crinkly leaves are a great vehicle for the tangy tomato chilli sauce.

Kidney bean “stir steam”

cooking time: 10 minutes preparation, 5-10 minutes cooking

Dietary info: vegan, gluten free (if you don’t use malt vinegar)

Serves: 2

  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 aubergine, cut into batons
  • 6-8 leaves savoy cabbage, finely sliced
  • 150g beansprouts

Stir steam sauce:

  • 4tbsp Tomato puree
  • 4tbsp light Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar (replace with rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar to make this sauce gluten-free)
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  1. Mix together all the sauce ingredients until smooth.
  2. Put the aubergine, cabbage, kidney beans and sauce in a frying pan over a medium heat, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are just starting to soften.
  3. Stir in the beansprouts, cover and continue to cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the aubergine and cabbage are soft but the beansprouts still have a little crunch. If the sauce is looking too watery when you add the beansprouts then cook uncovered for the last 2 minutes.

A few tips to prep ahead:

    • Prepare the vegetables and keep in a sealed bags for a few days in the fridge.
    • Make the sauce and keep in a sealed container in the fridge.
    • The whole dish can also be made ahead and just headed up on the night.

A few tasty little twists…

    • Change the beans and vegetables for variation e.g.:
      • Swap the kidney beans for canellini, borlotti, flageolet or black beans.
      • Swap (or add to) the aubergine and cabbage with kale, mushrooms, courgette, spinach, green peas, broccoli or baby sweetcorn.
      • Swap (or add to) the beansprouts with pak choi, choi sum, sugar snap peas, finely sliced celery or grated carrot.
    • Add an extra texture by reducing the cooking time by 2-3 minutes (after adding the beansprouts) then putting the stir steam into an ovenproof dish and baking at 160C fan for 5-10 minutes until the top is starting to get crispy, or alternatively cook under a medium heat grill to get the same effect.
    • Replace the beansprouts with finely sliced peppers and a small can of sweetcorn and wrap up tightly in a tortilla for a kind of fusion burrito.
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