Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rajma masala/ Rajma chaval/ Red kidney bean curry

Rajma masala/ Rajma chaval/ Red kidney bean curry
Red kidney beans cooked with Indian spices.

Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry/ Rajma Chaval
Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry/ Rajma Chaval
Rajma chaval is one of those delicious comfort foods that gets cooked rather quickly and easily (by that I mean around 20 min if you have a pressure cooker). Honestly I haven’t met one person till day who doesn’t eat rajma chaval.

Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry
Rajma Masala/Red kidney bean curry

Using a pressure cooker to cook in India is such a common thing and possibly why home cooking is so popular.  And believe me if  using a pressure cooker was very common in this country people wouldn’t be scared to cook, it cuts down cooking and sautéing time and you can make tasty one  pot meals in a jiffy.  No, I am not justifying my use of a pressure cooker as you could still make this recipe without having one. All I am trying to say is  I love my pressure cooker and I can cook a zillion dishes under  15min in a cooker but let’s just leave that for some other post.
Like any other pulses, rajma/kidney beans would need to be soaked overnight but I just leave some canned ones for days when I run out of time and veggies.  A dish very similar to cholle, chickpea masala but this one’s way quicker and I have not used any fried onions. I have only added the grinding step to make it a more restaurant style rajma masala. Of course you could go all out and add cream and butter if you like but I totally skipped it.
If you make extra masala ( onion and tomato masala) you could freeze it/store in the fridge for a week and use it later to make any other dish to name a few paneer, chickpeas, black eyed beans or anything of your choice. So here’s your super easy and versatile dish.

Serves:  2

Kidney beans/ Rajma canned - 2 cups / 240 gm (drained weight)
3 small onions diced
3 small tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp. minced ginger
5 cloves garlic minced
1 small green chilly minced

1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. Hing/ Asafetida
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp. or to taste Kashmiri red chilly powder
A tiny pinch of kasoori methi/dry fenugreek leaves
1 tsp. Garam masala
½ tsp Dry mango powder/ amchoor.

Salt to taste
3 tbsp. oil

1.       Heat oil in a pressure cooker or in a sauce pan, add cumin seeds allow spluttering, add in the onions and sauté along with ginger garlic and chilly. Once browned add in tomatoes. Add spices (chilly, turmeric, asafetida) and half tsp of salt and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or cook until tender and mushy.
Onion and tomato masala paste

2.       Let the pressure settle down,   using a hand blender or a grinder grind the cooked onion tomato to a thin paste like consistency ( using a 2 to 3 tbsp. of water, it should be of thicker consistency)

3.       To this add canned Rajma/kidney beans pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or for 20 min until rajma is soft and easy to mash with a spoon.
4.       Once cooked, adjust the seasoning and add crushed dry fenugreek leaves, garam masala and dry mango powder, stir well. I opted for a thicker consistency you can dilute it by adding more water and simmering it.
Serve hot with Rice or Phulka.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice/ Lemon Rice

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
  Zesty lemon rice with crunchy nuts/A simple rice dish made with lemon juice and Cashew nuts 

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
Indian meal would be incomplete without some basmati rice, and it’s not always plain white rice there are so many ways to jazz up that white rice. One of mine is by adding lemon juice. If you haven’t heard about Lemon rice then let me tell you it is a famous south Indian rice dish.  This recipe however isn’t the same. This Lemon and Cashew nut rice is the one I tried when I was in an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.  With its simplicity and delicious flavors this dish is here to stay.  It’s a delicious summer dish made with just a few ingredients, which can be enjoyed with your choice of main.
It’s such a versatile dish add your choice of spices and nuts if you like and make it your own. Garnish with coriander, I used up all of my coriander to make Green rice ;)

Serves: 2
1 Cup rice
1/4th cup or more sliced Cashew nuts
Juice of a Lemon
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp Chilly powder (optional)
A pinch of turmeric
1 tbsp. Oil
Salt to taste.
Cook rice by drain method or alternatively in a saucepan add 2 cups of water bring to a boil, once water evaporates cover and simmer for 10 min.
 Heat oil in a wok on medium heat, add sliced Cashew nuts sauté till golden brown remove and keep aside. Add cumin seeds to the oil allow sizzling.
Stir in the rice, chilly powder, turmeric and salt to taste turn off the heat or reduce heat.
Mix lemon juice and Cashew nuts and Serve!

Lemon and Cashew nut Rice
Lemon and Cashew nut Rice

Precooked rice can also be used.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Simplygreat Health and Lifestyle campaign launch and expert tips on long-term healthy life style

SimplyGreat invited me  for the Launch of Simplygreat health and Life style campaign. So I spent Tuesday morning in the ME hotel, Radio roof top overlooking the beautiful central London views. I have written before about SimplyGreat Juice. Yummy Canapés and Delicious mocktails made with simplygreat juices kept flowing. Olympian Victoria Pendleton and Dr.Christian Jessen along with personal trainer Charlene Hutsebaut, nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed and behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings  all came together to launch the be simply great  8-week challenge to help form new habits for long-term healthy life style.

Simply Great Health and Lifestyle Campaign Launch, Dr.Christian Jessen
Simply Great Health and Lifestyle Campaign Launch

 What inspired me to write this post was meeting the panel and their expert tips. Pilate instructor, Charlene made me and the other bloggers I met, do some simple exercises. One which I recommend you try, observe your posture, erect your back; what did you experience? Did you feel your ab muscles clenching. With the same posture stand on one leg, your ab muscles clench as if you were wearing a tight corset and practicing this simple corset exercise can make a lot of difference she added. Imagine doing that and a few more exercises every day for a few minutes. It sounds manageable and achievable, doesn’t it?  Details have been listed on the 8 week challenge notes. See the expert tips below.

If you want to have a go and see if these little things can make any difference than try the 8 week challenge with them to be simply great.

The be simply great campaign has hit the nail, as most of us today are impatient and are always on the lookout for instant results.  Everyone on the panel agrees on starting well before and taking small steps at a time, to see any long term results and stress on asking yourself if what I am doing is sustainable ? And I can’t agree more with them

Monday, 9 June 2014

Green Rice/ Coriander rice

Green Rice/ Coriander rice
Green Rice with Aloo Gobi
Green Rice

Rice cooked with a blend of fresh green ingredients like coriander. Serve with your choice of curry, lentils or vegetable dish.

Green Rice/ Coriander Rice
Green Rice
I am obsessed with coriander; if you read my posts I add coriander to everything. But the urge of adding coriander to every dish does not stop at garnishing. It tastes way better cooked than garnished. And so I am posting one of my favorite recipes and my mom’s signature rice dish ‘Green Rice’.
I promise you will love it!

Serves: 4

1 Cup Basmati Rice
1 small bunch coriander
1 tomato
1 green chilly
2 cloves garlic
A tiny piece of Ginger
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. oil

     1.  Rinse rice and keep aside.
     2.  Blend coriander, ginger, garlic, chilly, tomato, to a fine paste( add  2 tbsp. of water if needed).
Blend above ingredients

Green paste masala

      3. In a pot, heat about 2 tbsp. of oil, add  green paste  masala cover and cook for 5 min (allow all the water to evaporate) , then sauté  every  min to cook the masala.
Saute masala

       4. Once cooked, add cumin seeds, coriander powder, drained rice, salt to taste and sauté.

Add rice and spices
       5.   Add 1 and a ½ cup water, stir. Cover and bring to a boil, once water evaporates, cover and simmer for 8 min or until cooked.
       6.  Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve!
 I am serving mine with aloo Gobi but its tastes great on its own or even better with amti/daal.
Green Rice with Aloo Gobi

     1.The key to making it is sautéing the masala really well.
     2. I use a coffee mug to measure my rice and the quantity may vary.
     3.For every mug of rice I use 1 and a half cup water as I am looking for well separated rice ( moisture from coriander and the added oil also helps, so a little less water than usual).