Mr. Fuji and I love Indian food. Indian was one of the things I craved with both of my pregnancies, and I was lucky enough never to have problems with heartburn, so I could eat it nice and spicy like I prefer it. In fact, the last meal I ate when I was in labor with Squirrel was a very spicy lamb curry from Moti, our favorite Indian restaurant in Tokyo. There’s something about all of the spices and flavor combinations that just make my taste buds sing. I recently made a red kidney bean curry that the Fujis really enjoyed.
It’s got all of my favorite spices and flavors in it (garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, etc.) and is reminiscent of a good pot of chili (another Fuji family favorite). I served it with fragrant basmati rice. The curry made wonderful leftovers, and Squirrel and I enjoyed having it for lunch for a few days after.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 plum tomato, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large green chili, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 ounce can of tomato sauce or 8 ounces of one of your choice
3 cups boiled red kidney beans or 30 ounces canned red kidney beans, undrained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley, if you’re cilantro-averse)
Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add ginger, garlic, onion, green chili, and let sizzle for one minute. Add the tomato sauce, salt and remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kidney beans with water or canned red kidney beans (undrained) plus one additional cup of water, and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro.
Serve over rice or with naan. A dollop of plain yougurt on top is heavenly.
FM’s Fragrant Basmati Rice
Makes 6 servings
3 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter (helps grains to remain separate and light during cooking)
3 tablespoons fennel seed
1. Put the rice into a large bowl and pour in cold tap water to cover. Swish the grains with your fingers to release starches and to encourage any husks to float to the surface. Pour off the milky water. Wash two or three times until the water runs clear.
2. Soak the rice briefly (15 minutes to an hour). This allows the rice to expand into thin long grains that will not break during cooking. After soaking, drain the rice, saving the soaking water to use as cooking water (this preserves nutrients that seep into the soaking water).
3. Put rice and 4 1/2 cups of water in a large sauce pan (a heavy cooking pan with a tight fitting lid is best for distributing the heat evenly), and bring to a boil. Add salt, olive oil or butter, and fennel. Stir a few times with a wooden spoon. Do not over stir, or you’ll break up the grains.
4. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not stir or disturb the rice as it cooks. Removing the lid will let the steam escape and the rice will cook unevenly.
5. Remove from heat, stir once, cover again, and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes before serving.
* If you are using a rice cooker to cook your rice: After washing and soaking the rice, put the rice, water, salt, olive oil or butter, and fennel into the cooker. Cover and turn on the cooker, cooking according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Coming Sunday: One Good Loaf Returns