Rajma Masala

Rajma or Red Kidney Beans are a staple in almost every North Indian household. Rajma Chawal – Rajma served with Steamed Rice, is a legend in Punjab.
About their health benefits, I can go on and on…
High fiber aids weight loss. They are loaded with proteins, powerhouse of energy and stuffed with antioxidants that increase immunity. They maintain the blood sugar levels, thus preventing diabetes. They also maintain the blood pressure, leading to a healthy heart. Anti-aging, excellent for glowing skin and lustrous hair. Need I say more…

Move over the restaurants that lure you with a good-looking dish and then dig a big hole in your pockets. And all that with really small portions that make you think whether to eat it or just look at it. After Version 1, 2, 3… I’ve finally nailed it with Version Lipsmaking, that’ll beat these hole-diggers hands down.
rajma-masalaSoaking time: Overnight or minimum 10 hours
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
200 grams Rajma (you can also use the canned beans)
3 tbsp butter (I’m very generous with butter)
1 tbsp oil
3 medium or 2 large onions, finely chopped
2 medium size tomatoes, pureed
11/2 tbsp ginger+garlic+green chili paste
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp Kashmiri / red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – optional
2 tbsp fresh cream
1/2 to 1 cup water…as per your desired thickness of the gravy
Salt as per taste
2 tsp lemon juice
Chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:
Soaking and Cooking Rajma:
1. Wash the beans and soak them in enough water overnight or for at least 10 hours. This softens the beans and expedites the cooking process.
2. Discard the liquid and wash the soaked beans under cold water.
3. Pressure cook the beans till done. They should be really soft… melt-in-mouth kind of soft.
4. If boiling, remember Rajma is a really stubborn bean. It’ll consume whole lot of time and fuel. So pressure cooking is advisable.
5. Save the cooking liquor – the liquid that’s left after cooking the beans.
6. Mash 2 tbsps of the cooked beans. They thicken the gravy.

Rajma Masala:
1. Heat oil, then add butter in a kadhai or a non-stick heavy bottomed pan.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add the cinnamon and bay leaf. Fry for few seconds till aromatic and the oil is flavored.
4. Toss in the onions and fry till translucent and golden brown. Be careful not to burn.
5. Add the ginger+garlic+chili paste and saute for a minute. The raw smell should go away.
6. Add the spice powders – turmeric, coriander, cumin, red chili, garam masala and saute for a minute.
7. Add the tomato puree and fry till the oil starts leaving from sides.
8. Tumble in the beans, add the cooking liquor, mashed beans, sprinkle salt and give it a good stir. Add more water if needed.
9. Let it simmer without lid, on low for around 10 minutes.
10. After the gravy has attained the desired consistency, sprinkle the kasuri methi, add the fresh cream and lime juice.
11. Let it cook on low for another one last minute.
12. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with Steamed Rice, Jeera (Cumin) Rice, Roti or Naan slathered with butter.

P.S. : *There are two varieties of Rajma available in the market – Red and pinkish one. Cooking time varies for both. I prefer the red ones.
*If undercooked, the beans aren’t as flavorful as they should be. Also, under-cooked Rajma isn’t good for your stomach. So ensure it’s cooked thoroughly.
*If using canned beans, discard the liquid and take just the beans after giving them a quick run under cold water.

Cucumber And Mint Summer Salad

I call this “Summer Salad” because I somehow associate the coolness of mint to summer. All of a sudden, it becomes omnipresent – fridge, salads, juices… And now that I’ve learned chopping it up like a professional, it makes life much easier 🙂
I’m not a heavy mint user in the salads, but with this one I’m quiet generous.
Not just the taste, but the camaraderie of white and green looks gorgeous as well. See for yourself…
Cucumber and mint summer salad
Preparation Time: 
10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Cucumber – 2 peeled and chopped
Dry mint – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Fresh mint – half a bunch. Chopped (I love using lot of it)
Yogurt – beaten. one cup
Olive Oil – to drizzle
Salt – As per taste

Method:
1. Mix chopped cucumber, dry mint, fresh mint, yogurt and salt.
2. While plating, drizzle some olive oil and garnish with some more chopped mint

P.S.: I’ve added tomatoes here. You may give them a miss, if you wish 🙂

 

 

Tangy Tomato Rice

Tomato Rice… this tangy, one-pot recipe is a breakfast/lunch/dinner staple in any South Indian household. No side dishes necessary, you can enjoy the best of it with just the papadum or raita and an equally tangy sour pickle. Gosh! My tastebuds have got the goose-bums already 😛  It used to be a tiffin-regular of my Keralite friend, thus the recipe. I remember exchanging my tiffin with hers so that I could gobble down all of it alone, without a thread of shame 😛
Tomato Rice
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
1 cup (250 gm) cooked basmati rice
3 big size tomatoes, finely chopped
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chilies, chopped
2 heaped tsps kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsps mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
5-6 curry leaves
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
Asafoetida, a pinch
Oil for frying
Salt for seasoning

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Add asafoetida and mustard seeds and let them temper.
  3. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds.
  4. Now add the whole spices – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and fry till they release their aroma.
  5. Add curry leaves, chopped green chilies and stir for a bit.
  6. Tumble in the onions and fry till soft and translucent.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir till the raw smell of ginger goes away.
  8. Add tomatoes and cook till they turn soft and mushy.
  9. Add the spice powders – kashmiri chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Add salt and fry on medium till the oil starts separating at the sides. Lid on and cook on for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes and onions look completely dissolved in each other..
  10. Spoon in the cooked rice and mix gently with fork till the entire rice is coated with this super-tangy spice mix. Don’t use spoon here as spoon tends to break the rice.

P.S: Serve with plain yogurt / raita / crispy papadum and pickle. Once cooled completely, it can be refrigerated for up to 4-5 days in an air-tight container.