Indian homes use the ‘pressure cooker’ a lot…
And I mean A LOT; this humble piece of kitchen equipment is a must in every Indian home, not just to cook meat but also potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, fresh peas, dry beans & lentils…you name the curry and the pressure cooker will make light work of it.
Unfortunately at our home, the pressure cooker is gathering dust for the past 7 years. Why, you say? Well, my then toddlers used to run a mile every time the pressure cooker whistle went off; seeing my little guys react to the ‘pressure cooker’ the way I would react to a ‘fire’, made this decision a no-brainer.
Out went one of the most crucial kitchen utensils for Indian cooking…In came the shiny red slow cooker, my new favorite in the kitchen.
Now I just name the Indian preparation…and my slow-cooker makes light work of it; like today’s recipe for North Indian-style Red Beans, which are a breeze to make in the slow-cooker. Can you think of anything more comforting than walking into the kitchen after a long work day, to find the slow cooker bubbling with healthy steaming hot red beans?
No time for slow cooking? Use our ‘lightening quick stovetop recipe’ using canned red beans instead of dry beans (we moms know the value of a quick recipe on a busy weekday evening.)
Inspired by ‘Rajma’, indubitably the king of comfort foods in the north of India, this protein packed dish is simply satisfying and wholesome. It’s interesting to know that red beans (also called red kidney beans) pack a whooping 16g of protein in one cup cooked, making them a worthy alternative to meat.
Serve our North Indian-style Red Beans straight from the slow-cooker, over warm brown basmati rice (or with your favorite whole grain bread to soak up the mouthwatering gravy) and a side of Raita, the Indian yogurt salad…Voila; you are looking at a complete meal.
(Bonus: these beans stay well in the freezer for 3-4 months.)
2 cups dry red (kidney) beans, mix dark & light beans
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste (or 4 cloves garlic, minced & ½ inch ginger, grated)
½ teaspoon amchur/dry mango powder (replace with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground red chili or Cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (or an 8 oz can) tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional)
Wash and soak the red beans with 4 cups of water in a slow cooker insert for 2-3 hours or overnight, if possible.
On the stovetop, heat a pan with canola oil and add the cumin seeds, bay leaf and chopped onion to it. Let the onion cook for 5 minutes, then add the amchur/lemon juice and dry spices (except garam masala.) Stir for 2-3 minutes and add these spiced onions to the beans in the slow cooker.
Next, add the cinnamon stick, salt and tomato sauce to the beans, set the cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
‘Lightening Quick Stovetop Recipe’ to make North Indian-style Red Beans:
Make the spiced onions on the stovetop as mentioned above. Add 3 cans of red kidney beans (washed and drained) to the onions along with tomato sauce. Season the red beans with salt as required.
At the end of either cooking process, mix in chopped cilantro and garam masala to freshen the red beans. Use the back of your spoon to crush some of the cooked beans, this helps thicken the gravy.
Serve steaming hot North Indian-style Red Beans sprinkled with fresh lemon juice, over brown or white basmati rice or with your favorite whole grain bread.