Instant Pot Rajma (Kidney Beans)

I feel like almost every culture has their version of beans and rice.  There’s the Latin style with adobo seasoning, the African style flavored with smoked paprika and garlic, Creoles use the “holy trinity” for theirs, Jamaican red beans and rice have coconut milk and scotch bonnet peppers, the Japanese use Adzuki beans with their rice, and the Indians have Rajma Chawal.

Why are red beans and rice so common everywhere?

I don’t know.  But what I do know is they make a complete protein when eaten together so it’s really beneficial to vegetarians and vegans who don’t get their complete proteins from animal protein to feel full.

I never thought Rajma was all that special until my friend Sumit made it one day.  He makes the most amazing Rajma so I never bothered to learn because I could just call him up!  But now he’s moved to a different state and it’s not as readily available so I have tried and tried and tried to perfect my Rajma.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this classic dish of Rajma!

Samosa Puffs

Every Indian household is sure to have samosas for any occasion.  Whether we were visiting relatives or friends, at a wedding, holidays, celebrations of any kind…. well, you get the point!  Samosas everywhere.  When I went off to college, my mom used to make dozens and dozens and put them in large zip top bags that I would freeze and microwave them as I was in the mood for them.

My roommates and friends at college also benefited.  There were many nights sitting in our common room studying over samosas, sharing heartbreaks or girl talk or just hanging out.

These samosa puffs are a fun twist to the traditional samosas that are usually filled in a cone made of freshly  kneaded dough.  The girls had fun with the flaky pastry and loved that I kept the filling with the traditional potatoes and peas that they are used to.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Samosa Puffs!

Methi Thepla

Growing up in a Gujarati household, anywhere we went, you were guaranteed to have theplas packed.  Whether we were traveling by car, plane, train, pretty much any vehicle, Mom would always have a foil packet filled with theplas.  I would always get annoyed that we would be the family opening a packet of “Indian smelling food” but guess what…. I am my mother now.  Quick to make, easy to pack, not much fuss and muss associated with them, and filled with nutrition, they are the perfect snack or meal to have.

Easy to eat anywhere on the go, similar to a thin tortilla, theplas are made by adding fenugreek leaves (methi) to the dough before kneading it.  Instead of water, this dough uses yogurt as a binder making it a healthy and delicious meal or snack.

Fenugreek leaves are an under appreciated green that I have not seen outside of Indian food culture.  Some of the healthy benefits they provide are:

  • lowering blood sugar
  • reducing cholesterol levels
  • reducing inflammation
  • increasing milk production for nursing mothers
  • help with appetite control

Adding in the yogurt to knead the dough helps provide calcium and protein.  I use a multi grain flour to make these and between that, the yogurt, and the fenugreek leaves, 3 of the food groups are already incorporated into these theplas!

Added benefit, “roti” and yogurt is one of the girls’ favorite meals so it’s easy to sneak in different veggies and they’ll gobble it up.

Try out these methi theplas at home and I hope you like them as much as we do!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

15 minute Masala Pasta

*This is an ad post.

All I can say is that things are getting crazier!  My first born is starting Kindergarten tomorrow and though it’s going to be different because she’s going to be upstairs in her room instead of at a new school with new friends, I’m still an emotional wreck!  I just can’t believe she’s grown so much!  Where’s my baby that I brought home from the hospital?  I have a 5 year old now!
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Let’s talk food so I don’t have to think about that… for now.  This dish actually does take 15 minutes to make.  No joke.  How?  Because I use Taste Republic‘s gluten free, fresh fusili pasta.  The more I try their fresh pastas, the more I’m loving them.  So far, the cauliflower linguini, tortellini, and now the fusili have been on point!  Even better, because it is fresh pasta, it takes 3 minutes to cook!
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Once upon a time, the girls would eat nothing but red sauce with their pasta.  Then it went to green (pesto).  Then brown butter.  We are now back to the red sauce which I am thankful for because this masala pasta uses marinara sauce combined with spices to give it an Indian twist.
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Here are some ingredients that are key to this pasta:

Taste Republic Gluten Free Fusili – fresh pasta that is great with taste and time!
Frozen Mixed Vegetables – this is my first hack to make this dish in under 15 minutes.
Favorite Marinara Sauce – I use whatever jar I have opened in my fridge and it works perfect
Indian spices: cayenne pepper, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder – this give the pasta additional depth of flavor. Add just enough to give it a hint not take over the dish!

This fusion dish is amazing because of the mix of flavors and how quickly you can put it together.  Try it out and bring a little of India and a little of Italy to your home.
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From our kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this 15 Minute Masala Pasta!

Baingan Bharta (Punjabi Eggplant)

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that growing up I was not an eggplant fan.  So why am I posting 2 recipes (Baba Ghanouj and this one) with eggplant within a month?  They became a part of my adult life and I learned what I was missing out on.
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I’m not sure about the timeline but I do remember maybe a few months after I got married, we had gone down to see my in-laws for the weekend.  Mom had made baingan bharta and I was trying to be nice so I ate it without telling her I was not a big fan of eggplant.  It was ingrained in me since I was a kid that you ate what you got, especially at someone else’s house without a fuss.  Man am I thankful for that specific rule!
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Though I took maybe only about a tablespoon’s worth (and spread it out so my MIL wouldn’t notice – yep…. totally resorting to childhood antics), baingan bharta became a new favorite of mine.  Since then, I have tried it at various restaurants and at home but nothing compares to the way my MIL makes it.  This recipe is hers and I’m excited to share it.
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Notes:
Try to pick eggplants with fewer seeds as this will give you more flesh and will be less bitter.  Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds and to tell the difference, at the bottom of the eggplant, there will be an indentation.  If it is deep and shaped like a dash, the eggplant is female, if it is shallow and round, it is a male.
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If you do end up with an eggplant with more seeds, after roasting the eggplant, don’t skin it right away.  Let the eggplants sit on a tray and continue steaming to soften the seeds.
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You can store the roasted eggplant in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

From my Mother-in-Law’s kitchen to yours, we hope you enjoy this one!