Indian Veggie Chili

Okay, this is not actually a chili dish — it just reminds me of one.  But it is authentic Indian and it is vegetarian, so two out of three isn’t bad.  Actually today’s recipe is a classic kidney bean curry called Rajma, which is a flavorful, hearty and healthy meal unto itself.

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There is no shortage of knife work to prep this dish.  Once that’s done the cook time is only about 30 minutes.  Here are your ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Cooked basmati rice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Plain yogurt

Just one ingredient note — this dish has a bit of pep to it, so if your spice tolerance is not very high you can back down the heat by just using one serrano chile, or cutting the garam masala to 1/2 teaspoon, or both if you’re a serious spice wimp.  Keep in mind, though, that the yogurt garnish goes a long way to cool the dish down, so don’t be afraid to go bold with it.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame.  Stir in the cumin seeds and cook until they stop crackling.  Add the onions and sweat them until they are tender and translucent.  Next mix in the ginger and garlic and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.   Add in the chiles, tomatoes, and dry spices, and saute the mixture for about 10-15 minutes.  Lastly, in go the beans, brown sugar, water and salt.  Cook another 10 minutes, and you’re done.

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Serve up your finished product with a bit of cooked rice and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and a dollop of yogurt.  Some warm naan also makes a great accompaniment.  We munched this delicious curry down with a big happy grin on our faces, then did it again.  Yummy and healthy in the same bowl — it doesn’t get any better than that.  Until next time:  Eat well, my friends!

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