Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Work-Arounds

     

     How to work around a stove you are scared to use: 1) Buy microwavable meals and feel sorry for yourself (I tried this last night, and it didn't work out so well). 2) Leave a slip for the maintenance man so he will actually be able to come fix it (Still working on this one, at least I picked up a slip, that's progress). 3) Wonder if you can finagle a dish that only involves toasting bread (this is still a thought in progress). 4) Realize you are being a complete idiot because what do you need a stove for when you own a SLOW COOKER.

Rice and Beans Indian Style
     Guess which one I'm on now? Yes, I realized I have a slow cooker. And, in the process of making a dish in said slow cooker, I realized that only the back right burner on the stove had smoke coming out of it and that was only when the oven was on. So, I'm pretty sure using the other burners is OK. Yay me!

It's name is so appropriate! It is my new best friend.

     So, now that I have realized I can cook, what should I make? I was rummaging through my groceries in my mind when I realized: I have kidney beans! I can make Rajma! i.e. Indian curry out of red kidney beans. All happy, I opened the cabinet. And there I found: Small Red Beans. How did I buy Small Red Beans instead of Red Kidney Beans? Oh, right. The first can of kidney beans I found required opening by can opener. Which I just could not deal with. So, I bought the convenient can of beans that I saw had a LIFT UP TOP. The things you do to get out of using can openers. Apparently, they involve making rajma with the wrong kind of beans.

Fancy Rice
     But, wrong kind of beans notwithstanding, making rajma went smoothly. More or less. I got over my fear of the stove to cook up the onions and the spices before dumping them in the slow cooker. I even made extra fancy rice because I put way more water in the slow cooker than required for cooking the beans, so I ladled out the extra ginger-garlic flavored water with some onions and used that to cook the rice. Yummy. Can you tell I had a very good dinner? Rajma and rice with yogurt, pretty much plain old beans and rice I guess, is wholly comforting. There's something about hot, slightly spicy, flavorful beans that even makes the rain seem less bad. Now, if only it could make the rain go away altogether.

Rajma

1 can Kidney Beans (I don't suggest using the small red beans, they are not as good) 
1 1/2 cups Water
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 mid-sized Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped 
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
1/2 tbsp Coriander
1/2 tbsp Garam Masala 
1/2 tsp Chana Masala (Optional) 
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp Salt

First, rinse your beans under some water. Then, put them in the slow cooker with the water. Heat the oil at medium heat, and cook the onions until they are all nicely translucent. Dump them into the slow cooker as well along with the ginger powder and garlic powder. Stir everything together, and allow it to cook on the High setting of the slow cooker for an hour, until the beans are soft. If at this point you have a Lot of excess water over the beans, ladle it out until you have just enough water to cover the beans. Separately, heat your frying pan at medium heat again. Toast the coriander, garam masala, and chana masala in it, and then fry up the tomato paste with the spices (it will end up becoming a big spice paste). Add the paste to the slow cooker, stirring it in thoroughly so that there are no clumps, and then stir in the salt as well. Then, cook in the slow cooker on High for another 15 minutes. Serve with rice (which can be cooked with the ladled out water, which will taste very nice) or roti or naan or something.

Note: If you have cooked it for 15 minutes on High in the slow cooker and it is still too liquidy, just pour everything into a large saucepan and boil off the water for five minutes. The consistency should be exactly how You want it!

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