ONEAfter weeks of a diet whose main food groups include pâté, cheese and Ferrero Rocher, I have started the new year with mind and stomach crying out for a change. However, I do not want to indulge in any diet. Instead, I want to shift my focus to foods that nourish and satiate and especially feed the gut microbiome. These dishes rely on legumes, which are naturally full of fiber, to nourish all the microorganisms that create a home in our digestive system and help keep us healthy. Both are also good to make in bulk and freeze, for days when you can not cope with cooking, but need something warm and comforting.
Peanut bean stew with tofu and roasted garlic
This stew is inspired by some of my favorite Southeast Asian flavors. The beans keep it filling, but you can serve it with rice or noodles if you like. The casserole dish freezes well, but the garnish of roasted garlic, coriander and cucumber needs to be made fresh.
Prepare 10 min
Cook 20 min
100 g whole raw peanuts
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
4-5 (20g) clove garlic, peeled and chopped
20 g of ginger, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon crushed turmeric
¼-½ tsp chili powder, to taste
300 g brown onions, peeled and sliced
2 x cans of mixed beans – I used kidney and black-eyed beans
150 g smooth peanut butter
1 x can of coconut milk
150 ml of boiling water
Peel and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 x 230g bag deep-fried tofu puffs – I like the brand TofuKing
1 cucumber, cut into thin matches
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons oil
1 small bunch of coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan) / 390F / gas 6. Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast for six minutes until browned and aromatic. Set aside to cool, then chop coarsely.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then fry the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chili for one to two minutes until the garlic begins to brown. Add the onions, fry while stirring for eight minutes until soft, then pour in the beans, peanut butter, coconut milk, water, lime peel and juice, fish and soy sauce and sugar. Let simmer for two to three minutes, then add the tofu and let it simmer for another five minutes.
While the casserole is simmering, prepare the garnish. Peel the garlic cloves and cut them as thin as you can. Warm the oil in a small frying pan over low heat, then fry the garlic for a few minutes until the hazelnut brown. Immediately pour into a heatproof bowl to stop the overcooking.
To serve, divide the stew into bowls and tops with the cucumber and a strip of roasted peanuts, cilantro, roasted garlic and its oil.
Black lentils with miso, mushrooms and spring onions
Miso soup is one of my favorite quick lunches. If you want to make this especially more delicious, use king oyster mushrooms – you can usually find them in the Southeast Asian stores. They are a bit more expensive than regular button mushrooms, but are far more flavorful.
Prepare 10 min
Cook 20 min
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
25 g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
250 g white whale lenses
300 g mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch spring onions, in thin slices
80 g dark miso paste – I use Clearspring’s brown rice miso
Chili oil, to serve
Put a tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the ginger and fry until just starting to brown. Pour in the lentils and 600 ml of boiling water, put the lid on and simmer for approx. 20 minutes until the lenses are tender.
While the lentils are boiling, fry the mushrooms in another pan with another tablespoon of oil for six minutes until reduced in size and brown at the edges. Turn out onto a plate, then turn up the heat, add the last tablespoon of oil and fry the spring onions for a few minutes until charred.
Stir the miso through the cooked lentils (you may need to add a little more or less miso, depending on its strength), then stir in the fried mushrooms and pour them into bowls. Serve topped with spring onions and a splash of chili oil.