Rice and Beans: not quite Mujadara

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I made this last night, second time in quick succession because it is much appreciated by the family. My vague intention was to document it here after a pretty long hiatus from this site.

I woke up this morning to find this message from our globetrotting model sprite:

Hello!!!! I am staying with family in Bristol and guess what my go-to website is for recipes to make them….IZZY HAVE YOU EATEN!! Please update it more, I love it so so much your recipes are amazing and so easy to follow! How is LA life? Missing u xxxoxooxxx

Well, such an enthusiastic message has gotten me off my rear end and here is that recipe I was contemplating.  It is so completely easy, but really tasty and a great side dish to go with a protein or else for a vegan or vegetarian, it is good with something like a saucy eggplant dish.

  • 2 cups cooked rice, white or brown
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil, I use Rice Bran oil
  • handful of toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • handful of soaked and drained currants (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and when hot, add all the powdered spices except the cinnamon.
  2. Add the onion and when the pieces have softened, lower the heat and cook further till brown and well coated with spices; all up about ten minutes.
  3. Place the warm rice in a serving bowl.
  4. Add the other ingredients into the bowl: walnuts, currants, beans, cinnamon.
  5. Add the hot spiced onion mixture with the rice and beans and stir well. Add salt to taste and if you like, you can add some chopped parsley for colour.

 

 

Happy 2015! Let’s record that eggplant recipe.

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Beautifully wrapped hand made chocolates

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Christmas cookies!

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Gingerbread

Happy 2015!  How special to have had Christmas with both you girls home.  I loved the hand made theme of presents SO MUCH! You two are such creative souls ; from hand sewn donuts (don’t ask, readers!) to scented chocolates, intricate necklaces and boxes of spicy chai, and the worlds best Martha Stewart gingerbread to even a coconut and coffee scrub! Too clever by half! IMG_1194

Extended lazy days, and very late nights, music playing, long conversations, friends dropping by, endless cups of tea, and shared cooking. My idea of holidays at home. Thank you both for being here and making it so memorable.

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Summer days

 

A while ago when we had a lovely family over for lunch, I made an eggplant dish which is reminiscent of one your Nanna cooks. Let’s just say it is one of those dishes which lingers in your memory. Sweet and sour, and thick and yummy. I promised to send this family the recipe, but had to make the dish again to record carefully all the ingredients and steps which I’ve never written down before.

Now, I’ll admit that this does not fit the category of recipes I usually send you girls. Namely: straightforward to make, quick and relatively healthy. Somehow though, I know you’ll both get around to making this yourselves despite the fairly long winded process because you know just how worth while it is.  Nanna serves this eggplant dish with rice and meat dishes, but always has a fresh cucumber sambal or raitha too. When our friends came to lunch, I served it alongside Ottogenhi’s pasta with yogurt and pea sauce. Unusual, but it somehow worked itself out to be a fantastic combination.

Eggplant Curry

  • 4 firm and large purple eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • six cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves if you have it
  • 1 large bombay onion
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons cummin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 1 tub tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying

Method:

  1. Chop up eggplants into pieces about finger length and double finger length in thickness.
  2. Mix the chopped eggplant with the turmeric and salt cover and set aside for a few hours.
  3. Meanwhile,  mix together the tamarind paste, the chilli powder, white vinegar, sugar and tomato paste with a cup of water. Set aside.
  4. Press the juice out of the eggplant pieces between paper towels.
  5. Heat  two tablespoons of olive oil in a large wok or casserole pan.
  6. Fry batches of the eggplant pieces until golden and soft. Drain on paper towels.
  7. When all the eggplant has been cooked, heat the pan again with two more tablespoons of oil.
  8. Throw in the curry leaves and mustard seeds.
  9. When the seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds, onion. ginger and garlic and stir.
  10. Add the eggplant.
  11. Now add the prepared sauce and stir well.
  12. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  13. Adjust seasoning according to your taste: more vinegar for sourness, more sugar for sweetness. And of course more chilli powder for heat.
  14. The end result should be a yummy, thick dish, with no runny sauce. The eggplant should be very tender.
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Salt and turmeric first up.

 

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Tomato and tamarind pastes to make the sauce

 

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Frying up the eggplant

 

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Fresh curry leaves, ginger and onion

 

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Sweet and sour eggplant curry