Red kidney beans, popularly called rajma in India, seems to be the flavour of the week in my kitchen. The quintessential and staple bean, a favourite in many North Indian homes, it is a favourite especially with the Punjabi palate. With strong genes of the Punjab running in my blood, I decided to cook this hearty and meaty bean in my kitchen. Nope, not rajma masala. Instead, incorporating the leftover boiled rajma I had made for my greens and beans salad earlier this week, in a kebab. I have spiced up the boiled beans with onions, ginger, garlic, chopped jalapeño and Indian spices and used a bit of paneer and potatoes to bind the kebab. Living in San Francisco, I decided to impart a local touch. I made a tangy tapenade or purée with green olives, capers and basil, as a relish for the kebabs. And to complete the meal a serving of buttery black wild rice and Mediterranean flatbread to accompany the kebabs. A bit of California, a bit of the Mediterranean and definitely a bit of North India in my cuisine today!:-). And it’s delightfully vegetarian!
Boiled red kidney beans or rajma – 4 cups
Finely chopped onions – 1/2 cup
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp. chopped ginger
1/4 cup chopped coriander
1 tsp. chopped jalapeño or green chile
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp.
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp. Store-bought or homemade(recipe given below)
Cayenne pepper – 1/2 tsp.
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp. Can use paprika instead.
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp.
Grated paneer or indian cottage cheese – 1/2 cup
Grated boiled potato – 1/4 cup
Breadcrumbs – 1 tbsp.
Canola oil – 1 tbsp. plus say 1/4 cup for shallow frying the kebabs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the tapenade:
2 cups pitted green olives
1 large garlic clove
5-6 large fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. capers
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsleyv
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt, to taste
For the beans, I generally cook them from scratch, instead of buying the canned variety. Soak the beans overnight or for 6-8 hours. Pressure cook the beans till soft. If you don’t own a pressure cooker, boil beans with water in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans. Simmer for 30-35 minutes till the beans are very soft. Let cool. Mash the beans with a
masher or a fork or simple use the best tool, your own clean hands!
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Saute the onions till pink. Add cumin seeds. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies, saute for a minute. Add the ground spices. Stir-fry for a minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Add lemon juice. Add the boiled and grated potatoes and the paneer. Add the breadcrumbs, not too much, just about a tablespoon. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. Shape into kebabs and refrigerate.