Sunday, 20 June 2010

Mixed Bean Rice

This is probably not the first time you hear about my spin on how vegetarian diet is not known for its protein content. As there is hardly any vegetable or bean or any legume that is complete withal essential amino acids (protein required by body), it is worth taking extra time thinking of ways to improve protein intake. Consuming a wide variety of crops like pulses, lentils, legumes and if you are eggatarian, eggs, can help you provide required protein. For this reason I try to take some dal everyday. And it is again for the same reason that I tried bean rice. I came across different recipes and tried few but was not pleased with any of them. I finally managed to figure out what I was looking for and came up with this recipe so that the otherwise bland beans could get great flavours, taste and aroma. Here is my simple recipe...

1 cup rice

1 bay leaf and cinnamon stick

1 red onion

1 garlic

3 cloves

2 cardamom pods

2-3 cups cooked beans (I used Channa aka chickpea, Pinto beans, Red kidney beans, Broad beans)

2-3 potatoes boiled and cubed

1 cup tomato puree (I just used my hand mixie to puree fresh tomatoes)

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

3-4 dry red chillies (increase or decrease as per taste)

2 teaspoons coconut powder or grated coconut

Salt to taste

Cooking oil and some ghee

In a skillet or wok, add little over 1teaspoon of ghee (can be replaced with oil). Add the whole spices (cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon). While the spices heat up, rinse the rice and drain the water. Add the rice to the spices and fry the rice until all moisture is absorbed. Usually the rice turns bright white at this stage. Be careful not to break the grains, try using wooden spatula.

Cook this rice the way you prefer. I pressure cooked with equal amount of water. Allow the rice to cool later as this will help the grains separate.

In the meantime, grind the garlic, red chillies and coconut powder and make a paste out of it.

In the wok, add a tablespoon oil and add thinly sliced onions and fry.

Add the tomato puree and turmeric powder. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the cooked beans (I used frozen broad beans to introduce something green. I boiled it in water for 5 minutes or so. For other beans, follow usual method of soaking for 8-12 hours and cooking)

Add the ground paste,potatoes and simmer.Season with salt.

Cook until it thickens to ensure it does not make the rice watery when mixed.

Add rice and mix well, again be careful not to break the grains.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve.

As I always say, when using beans that need to be soaked, rinse few times thoroughly before soaking. Also do not cook the beans in same water it soaked in. I added potatoes just to make the dish more attractive as I know potatoes are so loved. As we are having the rice cook with the whole spices, the flavours and aroma comes out great. You may notice that I have used one whole garlic so it is garlicky! Feel free to reduce the quantity if you wish.

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