Thursday, December 4, 2008

Delicious, Healthy & Meatless!

My friend Nicole first introduced me to Sunset magazine recipes. Who knew they were so good?! I have been making this recipe for Curried Red Kidney Beans and Cauliflower on a regular basis ever since I saw it in the magazine. It's good for you and packed with flavor. And now that I'm trying to do at least one meatless day per week, this is a fabulous option for a satisfying meal. The recipe takes a little prep-work but once you're ready to roll it goes fast and then simmers for 20 minutes. It makes a huge batch so there's tons of leftovers. I made it tonight and can't wait for lunch tomorrow!
* The list of ingredients looks long but it's predominantly spices. You can get most of them in the bulk foods herb section at Whole Foods. I only buy enough for one or two preparations so they're always fresh. Whole Foods also carries green cardamom pods which can be hard to find.

Curried Red Kidney Beans and Cauliflower (Rajma Masala)

Red kidney beans are very nutritious. They are, however, harder to digest than other beans, which is why they're traditionally cooked with seasonings that help break them down, such as ginger. Use spices that are as fresh as possible--their health benefits, let alone their flavors, will be more potent that way. Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour. Notes: Garam masala is a mixture of warming spices; find it at Indian grocery stores or gourmet groceries.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick (2-in.)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 green cardamom pods, cracked open
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 can (14.5-oz.) whole peeled plum tomatoes, without juice (I use the juice too)
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tsp. salt
6 cups cooked red kidney beans (roughly 3 cans, maybe 4), rinsed and drained
1/2 - 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2- to 1-in. florets
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped
6 to 8 cups hot cooked brown rice
1. Prepare brown rice according to instructions on package.
2. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed 4- to 5-qt. pot or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and fry, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Stir in cinnamon, bay leaf, garlic, ginger, fennel, cumin, and cardamom and fry, stirring, 2 minutes. Add cayenne, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala and fry, stirring, 1 minute. Shred tomatoes into pot with your fingers. Stir in serrano chile, salt, kidney beans, cauliflower, and 1 1/2 cups water. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and liquid has thickened into a velvety-looking sauce (add more water if necessary).
3. Season beans with salt. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve hot over brown rice, with plain yogurt on the side if you like.

Makes 6-8 servings

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