Batar Da’an Expected: Squash, Bean and Corn Stew

Okay, so with this one, I can’t offer you any historical facts or profound tidbits. All I can say is that when I searched for popular East Timor dishes, this came up first each time.
Admittedly the thought of making Batar Da’an,  a stew, with the weather being what it has been the last week was less than appealing.  In between blog meals, it’s been salads all the way.  Hey, boring, but at least I’m not subsisting on just ice cream like I was doing back in June.  That was poor use of my adult discretion.  Anyway, we had an unexpected dip in temps, so turning on the stove and throwing this together was less painful than expected.
This Batar Da’an couldn’t really be easier. As for ingredients, I’ve seen a few variations; pumpkin rather than squash, mung beans rather than kidney beans.  I opted for butternut squash because pumpkin isn’t quite as prominent in the market right now the way I’m sure it will be in a few weeks, and kidney rather than mung beans because, frankly, I’m not a fan of mungs, despite the fact that they taste pretty much like nothing. Maybe that’s the cause of the dislike.  Plus, mom used to make us eat them all the time as kids, and I never seemed to acquire a taste for them.  In any case, those are two more options for you.
Another note: I used white beans rather than red. Why? Not sure, but I accidentally bought the white.
The verdict on this dish is that it packs a surprisingly pleasing flavor despite the seemingly blah ingredients and very little spice in the way of seasonings; it really has none aside from salt and pepper. I made one personal addition that I think made all the difference- chopped cilantro. I’m a big believer that a bland dish can become infinitely more flavorful by using fresh herbs, and this is just one example of that.  Without would be more authentic, I suppose, but I do suggest my Buddha addition.  I also think this will be more suitable and therefore more enjoyable in a few weeks, so into the freezer it goes until then.
Serves 4-6
Recipe adapted from Catholic Relief Services
1 small-ish butternut squash, peeled and diced.
1 can kidney beans
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups frozen corn
handful chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce, a few shakes to taste
Quinoa, for serving*
*While rice is the traditional accompaniment, I had a lot of quinoa, so I just ate mine with that*
1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender.
2.  Add stock and squash, and increase heat until water is simmering. Add corn and kidney beans, reduce to medium heat, and cook (stirring occasionally) until squash is tender (15-20 minutes).
3.  Add salt and pepper to taste.Mix in cilantro. Serve with rice or quinoa.
That’s it. SUPER easy.
batar daan
Admittedly, that is the saddest looking parsley garnish ever.

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