Toast topped with gooey, messy and savoury bits? That’s a no-brainer for a hearty breakfast. When we think of baked beans, the classic English breakfast comes to mind and it stops there.

But home cook and food writer-cum-host Sarah Benjamin is two steps ahead of us when it comes to taking your beans to the next level.

Her Masala Spiced Baked Beans (on toast) is a what we’d call a smoky, slightly spicy and creamy concoction that’s absolutely delicious. It’s also proof that ghee automatically makes a dish so much more indulgent. Watch the video for her recipe.

1. What are three things you cannot live without in your pantry?

Dried pasta! I’m a huge noodle fiend and I’ve got to have my noods. I usually have a variety of long pasta shapes on hand, and angel hair or capellini is a great one to have, because you can also boil it up with some baking soda in your water to turn it into cheat’s ramen.

Canned chickpeas. I love chickpeas so much. They’re so versatile – blend them into hummus, throw them into a stew, but one of my favourite uses is to make my miso lemon chickpea pasta! Super quick and nutritious.

I don’t know if this counts as ‘pantry’, but I’m all about eggs. They last a really, really long time in the fridge, and they are probably the best ingredient ever. Give me some soft-boiled eggs and toast, and I’m happy, but they can also be used to make much more complicated, fancy dishes.

2. Is your pantry an organised mess or are you a neat freak?

I’m an aspiring neat freak. I separate my pantry into categories like ‘noodles and rice’, ‘canned goods’ and ‘spices’, but within those categories is a little bit of organised chaos.

Tip: Shopping at bulk bin shops, where you fill your own jars with dried goods, has actually helped me be more organised, as everything is nicely labelled in jars.

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What weekends look like now (sometimes) 🍸⁣ ⁣ Pre-stay home times, the impending arrival of Friday night would mean making plans with friends, choosing the best restaurant or bar for a fun night out. And now? How different everything is! ⁣ ⁣ The days start bleeding into one another when you’re looking at weeks in the confines of your own home, so I think it’s still great to mark the arrival of the weekend – make a cocktail, dress up, organise a movie night with popcorn and call your friends! ⁣ ⁣ Last night, I got a seat at @nutmegandclove VIRTUALLY via @1887virtualbar. (Thank you @aka_asia!) Through these virtual guest shifts, customers can buy drinks vouchers online that can be redeemed when we can go outside again!! That way, we can support our favourite bars too. #StandFast⁣ ⁣ How have you guys been welcoming the weekend at home? Let’s make this one a good one! xx

A post shared by Sarah Huang Benjamin 黄代元 (@sarahhuangbenjamin) on

3. How often do you restock your pantry?

I’m a big believer in a well-stocked pantry. When you’ve got one, you can whip up a meal at the drop of a hat. I also really love lots of pantry ingredients, like beans (canned or dried), rice and noodles, and even canned fish. I usually top up stuff like that every 2-3 weeks, but I usually get small quantities each time.

4. If you woke up late, and had to have breakfast at your work table, what would it be?

I’m actually not a huge breakfast person, so it’s more of a treat thing on weekends for me. That said, in a rush, some almond butter, honey and flaky salt on toasted sourdough really hits the spot in a hurry!

5. Your favourite thing to make during the Circuit Breaker period

I thought I’d be making tons of pasta, but I’ve actually gotten more adventurous in using dried grains and beans. I’ve been experimenting a lot with things like thosai, Korean mung bean pancakes and flatbreads.

With a little more time at home, it seems a lot less daunting even if I mess up a meal, so it’s the perfect time for me to try more ambitious recipes!


1 can Baked Beans
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala spice
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
5-6 curry leaves (optional, but they freeze well so you can keep them on hand)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1 whole dried chilli or 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Toast, to serve

In a sauce pan, heat up oil over a medium-high heat. Sauce the chopped onion for 3-4 minutes, until softened and slightly golden brown. Add the curry leaves and fry for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the garam masala, curry powder and ground coriander, and stir for 20 seconds to toast. Pour in the baked beans and water and stir. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes, to allow all the flavours to mingle.

The next step is optional, but makes this pantry recipe extra delicious.

In a small pan, heat up the ghee or butter, and add the dried chilli and cumin seeds. When it’s hot, pour it over the baked beans. Stir it in, and then spoon onto some crunchy toast. Garnish with fresh coriander and eat!

Videography Sarah Benjamin
Editing Hayley Tai
Music Toe Jam – Bensound