Red beans in tomato & Cilantro-lime rice

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I think the category of ‘bean and rice’ would encompass almost 90% of the meals that I cook and I do not complain at all. Rather, I rejoice it and am thankful for the pantry full of different beans and pulses. All it takes is some overnight soaking, which is hardly labor-intensive. If you forget that, you can always go for split lentils and pulses. Having a pressure cooker further reduces the cooking time. So no wonder that I keep making it. Plus, there is such a diversity of flavor profiles across different cooking cultures. For example, same staples that I used this time for a Mexican bean-rice bowl, can be used for making Indian rajma-chawal. You just need to pick the flavor of the day, and then choose the spices and condiments accordingly. So today, we go South…

RED BEANS IN TOMATO & CILANTRO-LIME RICE

Ingredients:

For red beans in tomato:

1 cup dried red/ kidney beans
3-4 tomatoes
1 onion
1-2 teaspoons of chili powder
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2 tablespoon of crushed dried oregano herb
Salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons oil
Water

For cilantro-lime rice:

1 cup rice
1-2 cloves of garlic
2-4 green chili peppers (depends on your liking)
Bunch of cilantro
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste

Method:

For read beans in tomato:

  1. Wash and soak the beans overnight.
  2. Cook the beans with enough water till beans are cooked tender, but not mushy. The water in which beans are cooked can be later used as the stock in this prep. So save it 🙂
  3. In pot, heat oil, and fry chopped garlic till fragrant.
  4. Add thinly chopped onion to it and sauté till it turns translucent.
  5. Add cumin powder and chili powder to the onion. Sauté for a minute and two and add cooked beans and mix properly.
  6. Make a puree of tomatoes and add it to the beans pot along with salt and oregano.
  7. Once the tomatoes loose their raw flavor, you can add the beans stock that we had save earlier and some more water, based on the desired consistency.
  8. Let the beans simmer on low-medium heat for 5-10 more minutes and then take off the stove.

For cilantro-lime rice:

  1. Wash and cook rice per instruction.
  2. Thinly chop green chili peppers and garlic cloves. Further grind them to coarse consistency in mortar and pestle, with some salt, lime juice, and half of cilantro.
  3. Mix this paste with cooked rice.
  4. Adjust salt and lime juice to your liking and serve with adding some more chopped cilantro.

Take in a bowl and dig in 🙂

 

Daal-Rice & Okra Stir Fry

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Atiparichayat avadnyaa… this old adage in Sanskrit warned-“Too much of a familiarity leads to disrespect”. Addressed to humans, with an advice to maintain a polite dignity in their interactions with others, this saying interestingly reflects the plight of some of their food as well. Daal-rice and okra stir fry is such a common meal across many Indian households, that at times it becomes synonymous with mundane and humdrum affair. As a kid, I used to definitely be less excited on knowing this dinner plan, than I would have been about having something more glamorous, such as seafood of my choice. And many of my friends would not be any different. Despite the lack of popularity, it continued to be made in our houses and now, as a grown-up, I can understand why. With a simple and careful preparation, it brings perfectly complementing food items and flavors. It combines vegetable protein (daal), carbs (rice), and fiber (okra) to make a vegan meal with complete proteins and a low GI. No wonder, it has become our favorite meal plan too 🙂 Especially, after having to eat out consecutively during travel, I do crave for its unassuming deliciousness.

Here’s the recipe.

DAAL-RICE & OKRA STIR FRY

Serves two

Ingredients:

A) For daal:

1 cup split pigeon peas (toor/ arhar daal)
1 tomato
3 green chili peppers
2/3 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2-3 pinches of asafoetida
2-3 tablespoons oil for tempeting
2 teaspoon of mustard
2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
4-5 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of ginger
7-8 curry leaves/ a teaspoon of currly leaf powder
Salt to taste
4-5 cups of water

B) For Okra stir fry

1/2 kg okra
1 onion
2 tablespoons of oil to fry
1 pinch of asafoetidaa
2 green chili peppers
7-8 curry leaves/ a teaspoon of currly leaf powder
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of coriander powder
2-3 tablespoons of lime juice

Method:

A) For daal:

  1. Wash and soak daal for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In a lidded pot/ pressure cooker, combine daal, turmeric powder, pinch of asafoetida, tomato slices, half of green chili peppers (vertically slit), and two cups of water. Cook till daal is soft, but not mushy.
  3. In another pot, make a tempering with heating oil, and sauté mustard seeds, cumin seeds, crushed garlic cloves, julienned ginger, thickly chopped green chili peppers, curry leaves, and asafoetida, till fragrant.
  4. Add cooked daal, along with its water over this tempering. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
  5. Add remaining water. Adjust salt to taste.
  6. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for another five minutes.
  7. Take of the heat. Serve when it is still hot but not scalding.

And that is it. No need to add any other fancy curry powder. For this meal, we had it with brown rice, but for lighter meals, I have had it just as a lentil soup.

B) For okra stir fry:

  1. In a pan, heat oil and fry mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chili peppers, curry leaves, asafoetida over it, till fragrant.
  2. Add uniformly cut chunks of okra over it and sauté over medium to high heat till all the pieces are mixed with the tempering.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, cumin and coriander powders, and mix again.
  4. Now, in one of my most rebellious streak, I do cover this pan for about 5 minutes so that okra gets to partially cook in its own steam. In most of the Indian cooking, this is strongly advised against… because most people believe that it would make okra more sticky. My mother and mother-in-law would unanimously unite in the protest, if they ever come to know of my deviation 😉
  5. However, all through of my cooking, I have come to believe that five minutes of covering only helps okra to cook better, without getting it too dry. If you are on the conventional side, and prefer super-crispy okra fry, then do feel free not to cover the pan.
  6. In any case, after that short interval of about five minutes, I uncover the pan and then- stir fry okra constantly till its juices are either evaporated or integrated into the vegetable.
  7. Now, mix in the thinly chopped onion  and stir till it is lightly cooked. Cover the pan for few minutes, if necessary (why hesitate now, if you have already done it once!)
  8. Ensure that okra is cooked to your liking and take off the heat. Squeeze 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice over it and mix. Enjoy it with your daal-rice.

Black-eyed peas & Corn-on-cob Stew

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The idea of corn-on-cob into the bean stews seems bit rustic in style. But if you are game to let your fork down for a while, it can reward you with more complex flavors than you would have otherwise got from using only loose corns.

BLACK-EYED PEAS & CORN-ON-COB STEW

Serves for  two

Ingredients:

1-2 corn cobs (cut into halves or quarters, as per your preference)
3 cups of black-eyed peas (soaked overnight)
2-3 small potatoes
1 onion
1 cup of spinach
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1-2 green chili peppers
2-3 cloves of garlic
7-8 curry leaves (optional)
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon curry/ masala powder of your preference
2-3 cups vegetable stock/ water
Salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a pot/ pressure cooker, heat oil.
  2. Fry a tempering of crushed fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, chopped garlic, chopped green chili peppers, and curry leaves, till fragrant.
  3. Add turmeric powder, then chopped onion, and then mix.
  4. Once onion starts losing color, add curry powder. Sauté till it loses its raw smell.
  5. Add potato chunks, corn cobs, and soaked black-eyed peas and mix.
  6. Add vegetable stock/ water. Season with salt.
  7. Cover and let the stew cook on medium heat. In pressure cooker it would take 15 minutes (about two whistles). Open pot would require about 25-3o minutes.
  8. Check if potatoes are done. If yes, then add chopped spinach.
  9. Let it wilt (about 3 minutes) and then take pot off the heat.

It is usually served with rice or flatbreads. For a lighter week lunch, we had it with a pot of quinoa. I also do not see why it cannot be a one-pot meal. The addition of curry masala powder would make it spicy. For a non-spicy version, you can altogether skip adding it. The basic tempering would be enough for bringing all the flavors together. I used black-eyed peas because I happened to have those at that time, but they can be substituted with other dried beans (like lima, red, butter beans, or chick peas). So go ahead, and take a chance with those corn cobs into a pot of bean stew.