Food recipe

Masala baked beans on toast recipe

A frugal-but-fun remix of the classic beans on toast – ideal for lazy lunches or even lazier mornings, with a spicy-sour green chutney on the side.
Meera Sodha’s masala baked beans on toast, with green chutney on the side. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling:Jennifer Kay.

My mother grew up in relative wealth in Uganda, but entered into poverty when she and her family arrived in the UK after being exiled by the dictator Idi Amin.

Having little money meant cooking very thriftily: she made chutney from fallen apples in the garden, bought sacks of lentils and rice from wholesalers, and ate a lot of spiced masala baked beans.

I am by no means poor, but this time in January (post-Christmas, pre-payday) can be very testing, and these beans are some of the most frugal but delicious things a person can eat.


Masala baked beans on toast with green chutney

Eat these for breakfast, lunch or dinner, on toast or with chapatis, and with or without a little non-dairy yoghurt or the green chutney. This makes enough beans to top two slices of toast generously, so double it to serve more.Advertisement

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2

For the beans 
2 tbsp rapeseed oil 
1 large brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 
1½ green finger chillies 
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground coriander 
½ tsp ground turmeric 
½ tsp ground cumin 
¼ tsp fine sea salt 
1 x 400g tin Heinz baked beans

For the chutney
60g coriander (leaves and tender stalks) 
1½ green finger chillies 
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
½ tsp fine sea salt 
2 tbsp rapeseed oil 
2 tbsp roasted salted peanuts

To serve
2 slices good bread
Non-dairy spread

Make the chutney first. Put the coriander in a bowl, add cold water to cover and agitate with your hand. Fish out the coriander and put it into a colander, leaving behind any gritty bits. Roughly chop the drained coriander, then throw it into a blender with the chillies, lemon juice, salt, oil and peanuts, and blitz to a smooth chutney (the coriander, being wet, will help it blend), adding a drop of water, if need be. Taste and adjust the lemon, salt and chilli as you wish – this chutney should be sour, herbal and hot – then scrape into a bowl and leave to one side.

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To cook the beans, heat the oil in a frying pan and, once it’s hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes, until soft, golden and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli, cook, stirring, for three minutes more, then add the tomato puree, all the spices and the salt. Cook for two minutes, then add the beans and a half-tin’s worth of water, and cook for five minutes, until the sauce has thickened a little, then turn off the heat.

Toast the bread and put on two plates, spread generously with your favourite spread, pile the beans on top and decorate Jackson Pollock-style with the coriander chutney, or just spoon it over, as you wish.

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