Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recipe : Manglorean Style Rajma / Vegetable Stew (Vegan)

I had a couple of friends coming over for dinner and I was planning to make dosas (the thick variety that are eaten with coconut milk curries). However quite a few of them were vegetarian and since we hardly eat potatoes in this house anymore, I was wondering how to make a vegetarian coconut milk curry. (the standard Manglorean way to convert a meat curry into a vegetarian one, is to make it with potatoes or eggs)

Then, I remembered my friend Anju in Cairo, (who is from Kerala) had once made this lovely stew with rajma. Drawing on that as inspiration, I followed the Manglorean recipe for mutton stew but substituted the meat with rajma. Then I decided it needed some fresh veggies too and added a chopped carrot and a potato (stews need at least one potato to help thicken them up a bit). I was quite happy with the result.

This recipe results in a mild stew. If you want stronger flavours, double the ginger, chillies and stew powder.

2 cups of rajma (kidney beans) - 1/2kg if you buy the pre-cooked variety
pinch of jeera
pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
pinch of methi seeds

1 tsp oil (coconut or any neutral oil)
2" cinnamon
6 green chillies slit in two
1" ginger julienned
8-10 curry leaves washed and wiped dry
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 large carrot chopped large
1 potato boiled (you can pressure cook it with the rajma to save time) and chopped large
1 tbsp Manglorean stew powder (you can use pepper powder, if you can't make any stew powder)
 200 ml Coconut milk (thick)

Soak the rajma overnight (8 hours) and pressure cook in enough water to cover it, till done with a pinch of heeng, methi and jeera (to help cut down the gassy effects of rajma).
Drain the water and set aside the cooked rajma (unlike other dried lentils and beans, the water in which rajma is pressure cooked, is not used in cooking, discard it)

In a large pan, heat the oil.
Season with cinnamon, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves till the leaves crisp up a bit.
Add onion, fry till translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste and mix well for a minute.

Add the cooked and drained rajma and saute for a minute while stirring, so everything blends.

Add the coconut milk and thin it down with some water, stir well, cover and cook till it is bubbling.
Once the stew is bubbling, lower the heat to sim, add the stew powder and cook till rajma has reached your desired level of softness (about 10 minutes), stirring in between if necessary to prevent it from burning.

Now add the carrots and boiled potatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot with dosas or appams

You can garnish this with fresh chopped coriander of crisp fried ginger juliennes (tempering).

Kim's Note:
If you prefer your carrots well cooked, add them at the same stage as the rajma. We prefer to have them raw to the bite.

If you want a stronger coconut flavour or a thicker stew, double the coconut milk and reduce the water.

If you want stronger flavours, double the ginger, chillies and stew powder.

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