Sunday, January 4, 2009

Magic Beans - Rajma

Do you believe in destiny? The protagonist in this year's sleeper hit movie "Slumdog Millionaire" certainly does. How refreshing!

Y'know dear readers, it's so easy to become cynical in this world. Maybe it's a New York thing. Even when something good falls into my lap, I'll often have one of two immediate reactions: a) be a total skeptic and look for the "catch", OR b) get paranoid about losing it and hoard the good news all to myself till I'm 200% sure that no one will take it away from me! And Lord help the stranger who does something really sweet for me, for no reason! Pffffffffshhhh. My sick mind will instantly either go for "huh, what the hell's wrong with this person?!" or "walk away walk away ignore ignore ignore". *sigh* ah me.

There is good news though. My brain may be very slow to trust (because isn't that what it all boils down to?), BUT my heart can often kick-start it into action. I've learnt to give most people and situations the benefit of the doubt. And believe me, life is sooooooooo much less stressful that way! Now when good things happen, I celebrate them. When a person shows me some kindness, I smile at them graciously. And above all, I thank the Big Guy above for all my blessings!
It wasn't easy watching this movie "Slumdog Millionaire" the other day (go check it out because it's definitely playing in some theater near you). I get really queasy during uncomfortable scenes. Almost nauseous - but I made myself watch this (am I a glutton for punishment? Possibly. But that's a thought for another day!). It was tough to see people, especially kids, go through such hardship and cruel circumstances, and so emotional to see them emerge on the other side with a decent heart and strong hopes. We all hear about the American Dream. Well, this was a depiction of the Mumbai Dream.

So here's to humble beginnings and being thankful for all the good that comes your way! Rajma is a great dish that really exemplifies this. What could be a humbler ingredient than plain 'ol beans? The beauty of this dish lies in the simple and quick preparation, which results in some serious soulful, clutch-the-plate-to-your-heart-and-punch-the-air-with-your-fist flavor! This is a personal favorite of mine, so hope you enjoy it.Rajma (inspired by Mona's delicious recipe on her fabulous blog
Serves 2

2 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 can red kidney beans
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
6-8 tbsp coconut milk (thick)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
8-10 fresh curry leaves

1. Warm up the oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat.
2. Throw in the sliced onions and saute till golden.
3. Add the green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
4. Chuck the tomatoes in there and let them soften for 2 minutes.
5. Then add in the kidney beans (drained of all the liquid that was in the can), salt, garam masala, red chilli powder and half of the coconut milk. Stir gently to mix, then put the lid on and let it simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
6. Take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium and stir in the rest of the coconut milk. Mash some of the softened beans with the back of your spoon (this releases their starch into the gravy, making it thicker).
7. Throw in the curry leaves (mush them a little between your fingers first), check for salt and if it is coconut-y enough for your taste. Stir, then put the lid back on for another 5 mins. After that, turn off the heat because it's done! I love this with plain white rice, but I won't say "no" to parathas either.


Anonymous said...

: )
Pretty nice work. Just to add a side to SD.Millionaire's view of mine: While I was watching the movie, I was very much impressed in the way the director brought out the Mumbai life's beauty. There is lot more life, variety even in slums. Putting aside the hardships of slums, it was an immediate relief when I found kids and their energy.

Life is beautiful everywhere.


Olga said...

I just saw this movie a few days ago: really liked it, but you are right: it was hard to watch!

I have never thought about putting kidney beans and coconut milk together, but it definitely sounds good!

Anonymous said...

this looks sooo perfect. Is there any substitute for curry leaves just in case I am unable to find any?

Roumopod said...

Now that You have mentioned it, i l have to try rajma as well.
u liked slumdog millionaire?? i loved
i too was so happy to come across a Pakistani female blogger who is actually likes living, and particularly, rich living. Seriously. And you know, I stumbled across your site i.e. through stumble upon. about my blog, i don't write much, and yours is heading in a proper direction, with a motive in mind.I didn't know what to write about. I still don't know what to write about.
But I like following blogs that are well written, like yours.
and I love the pictures you put up. That makes following the steps very easy.
take care, keep cookin' and happy living.

Muneeba said...

Parimi, totally agree with you on the variety & beauty of life even in the slums. That's why this movie is important - everyone needs to be aware of such realities, and not just ignore them.
Olga, I know it sounds strange, but that coconut milk is the secret star of this dish ;)
Anonymous, unfortunately there is no substitute for those fragrant curry leaves. You can try the recipe without it though, but if you are anywhere near an indian grocery store, they will be available.
Ophiuchus, your best wishes are always welcome! And blogging is so personal - if your blog makes YOU happy, then that's all that really matters :)

Anonymous said...

I too loved the movie. It was very well directed. I liked the way the story develops with every question. I must say thats Mumbai, where the rich and the poor live parallel to each other.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I was delighted when I discovered it on Tastespotting recently because just about everything you post appeals to me. Like this! Mmm rajma, I can't resist.

Muneeba said...

Thks for the kind words, Lauren! Tastespotting rocks ;)

Anonymous said...

MOOOOM! Get off Api's blog! I know mom's gonna want to start one now too. Look what you've done!

Lori said...

Oh so delicious sounding... must try it.