Saturday, December 7, 2019

Rajma Masala - Red Kidney Beans in a Spicy Gravy

My dear grand children, nephews and niece have all grown up now and are scattered all over the globe each following his/her own path of life. They always shared a very close bond with me. We loved to watch movies, share stories, cook together or eat out and fool around in general during their childhood days. Now that they are all far far away chats and video calls when time permits keep our strong bonding intact. Chitra Amma's Kitchen is playing a vital role in this regard. I am touched when they tell me how the dish they prepared following a recipe in the blog turned out so good. One of them called up to remind me after lot of searching that I had not posted the recipe of Rajma Masala. Here comes your favourite Rajma Masala dear A ! Enjoy!

Rajma / Red kidney beans - 2 cups ( Soaked overnight)
Onion - 1 big ( Chopped)
Fresh ginger - One fat 2'' piece ( Peeled and chopped)
Garlic  - 6 segments ( Peeled and chopped)
Medium size Tomatoes ( Red, ripe and juicy ) - 6 ( Chopped and blended)
Cooking oil - 3 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 2  one inch pieces
Cardamom - 4
Cloves - 6
Chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder / Dania powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
1. Drain the soaked Rajma , add 6 cups of fresh water, one small piece of cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pressure cook until three whistles.

2. Blend the chopped onion, ginger and garlic together into a smooth paste.
3. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds followed by Cinnamon, Cardamom and Cloves.
4. When the spices are fried giving out a very pleasant aroma add the onion paste.
5. Keep stirring till the raw smell disappears and the paste is well fried.
6. Add Chilly powder and Dania powder and stir well. ( I added 1 1/2 tsps of my Sambar powder)
7. Stir in the tomato juice and let it cook till it thickens and the oil seeps out.

8. Blend a table spoon of cooked Rajma into a paste.
8. Retain the water and add only the rest of the Rajma , the Rajma paste and salt  into the masala and stir well .
9. Finally add the retained water (in which Rajma was cooked) and let it cook on medium flame till all the flavours blend well.
10. When the gravy reaches the required consistency switch off flame and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Enjoy the Rajma Masala with steaming hot rotis or steaming hot rice.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Pudina Tokku - Mint Leaves Relish

South Indian kitchens were always armed with huge jars of Pickles and Relishes to last for an entire year. In my younger days I could not relish even Sambar and rice without a Pickle or Tokku on the side. Some times the 'side' became the 'main' when I decided to enjoy Pickle or Tokku  mixed with rice! Times have changed. The huge Pickle Jars of ancient days have become show pieces of antique value. Umpteen varieties of Pickles and Tokkus are available in various food stores. Once when I came across a store bought Pudina Tokku bottle at a friend's place I could not contain the urge to prepare it immediately!

 Mint leaves / Pudina - 1 big bunch
Tamarind  - A small plum size ball ( Soaked in little warm water )
Salt - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 6 ( Broken )
Jaggery - A small plum size piece
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp ( Dry roasted and powdered )
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 3 tbsps
1. Wash the mint leaves thoroughly retaining only the tender stalks.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and fry the red chillies till they turn crisp.
3. Add the mint leaves and keep stirring till the leaves wilt and then switch off flame.

4. Grind the fried red chillies, mint leaves, soaked tamarind and salt together into a smooth paste adding little water if required.
5. Heat the remaining sesame oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds.
6. Add asafoetida and turmeric powder followed by the ground mint paste.
7. Add jaggery and cook on low flame stirring all the time.
8. When the Tokku thickens and the oil comes out, mix in the roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds.
Allow it to cool down and store the Pudina Tokku in a clean dry jar.  Stays fresh for a longer period of time when refrigerated.

Enjoy any meal with Pudina Tokku on the side. Or enjoy Pudina Tokku Rice by mixing half a teaspoon of Tokku with one cup of steaming hot rice.