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!
Set Instant Pot to saute mode and add oil. When it's heated, add in cumin seeds, hing, and cinnamon stick. Let them roast and sizzle for 30-60 seconds.
Add in the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add in the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
When the onions are golden brown, add in tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well and cook for another 3 minutes.
Drain the soaked rajma and add to the pot. Mix well to coat all of the beans in the gravy.
Add in the water and mix.
Turn off the saute mode and cover the instant pot with the vent in sealing position.
Set to Bean/Chili mode which will automatically set the time to 30 minutes.
When the timer beeps, release the pressure from the instant pot and open lid. Stir in the lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.
Serve hot with rice or naan.
For Stovetop instructions:
Follow the same recipe above and cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles.
For Slow Cooker instructions:
Kidney Beans have a natural toxin called phytohaemagglutinin which is hard to digest and may cause nausea/vomiting. If you don't presoak the beans, then I recommend not using the slow cooker method to cook rajma. If you do presoak the beans, then:
Boil the presoaked kidney beans for 20 minutes, then follow the same recipe above. Set heat to high and cook for 5-6 hours.
** If you don't have time to soak the beans overnight, increase instant pot cook time to 45 minutes ** the amount of water I used gives this rajma a thicker gravy. If you are looking to have a more soupy rajma, add an additional 1/2 c of water.
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!
Servings: 10 samosa puffs
10 sheets of square pastry sheets
2 large potatoes, peeled, boiled, and crumbled (not mashed)
Heat a nonstick pan on medium flame, and add oil to it.
Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle.
Add in the ginger and Serrano pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
Add in the peas and cook them for 2-3 minutes.
When the peas have a bright green color to them, add in the chaat masala, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, and fennel powder. Mix well and let the spices cook for an additional 30 seconds to bloom them and release the flavors.
Finally, add in the boiled, crumbled potatoes and salt and mix well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In each pastry square, fill about 1-2 Tbsp of filling in the center.
Brush the edges with milk and seal tightly. If needed, use a fork to seal the pastry.
Repeat until all the puff pastry sheets are filled.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Brush the Samosa Puffs with more milk on the outside to give it a crisp surface while it bakes.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the pastry has cooked through.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with your favorite chutneys!
** If you don't have chaat masala or aamchur powder, you can replace it with equal amounts of lemon juice
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
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!
Servings: 25 theplas
2 c whole wheat flour, plus a little extra to roll the theplas out
1 c yogurt
1 c methi (fenugreek) leaves, frozen or fresh and chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to spice level)
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil, plus a little extra for cooking
In a large bowl, add the flour, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, cayenne pepper, hing, and salt. Mix well.
Add in the yogurt and knead to form a soft dough. If the dough seems a little tough, add a Tbsp of water at a time to soften it up.
Once kneaded, add 1 Tbsp oil to coat the dough.
Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 20-25 equal portions.
Dust the thepla dough in flour and roll them out into thin circles to approximately 6 inches in diameter. As you roll them out, you can keep dusting the dough in dry flour to prevent sticking when rolling them out.
Heat a skillet on high heat and place the rolled out dough on the skillet. After a few seconds you will notice small air pockets popping out. At this point flip the methi thepla and smear a little oil over the top and using a flat spatula, press lightly in a turning motion to cook the thepla.
Flip the thepla to the other side and press and turn in a similar way. You will notice brown spots around the cooked thepla. Remove from heat and place on a plate.
Continue this process until all the theplas are cooked.
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!
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!
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.
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.
From our kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this 15 Minute Masala Pasta!
30 minute Masala Pasta
1 9oz package Taste Republic gluten free fusili
1 med onion, chopped finely
1 bell pepper, chopped finely
¼ c frozen mixed veggies
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (about 1½ pounds) your favorite pasta sauce
¼ tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
¼ tsp haldi (turmeric)
½ tsp lal mirch (cayenne pepper)
¾ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp Avocado (or Olive) Oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a sauce pot, heat oil on medium flame. Add in the carom seeds.
When they splutter, add in the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Add in garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
Add in the turmeric, and let it bloom for about 30 seconds.
Once the turmeric has mixed in well, add in all the veggies. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are tender.
Add in the rest of the spices and mix well.
While the veggies continue to cook, add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.
Transfer them directly to the pasta sauce when cooked. Toss gently so all the pasta is coated in the sauce.
Remove from heat and serve hot with garlic naan or garlic bread.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Baingan Bharta (Punjabi Eggplant)
Servings: 4-6 people
4 large eggplants, roasted, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large onions, diced
3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
2 Serrano peppers, sliced lengthwise into quarters (adjust to spice level)
3 oz tomato paste
2 Tbsp curry leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to spice level)
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
In a large, heavy bottom skillet, heat oil over medium flame. Add in cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter
Add in the onions, serranos and curry leaves and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often
The onions should turn translucent and the oil should start separating from them
Add in the coriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes to let the spices blend in
Add in half the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes
Add in the other half of the chopped tomatoes and the tomato sauce and mix well.
Add in the salt and mix well
Add in the roasted eggplant and mix well. Reduce heat to low flame and cook for another 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally
Crush the kasoori methi between your palm and add in to the bharta. Turn off heat, mix well
Kathi Rolls are a classic Mumbai street food that are similar to a burrito with different types of fillings, such as potatoes, paneer or even chicken. Kathi Rolls are often confused with Frankie Rolls and though they both look similar, there are a few distinguishable differences. Continue reading “Kathi Roll”→