I am a big fan of frozen vegetables. Cheap, long lasting and extremely handy, I usually keep several varieties to hand. But when frozen peas and sweetcorn get a bit bland, I reach for the somewhat trendier frozen soyabeans or edamame from Bird’s Eye to add some Eastern promise to dishes such as fried rice. I love their nutty moreish taste and texture.
So when I espied a little pot of edamame bean dip with chili and lemongrass in Marks and Spencer a few months ago, I couldn’t help snapping it up to try it. It was delicious sweet and nutty with a warming kick, but unsurprisingly it was a tiny pot for the price and laden with oil. I wondered if I could make my own slightly less fatty version.
Back home I got out the soybeans, a nice juicy lemon and some Cap Bon harissa and the blender and pondered what I could do to make this a soft smooth dip that would yield to a toasted pitta or a crisp tortilla chip…and surprisingly my mind turned to cottage cheese!
Personally I find cottage cheese on its own to be offensively bland and extremely unappealing, but for this it seemed just right. Low in fat, soft, creamy and easy to blend without an overpowering flavour of its own it would make the perfect base with the soybeans.
Since I was feeling casual in my creation, I didn’t really use any precise measurements. About a quarter of the bag of soybeans were boiled and drained, before going into the blender with the juice of a lemon, a big squirt of harissa, some salt and pepper and about 3 or 4 dessert spoons of cottage cheese. This created the perfect consistency for dipping and spreading with just enough of a chili kick.
I served this for as a surprisingly filling lunch on some Ryvita. The high protein content of the beans makes this tasty and filling without being heavy. It was also just too tempting not to scrape the bowl of the blender clean with a few salted tortilla chips…
Cheap, quick and pretty healthy, this dip has become a bit of a lunchtime favourite already. It stores well in a tupperware pot and is really really good with a few flatbreads and some fresh tomatoes from the garden if anyone calls unexpectedly and needs a snack. It’s also achieved the impossible and rendered cottage cheese delicious!