Seim (see Hyacinth Bean if you don’t know what they are) was yet another dish my mom would cook occasionally, which she couldn’t even force us to eat as kids. She would add coconut milk, left over pieces of stewed meats and even pieces of salted cod to try and get us to eat it… no luck! As a grown man I still don’t have much of an appetite for it and it’s mainly due to the distinctive flavor it possesses. Though it’s cooked in the same manner as bodi, something which I really like, I just can’t fully appreciate that unique sort of flavor seim has. A flavor which is very difficult to describe… can a vegetable/bean be ‘gamey’?
This curry seim recipe is a wonderful vegetarian dish but you can also add pieces of meats as mentioned above, if you’d like to enhance the overall flavor.
1 pound seim (cleaned and trimmed)
1 tablespoon madras curry powder (Caribbean blend)
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 small onion
3 chilies (I had some bird pepper in the fridge)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon veg oil
dash black pepper
2 medium potatoes cubed (I like Yukon gold’s creaminess)
*3 tablespoons water for cooking the curry.
First up, we need to wash, clean and trim the seim (see video at the bottom of the post). Using a sharp pairing knife, strip the edges off the seim, then cut into 2 pieces. The edges will not cook down and will be stringy and tough, so we must remove them. Depending on the size of your seim, cut into 2 or 4 pieces and remember to keep the peas (seeds) as well. Prepare the potato, onion, garlic and pepper so we’re good to go when we get started.
In a fairly deep saucepan, heat the vegetable oil on medium heat, then toss in the madras curry powder, stir and allow to cook for a couple minutes. Then add the sliced onion, garlic and hot pepper so they release their oils and flavor the dish. Give that another minute, then add 3 tablespoons of water and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes on a low heat. After which you can turn up the heat and allow the curry mixture to cook down completely.(you can also make a slurry with the curry powder, garlic, onion, pepper and water and add to the heated oil as well)
When the liquid dries down and the curry paste we just made starts to get darker and stick to the bottom of the pan, add the trimmed seim, potato chunks, salt, black pepper and give it a good stir.
Next up is to add the coconut milk and water. Bring that up to a boil by raising the heat. Now reduce that to a very gentle simmer, cover the pot and allow to cook for about 30 minutes.
Remember to stir occasionally while it cooks. After 30 minutes the seim should be tender and the potato should start to melt away to form a thick sort of gravy. If there’s a lot of liquid left in the pan, raise the heat so that can burn-off. I recall my mom making this very dry (no gravy), but I do like some gravy to eat with my roti or rice.
I just so happened to have some buss up shut roti in he freezer which I reheated, along with some mango kuchela to round off my meal. This recipe should be enough for four people as a side dish in case you’re wondering.