Showing posts with label pinto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pinto. Show all posts

May 15, 2017

Mexican Style Beans (Frijoles)

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Beans are a staple of Mexican cuisine and a favorite element in so many Mexican dishes. This classic recipe for frijoles is easy to make, versatile, vegan, and healthy. Enjoy these beans with warm tortillas, as a filling for burritos, or with rice and rotis as my Indian family does!


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Pinto beans are the most popular bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico. Pinto means speckled or spotted referring to the bean's mottled skin which becomes uniform when cooked. When properly prepared pinto beans have a deliciously creamy texture, mild flavor, and an ability to absorb flavors well. I'm using simi beans which are a local favorite here in Nepal. As you can see in the above photo simi beans are a bit rosier in hue than pinto beans, but their flavor and texture is quite similar.

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A Latina friend in my native California taught me to make these Mexican-style beans or frijoles. Each family has their own unique way of preparing beans with differences in bean variety, the type of pot used, specific seasonings, and method of cooking. Traditionally, an earthenware pot called an olla was used to cook beans. As you can see in the above photo an olla is shaped a lot like the handi used in Indian cooking and serves much the same purpose. I have never seen an olla in use to cook beans in any kitchen Mexican or otherwise. The most common vessel I've seen used to cook beans in both Spanish-speaking and Okie communities is a large heavy-duty aluminum stockpot begotten at the Kmart or the local ACE hardware store. I use my Indian-style pressure cooker to save time.

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I have often read that lard or manteca is the most authentic fat to use in Mexican cooking. In the town where I was raised the cooking fat of choice for Mexican-American families and most other ethnic groups was Crisco. The famed digestible vegetable shortening or manteca vegetal was used for tortillas and tamales as well as pie crusts and fried chicken. I'm not from Butcher Holler but as Loretta Lynn said in the commercial,
"Crisco will do you proud every time." 

Lard was probably the preferred fat before World War II. Possibly the only place to find lard in the 70's and 80's was at a carnicería or Mexican butcher. I've heard lard is making a comeback though. Choose your favorite cooking oil for this recipe. The preferred chilis for Mexican cooking in California are Serranos and their milder cousins, Jalapeños. Spanish-style yellow onions are used exclusively in Mexican cuisine. To soak the beans or not is another choice. Soaking the beans overnight will save you cooking time. I never saw beans soaked in my little community though so I don't soak either. I do use a pressure cooker which does cut down cooking time to about half. My Indian family loves these with rice but you could certainly enjoy them in a more traditional manner atop a tostada, alongside warm tortillas, or as a filling for burritos. Or try them topped with a little queso fresco, chopped tomatoes, and a sprinkle of cilantro as a hearty soup! Off to the recipe:

Ingredients:
2 C dry pinto beans (or dry simi beans)
1-2 TBS cooking oil (scant amount to cover bottom of pot)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 TBS garlic paste or 3 minced garlic cloves
1-3 Jalapeño or Serrano chilis or any green chili you prefer (omit for less heat)
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Sort through dried beans and remove pebbles. Rinse the beans in water in a colander and set aside. Heat oil in a large stock pot or pressure cooker and fry the onion until it softens.

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 2) When onion begins to turn translucent add garlic, chilis, and black pepper to frying onion. Fry for about 2 minutes or until chilis begin to blister and garlic loses it's raw smell. Do not brown the onions!

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3) Add the rinsed beans, 2 teaspoons salt, and enough water to cover the beans by about 3 inches to the pot or pressure cooker. If using stock pot: bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Check on the pot every 15 minutes to make sure there's enough water, add more water from time to time as necessary. Make sure to keep adding water so the pot does not dry out. If using pressure cooker: seal lid on pressure cooker and allow to steam until beans are tender. This takes about 40 to 50 minutes in my Indian-style pressure cooker.

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4) The beans are ready when cooked so soft you can press them through your fingers and skins slip off easily. (Cooking time depends on the age and quality of beans, drier ones will require a longer simmering time.) Traditionally the beans are left a bit soupy so you can dip your tortilla in them or mash them to make frijoles refritos. Salt to taste and retrieve chilis before serving. Serve with warm tortillas or rice and rotis like we eat them. Once cooled the beans will keep for up to one week refrigerator in an airtight container.

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Helpful Hints:
You could certainly use other sorts of beans in this recipe such as black beans, kidney beans, Peruano, Mayocoba, Santa Maria, or Flor de Mayo.

And to all moms out there:


Including moms of furry babies,



Or not so furry babies, 
HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!!!

Jan 18, 2017

Kashmiri Rajma Gogji (Spiced Beans with Turnips)

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In Kashmiri, rajma means beans and gogji means turnips. We're talking true Kashmiri comfort food in this hearty dish of delicately spiced beans and tender turnips. A truly authentic recipe that can easily be made vegetarian or vegan. Pair this traditional dish with heaps of steamed rice for a delicious meal on a chilly day. 

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Turnips or gogji are a favorite Winter treat in Kashmir. The turnips you see in the photo above are grown in our garden from Kashmiri seeds. As temperatures drop in the valley root vegetables become a plentiful Winter staple. I have never seen anyone get so excited about turnips as my Kashmiri family. The Kashmiris have many dishes combining turnips with everything from lotus roots (nadroo) to their beloved mutton. Pairing beans with turnips isn't a combination I would have ever thought of but it works! 

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The dish starts by frying the turnips in salted oil. This is an step many recipes miss. The resulting caramelized salt crust really gives the turnips a bit of extra flavor, texture, and authenticity. The browned turnips are then set aside while a masala base of traditional spices is prepared. A mutton bone is often included in this base for extra flavor. (If you don't have a mutton bone or wish to make this dish vegetarian or vegan just leave it out. There's more than enough flavor in this dish without it.) Then the beans are stewed until soft with the masala making a rich gravy. The fried turnips are then returned to the pot for a final simmer until rendered deliciously tender. Traditional Kashmiri rajma are a tiny variety of kidney beans quite similar to the beans used in the famed Creole dish of red beans and rice. Here I'm using a local Nepali variety of red beans that have a similar rustic flavor and soft texture. Regular kidney beans or pinto beans work well with this dish too. In Kashmir, heaps of steamed rice are served with rajma gogji as well as other Winter dishes like haak maaz(collards with mutton), monji haak (kohlrabi greens), tao mooj (fried daikon radish chutney), and baby potatoes (dum aloo).

Ingredients: 
1&1/2 C dry kidney or pinto beans soaked in 4 cups water with 1 tsp salt for at least 4 hours up to overnight then drained and rinsed (or two 14 oz cans of kidney or pinto beans with liquid)
3 TBS cooking oil or ghee
1/2 C onion, diced
1 mutton bone (optional) 
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste or 1/2 tsp asafoetida/hing
2 brown cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
3 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
4 cloves/laung
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
2 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp dry ginger powder/soonth
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2kg or 1lb turnips, peeled and cut into approximately the same size

Here's what to do: 
1) Peel turnips and mix with 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside. Some liquid will come out of the turnips. Heat oil or ghee in pressure cooker with 1 teaspoon salt or deep, heavy bottomed pot for 7 minutes. 

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2) Rinse salt off turnips and pat dry. Fry turnips in salted oil until browned on all sides. Set fried turnips aside.

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rajma, gogji, shalgam, turnips, turnip, kashmir, kashmiri, beans, kidney, pinto, red, vegan, vegetarian, spicy, indian, authentic, traditional,

3) To the same hot oil add diced onion and mutton bone if using.  Cook for 5-7 minutes or until onions are just turning brown. Add garlic paste or asafoetida to onions and fry for 2 minutes stirring well. Add brown cardamoms, green cardamoms, cloves, and cumin seeds to fried onion mixture. Stir well and fry for 2 minutes.

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4) Add soaked or canned beans, ground fennel, Kashmiri mirch, dry ginger powder, and turmeric to fried onion and spice mixture. Add enough water so that beans are covered by 2 inches of liquid in pot. If using pressure cooker and soaked beans: seal lid and allow to steam until beans are tender. If using pressure cooker and canned beans: seal lid and allow to steam for one whistle. If using soaked beans and stock pot: bring to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, top up water if necessary. If using stock pot and canned beans: allow to simmer covered for about 20 minutes stirring frequently.

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5) When beans are tender add fried turnips to them. Allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes or until turnips are cooked through. Add 1/2 cup water if liquid gets too low or mixture begins to stick or scorch. For a thicker gravy take a large spoon and smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. The dish is done when turnips and beans are to cooked to desired tenderness. Salt to taste, garnish as desired and serve with mounds and mounds of steamed rice!

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May 18, 2016

Rasedar Rajma (Curried Pinto or Kidney Beans)



"Rasedar" means juicy or saucy and "rajma" means kidney or pinto beans. In this dish simple beans get the masala treatment! Simmered in a savory sauce redolent with traditional Indian spices these beans are spicy but mild in heat. A piquant dash of ajwain and cilantro are the final touches in this protein rich vegetarian recipe that pairs well with rice and rotis or can even be served with saltines like a bowl of American chili.


This delicious recipe is embellished upon and adapted from Neelam Batra's 1998 cookbook The Indian Vegetarian: Simple Recipes for Today's Kitchen. Ms. Batra's book has some great recipes but it is rather meandering in it's instructions and has no photos. I think the lack of photos and poorly written directions kept this book from being as successful as it should have been. So I rewrote this entire recipe, changed a few ingredients, and simplified the steps a bit. As I have written this recipe it should take about thirty minutes to prepare if using canned beans, an hour if cooking dried beans. (If my recipes are unclear in any way please leave me a note in the comments! I want to publish a cookbook of the recipes on my blog for friends and family at the end of the year that will be easily understandable by both novice chefs and experienced cooks alike.)


My family really likes this way of serving rajma, it's a nice change from the usually cumin heavy recipes for curried beans. The dish is spicy but not hot and the ajwain adds a interesting and very uniquely Desi accent to the flavors. If you don't have ajwain a bit of thyme is a good substitute, if you don't have or don't like thyme a pinch of whole cumin seeds will do. You can also make this dish as thick or thin as you like by varying the cooking times. Remember that traditionally thicker curries are served with rotis and flatbreads while soupier curries are preferred when serving with rice.

Ingredients:
2 C dried kidney or pinto beans, or two 15 oz cans of kidney or pinto beans
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, diced finely
1 tsp salt
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds, bruised with mortar and pestle or dried thyme
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
Grind to smooth paste or chop finely and mix for masala:
2 C tomatoes, chopped finely
1/4 C yogurt/dahi
2 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds/methi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Rinse and cook beans with 6C water and 1 tsp salt in stock pot or with 3C in pressure cooker until tender. Leave beans in their cooking liquid while you cook the masala sauce. If using canned beans skip to step 2.

2) Grind or chop finely and mix all ingredients listed under masala until smooth. Set aside.


3) In a heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai heat oil with 1 tsp salt and fry diced onions until just beginning to brown. Add garlic and ginger pastes and fry for 2 minutes.


4) Add mixed masala paste from step 2 and bruised ajwain seeds to fried onion, garlic, and ginger mixture. Stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until oil separates from mixture.


5) Drain 2 cups of liquid from the cooked beans. Stir 1 cup of the cooked bean liquid into the fried masala mixture. Add masala sauce and the reserved cup of cooking liquid from to cooked beans. Bring to simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened to desired consistency. Salt to taste, stir through chopped cilantro if using and serve.


Helpful hints:
If you don't have ajwain a bit of thyme is a good substitute.  If you don't have or don't like thyme a pinch of whole cumin seeds will do.

You can certainly make this dish as thick or thin as you like by varying the cooking times. Remember that traditionally thicker curries are served with rotis and flatbreads while soupier curries are preferred when serving with rice.


Feb 14, 2016

Maharani Rajma (Curried Kidney or Pinto Beans)

indian recipe kidney beans recipe Maharani Rajma curried kidney beans pinto curry Indian easy recipe

In Hindi, maha means great, rani means queen, and rajma means any sort of red bean. So Maharani Rajma means beans fit for a queen! Sumptuously spiced and decadently rich these beans have been given the royal treatment. A typical Mughal inspired dish you'll see on menus in Punjabi restaurants and at special occasions such as weddings. Pairs well with rice, rotis, or naan. Serve garnished with a dollop of heavy cream and a pat of butter.


Ingredients:
2 C kidney or pinto beans/rajma, soaked for at least 12 hours in 6 C water plus 1 tsp salt
(Or you can use two 15 ounce cans of kidney or pinto beans. I won't tell.)
3 TBS cooking oil
1& 1/2 C onion, finely diced
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1TBS ginger/adrak paste
3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
1 tej patta/cassia leaf
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C butter
Grind to smooth paste for masala:
2 C tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 C yoghurt/dahi
1 TBS cumin/jeera, ground
2 tsp coriander/dhania, ground
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dry ginger/adrak
1/2 tsp kasoori methi/dried fenugreek leaves
3 cloves/laung
3 green cardamoms/elaichi
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
1/2 tsp dried mango powder/amchur (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) Drain and rinse presoaked beans. Place rinsed beans in large stock pot with 2 tsp salt and 8 C water, bring to a boil. Allow to simmer over medium heat for an hour to ninety minutes or until beans are tender. If using pressure cooker: combine rinsed beans, 2 tsp salt, and enough water so pressure cooker is at least half full. Seal and allow to cook for 40-45 minutes or until beans are tender. (You can use canned beans and skip this step if you like also.)

Soaked overnight & ready to boil.
2) While beans are cooking grind all ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste. Set aside.

The magnificent mixie grinds the masala!
3) In a large heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai heat cooking oil with diced onions. Fry until onions are just beginning to brown.

Here we go, frying onions AGAIN.
4) Add garlic, ginger, chopped green chilis/hari mirch, cassia bark/dalchini, tej patta/cassia leaf and to onions and fry for 3 minutes.

Fry, baby, fry.
5) Add ground masala paste to mixture in skillet or kadhai, bring to a simmer. Stir frequently, if mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1 TBS water and reduce heat.


Let's get to simmering!
6) Continue stirring and simmering until most of liquid is gone, mixture has thickened, and oil separates from masala. This should take about 10 minutes. This type of stir frying is a technique called "bhuna" (rhymes with tuna) in Subcontinental cuisines.

Masala mixture has thickened and separated from the oil.
7) Add cooked masala mixture, butter, and cream to pot with beans. Add enough water to pot so that beans are covered by at least 2 inches. Stir well, and smash some of the beans against the side of the pot with your spoon. A few smashed beans will help thicken the gravy.  Allow to simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes or until gravy is to preferred consistency adding water if necessary. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:

Canned beans work well in this dish too and will save you a lot of preparation time.
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