More New Spices

I ran out of dried mint a month ago, and I've been waiting to get another bag. I finally got the opportunity to visit my favorite Middle Eastern grocery, this week.


A huge bag of dried mint, for $3.00 ($20.00 worth, at a supermarket). Plus caraway, cardamom, and ginger root.

I'll buy spices in plastic bags, especially at these prices - but I hate storing spices in the bags, when I have this collection of empty spice jars. The jars are way more convenient to open, when I cook.

This is at least $50.00 at supermarket prices (except you can't get black caraway, anywhere). At Afghan Market in Concord, this was just over $10.00.

Unlike my last spice purchase, I know everything here. The black caraway is an essential in my chili and similar dishes - Cuban Style Black Beans, for instance. And the mint will go into a lot of dishes - including the Sesame Mint Rice.

A most satisfying afternoon shopping.

California Style Lime Peanut Bean Curry

This is similar to California style red beans - except the flavourings use a curry powder base, instead of chili powder - and the lime / peanut butter. And, it takes some from the Cuban style black beans - except the sour black beans use an orange, but the red beans are sweeter and use a lime.

Only rinse the beans twice, to make sure they are clean - then stash in refrigerator, in water, while you prepare the other ingredients. No soaking overnight - and no repeated rinsing, and removing all of the flavour.

  • 1 lb dried red beans
  • 2 - 3 carrots, well scrubbed and chopped, 1/4" sections
  • 3 - 4 cloves of garlic, chopped, 1//4" squares
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, 1/2" squares
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, 1/4" squares
  • 1 sweet pepper, chopped, 1/2" squares
  • 2 cubes / 2 t bouillon
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t coriander
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t tumeric
  • 1 6oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1 lime, scrubbed and whole
  1. Rinse beans, twice, in large bowl. Let them sit in the refrigerator, in water, while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. When vegetables are ready, dump beans and water - un drained - into a large pot.
  3. Add vegetables, and enough water to make everything float.
  4. Bring water to a boil, and add spices. Do not add lime, peanut butter, or tomato sauce, yet.
  5. Reduce to simmer, cover, and let them cook. 2 hours gives me what I like. Sample beans and sauce, an hour after start.
  6. If the beans and spices make you sneeze, you have just enough spices. The peanut butter and tomato sauce will bring the spice level down.
  7. At 1 1/2 hours, the beans will be chewy. Add peanut butter, using a fork, stir until dissolved and mixed. Then add tomato sauce and the lime, stir again.
  8. When beans are soft enough to eat without chewing, they are ready.
  9. Turn off stove, uncover, let them sit until they are cool enough to enjoy.
  10. Serve over Bengali style sesame mint rice, with sourdough bread.
  11. Refrigerated over night, they are even more tasty.

California Style Red Beans

This is similar to Cuban style black beans - except the flavourings use a chili powder base, instead of curry powder.

Only rinse the beans twice, to make sure they are clean - then stash in refrigerator, in water, while you prepare the other ingredients. No soaking overnight - and no repeated rinsing, and removing all of the flavour.

  • 1 lb dried red beans
  • 1 - 2 carrots, well scrubbed and chopped, 1/4" sections
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, 1/2" squares
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 cubes / 2 t bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves, whole
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t mustard
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t tumeric
  • 1 6oz can tomato sauce


  1. Rinse beans, twice, in large bowl. Let them sit in the refrigerator, in water, while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. When vegetables are ready, dump beans and water - un drained - into a large pot.
  3. Add vegetables, and enough water to make everything float.
  4. Bring water to a boil, and add spices.
  5. Reduce to simmer, cover, and let them cook. 2 hours gives me what I like.
  6. When beans are soft enough to eat without chewing, they are ready.
  7. Turn off stove, uncover, let them sit until they are cool enough to enjoy.
  8. Serve over Bengali style sesame mint rice, with sourdough bread. Garnish / mix with mango salsa.
  9. Refrigerated over night, they are even more tasty.