dinner

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili - This is Rajma!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma!

A while back I was looking for a vegetarian chili recipe and stumbled upon Padma Lakshmi’s, Rajma recipe.  I tried it and loved it!  Love Padma too, big Top Chef fans over here.  This also happens to be the first recipe I made when I decided I was committed to starting a food blog; so I took lots of pictures in my poorly lit kitchen, and got to work, loving each step of the way (even the pictures). This recipe is equally special to me because I am fortunate enough to be using the garam masala and turmeric straight from India.  A longtime family friend, and once neighbor to my grandmother, brought some spices back from his trip.  I am lucky, and thankful, to reap the benefits of his long journey. Thank you, Tom.

Rajma is one of my go-to’s when I want something quick, healthy, and meat free (and one I almost always have all the ingredients on-hand).  I’ve added turmeric to this dish for it’s wonderful health benefits, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, just to name a couple.  I like to serve the Rajma over jasmine rice and accompanied by a piece of naan bread.  If you are looking for a delicious bean dish that is packed with flavor, your search is over…

this is, Rajma:

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Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 ounce can of red kidney beans
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Time to Cook:

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high heat.  When oil is hot add onion and pepper, and sprinkle with salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon), sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add garlic, tomatoes (reserve can with 1/2 cup of water), ginger, cumin seeds, Garam Masala, turmeric, and red pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 10 minutes or so.

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Add kidney beans, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water (from tomato can, if using), let cook another 5 minutes.

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Adjust seasoning, add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if needed.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over rice, or with some naan, or both.  But most importantly, ENJOY!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili - This is Rajma!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – This is Rajma!

Soup’s Up! Lentil Soup

Ok.  My family and I are back in Michigan after a wonderful visit with our family and friends in North and South Carolina.  Needless to say, it is much colder here than there; so, I thought, it’s time for some soup!  And starting the new year off with a healthy, delicious lentil soup that everyone can enjoy (even my 8 month old) is an extra bonus.

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Since lentils help lower cholesterol, are good for digestion, and are a great source of magnesium and folate (just to name a few health benefits) this soup is perfect for any New Year’s Resolutions that involve eating healthier (I don’t really make resolutions, but am all for a healthy meal that the whole family can enjoy).  I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine does.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Lentil Soup

adapted from Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound green lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (no-salt added)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock as well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat a 5 1/2 quart dutch oven (or large sauce pan) over medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and salt.  Sweat for 5 to 7  minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add lentils, tomatoes, stock, 2 cups of water, coriander, and cumin; stir to combine and bring to a slight boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Blend half of the soup in blender or use an immersion blender for desired consistency.

** If blending for an infant, blend well and add more stock or water to thin it out.  I just finely blended a few ladles of soup until smooth (very smooth, William is still not keen on chunkier food). **

Top with homemade croutons:

I just cut some leftover bread into chunks, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and bake on baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown).

OR

Serve with crusty bread and a salad for the perfect dinner!

original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/lentil-soup-recipe.html

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We hope every one had a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy New Year!   Cheers to 2015!