Sunday, February 07, 2010

Kidney Bean Pulao, Chicken with Nigella Seeds and Eggplant Raita

Aside from the the very few times we had people over for dinner, everything I have cooked in the past 4 months has been hurriedly put together, often boring and completely uninspired. I have not heard a single complaint. Not one. Did I ever mention that DH is a *very* patient man?

Everyone expected I'd get my groove back eventually. Because they know I'm happiest when pottering around my kitchen. My only condition is that I be left alone.
I haven't put a lot of thought into planning this meal or worried about whether or not all the different flavors will compliment each other. 

It doesn't matter. It's special because it's the first time in a long time that I'm thinking about food with some renewed passion. Which is a good thing.

Thinking about food & making it for people I love makes me happy.

The recipe for the Kidney Bean Pulao is inspired by and adapted from an Indian Chickpea Pulao recipe from Recipezaar. The chicken recipe is one of thousands I've picked up from cooking shows and no longer remember the source.

Kidney Bean Pulao 

1 can Kidney beans (you can go ahead and use 1 cup dry beans, soak  overnight & boil them the next day. I chose the shortcut since I was making this in a hurry)
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked 15 mins
2 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
2 onions, sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2-3 whole green chilies, stalks removed

Heat oil over medium heat. 
Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Allow them to crackle and splutter for about a minute and then add the onions. 
Fry till the onions turn brown. 
While the onions are frying, start cooking the rice in 3 cups of water and add 1 tsp salt. Bring water to the boil, add rice and salt, stir once and then cover and cook on low for 12 minutes.

Add the chopped tomato to the onion mixture and stir fry 1-2 minutes. 
Except for the salt, add remaining spices along with a splash of water, and stir fry for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat or until the tomatoes are pulpy and the oil separates. 
Add the chickpeas salt, as well as the lemon juice. Mix well. 
Turn the heat to low. 
Layer the freshly boiled rice on top, sprinkle with chopped coriander, add the green chilies on top. 
Cover and turn off heat. 
Let sit for 5 mins before removing cover, mix well and serve. 

Chicken with Nigella Seeds

1 kg boneless chicken, cubed. 
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
2-3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp Nigella seeds
Fresh coriander, 2 tbsp, chopped
Whole green chillies,stalks removed, 3-4
Heat oil in a medium pan. 
Add the ginger garlic paste. Stir fry till fragrant (about 1 min) and then add the chicken. 
Stir-fry the chicken till it changes in color, then add the tomatoes, sauce and all the spices. 
Mix well, cook over high heat for 1 min and then lower flame and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked and the oil has begun to separate from the gravy. 
Add coriander & green chillies, cover and turn off the heat. 
Let the flavor from the coriander and chillies infuse for a couple of minutes before serving. 

Eggplant Raita

1/2 Kg Eggplant, or about 1 large eggplant
1 1/2 cups of yogurt, whipped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 green chillies, chopped (optional - skip if you don't want the heat)
4-5 mint leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp 'chaat masala' (optional again, but I wouldn't skip if I were you)
4 tbsp flour
oil for frying.
Cut eggplant into thin, round slices. 
Dip slices in flour, shake off excess. 
Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry eggplant slices till light brown on both sides. 
Remove with slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
Let cool. 

Meanwhile, add 1-2 tsp of water to the yogurt to give it a thinner consistency. Add salt to taste as well as green chillies, mint and garlic. Mix well. 

Arrange the eggplant slices in a small serving dish. 
Spoon yogurt mixture all over the slices, making sure to cover them all. 
Sprinkle with Chaat masala. 

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