Monday, June 27, 2011

When I finally found dried black beans here in Istanbul, I was ecstatic.

Black beans are not a traditional Turkish item, so stores just don’t seem to carry them. But when you do find “foreign” food items and spices, it’s like discovering a pile of culinary gold in Istanbul. It's only taken me 10 months to stumble upon these beans.

I immediately had visions of black beans cooked with Latin American spices and flavors.

Next stop, I paid a visit to my favorite butcher shop, Atlas Kasabı, to order 1 kilo of kontrfile yağsız kıyma (lean ground beef).

At home, I selected several spices I thought would go well together with the black beans and beef. 
Front row, left to right: cumin and Janissary spice.
Back row, left to right: ground ancho chili powder, ground guajillo powder and  Black & Red spice.
I’d recently bought a bunch of spices from my friends at the Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Bazaar or Spice Bazaar). Here are some photos I took at the bazaar:
Spices galore!
Sumac is often mixed in with kofte or used to garnish salads and soups.
High quality spices and dried teas can be found at this family-owned spice shop
in the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul.
Once the main ingredients were blended with a few vegetables, the end result was a spicy, low-fat bowl of chili-like goodness. My husband couldn't believe this tasty dish could be low-fat and full of such flavor!
Garnish each bowl with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and crushed red pepper.
If you can’t locate some of these spices in the recipe below, I would recommend using a combination of your favorite ground chili pepper spices and cumin.

Afiyet olsun!

Where to shop:
  • Macro Center: Abdi Ipekci Cad. No: 24/26, Nişantaşı, Istanbul (Look for Sezon Siyah Fasulye in a black box next to the other dried beans and bulgur.)
  • Great spices and dried teas - Ucuzcular Baharat, Mısır Çarşısı, No. 51, Eminönü, Istanbul
Joy’s Spicy Black Bean and Ground Beef One-Pot Recipe
Serves: 4

200 g. siyah fasulye (dried black beans)

500 g. kontrfile yağsız kıyma (lean ground beef)
2 ea. medium onions, diced small
1 whole head, fresh garlic, diced small
150 g. (about 3) red peppers, thinly sliced
150 g. (about 3) green peppers, thinly sliced
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. Janissary spice (a well-seasoned blend with hints of cumin and pul biber)
1 tsp. ground ancho chili powder
1 tsp. ground guajillo chili powder
1 tsp. Penzeys Black and Red Spice
2 T. tomato paste
1 qt. hot water
TT salt

1. Soak the beans overnight in water. Or in a medium-sized bowl, cover the dried beans with hot water. Let sit out at room temperature for at least 1 hour before using. Strain.
2. In a large pot, brown the ground beef. Then, add the onions, garlic and peppers. Cook for several minutes until the vegetables soften.
3. Then, add the spices, black beans, tomato paste and cover with hot water. Add more water as needed during the cooking process. Cover the pot with a lid and let cook for at least 30 minutes. Test the beans to see whether they are well cooked; continue cooking if necessary. Season with salt.
4. Serve the chili in individual bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

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Sue Narayan said...

Good to know, Joy! I am going to check Macro in Kuruçesme for the beans.

Cari said...

I think black beans have only been available in Turkey for about a year. I was beside myself when I found them as well. Unfortunately, they are not always available in stock. I'm waiting for them to come back again so I can buy another dozen boxes!

Joy said...

Hi Cari, yes probably the last year or so. I actually was eyeing the ones I still have - maybe for another black bean chili.

FYI: I've often found them in bulk at Safran in Nisantasi. This is a great lil organic mkt/store.