05 January 2011
Rajma biryani: rice & beans, Indian style!
It's January, and as always at this time of year, Paris is cold, gray and dreary. Like many of you, I have a big pile of work waiting for me upon returning from the holidays. This combined with irrate fellow commuters on the Metro, a daunting list of new year's resolutions (exercising regularly, going to bed earlier, blah, blah blah!) and knowing that there will be no more sunny vacations for months to come has me feeling kind of down.
For such moments, what is needed from the kitchen is comfort food of course! We all have different ideas of what this is, but for me, nothing is quite as comforting is a good bowl of rice and beans. I find it interesting that a dish consisting of rice and beans is a mainstay in many cuisines, from Cuban to Jamaican to Mexican. We don't exactly have the same thing in Indian cuisine, but my mother makes an incredibly tasty biryani with red (kidney) beans that has that same comfort factor for me . I still turn to it whenever I want something warm, quick and simple. It's a one-dish meal, packed with protein and is perfect for times like these...
RAJMA BIRYANI (adapted from Mom!)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, sliced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon each cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 large tomato or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons plain yogurt, stirred
1 15-ounce can kidney beans (rajma), rinsed and drained
1 cup rice (preferably basmati rice)
2 cups water
Salt to taste
1. In large saucepan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds. When they puff up, add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add spices, tomato, and yogurt and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Add beans, rice, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes (or transfer to a rice cooker) until rice is cooked.
NOTE: This is perfect served with a green vegetable or a salad and some raita on the side.