My Favourite 7 Bean Salad

I love eating this salad in the monsoon. It substantial but vegetarian, cooling and warming, complex and simple. Ready to eat in half an hour and still delicious a day later.

 

1-photo

Ingredients

1 cup of mixed beans- red kidney beans (rajmha), pink kidney beans, chick peas, (kabuli channa ), dried green peas, green gram , black eyed peas or soya beans. Soak in 4 cups of boiling water for an hour.

2 sprigs of thyme

1 cup of pearl barley cooked for 30 minutes.( or 1 cup cooked finger millet)

½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves

Two handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped and wilted over low flame for 3 minutes, till cooked.

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

½ red onion finely chopped

1 cup finely shredded cabbage.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt and Pepper

1-photo (1)

Method

1. Pressure cook  the soaked and drained beans in 500 ml water with a few sprigs of fresh or dried thyme for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let the pressure come down normally. Open cooker and remove thyme sprigs. Drain and reserve any cooking liquid.

2. Mix with the cooked and fluffy pearl barley.

3. Add the tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, coriander and onion and mix well.

4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. Make a dressing of two tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons lime juice. Mix with a little of the reserved cooking  liquid.Pour over salad and serve warm or cold.


Breakfast on the Deccan Queen

While much has changed for the worse, some things have definitely changed for the better, in the last five years, in India. One of the changes I am really grateful for is to be able to book train tickets online.

Hallelujah!!

Does anyone recall ye olde days of yore at the railway station, standing in a queue for 4 hours to reach the head of the line only to be told “Sold out” or “Waiting list only” or only available for the next day and other such disappointing stuff. We knew full well that half the tickets had been “reserved” to be sold in the black market later that day.

Being a frequent PUNE-BOMBAY traveler this was my weekly plight. My fate was to be jammed in with a hundred other women for “floor only” seating in the unreserved ladies compartment, time after time.

Eleven years ago all that changed. IRCTC online happened and there has been no looking back. Oh the pleasure of booking a ticket from the comfort of home rather than being inspected with infinite interest from top to toe, for an interminable four hours by bored and curious fellow queue’ ers in the grubby and smelly environs of the booking office !!

1-DSC01879

Though trips are less and less frequent, I still make the odd journey on the Deccan Queen (now rather battered by age) with its tattered blue rexine covered seats and less than spacious chairs.

1-DSC01890

1-DSC01896

1-DSC01891

1-DSC01901



However one wonderful tradition has not changed.  The menu of breakfast made fresh in the pantry car......

Omelette sandwich, Cutlet sandwich, Sabudana wadas , hot chai and coffee. All dripping with oil and deliciously sinful, served with “tomato” (read pumpkin) sauce.

1-DSC01908 1-DSC01887

The waiters have a great memory, taking the order before Lonavala and coming round a couple of hours later (around Panvel), to settle the bill without aid of pen and paper.

Today the price of the breakfast snack is significantly more than the original 35 paise but worth its oily weight in gold.

When you crave the fine pleasure of spacing out on train journeys and eating gloriously unhealthy stuff, or are bitten by the nostagia for the delights of chair car travel and railway food- you can whip up the following.

1-DSC01909

 Omelette Sandwich Deccan Queen Style

Ingredients

2 tablepoons vegetable oil or butter

2 eggs, beaten

½ onion, finely minced

/1 green chilli, finely minced

½ tomato chopped fine

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large slices white bread

Method

1. Heat the oil and a frying pan. When hot fry the onions and chillies. When soft add the tomatoes and sauté.

2. Pour in beaten eggs and fry till set. Fold into half and then fold again into a quarter

3. Butter two slices of bread. Put the quartered omelette in between .

4. Serve hot with plenty of tomato sauce and a paper napkin to wipe a shining face later.


Slow cooked beans and chicken casserole

Its been a rainy day.Its been a rainy week. The only thing to do on this kind of day is to put something on the fire to stew slowly and fill the house with its aroma while listening to music and reading. The anticipation of a warm, filling dinner makes the monsoon greys less dreary.

So out comes the latest cook pot, a handmade ceramic dutch oven which is unusual because it is flame proof , withstanding direct heat on the stove top and if necessary can be popped in the oven too.

Since I have friends from Mexico staying I thought the following dish would give them a taste of home.

This is a nice for solar cooking too . 1-IMG_1534

Ingredients:

125 gms dried mixed beans, (kidney beans, chick peas, black eyed beans, green peas) , rajmha, kabuli channa, green peas,black beans, chawlai

1/2 tablespoon vegtable oil

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 green or red chilli

1 large green pepper/simla mirchi, cut into 1/2 in pieces

3 tomatoes , pulped into juice in a blender

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 tablespoon chilli sauce

1 chicken bouillon cube or 1/2 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon brown sugar

200 gms minced chicked

 

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the dried beans in 500 ml of boiling hot water for an hour. Drain.
  2. Heat the oil and fry the garlic and chilli for a minute. Add the onion and saute till golden brown.
  3.  Add the green pepper bits and saute for a few minutes. 
  4.  Add the pulped tomatoes, chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar and salt.  Cook for five minutes.
  5. Add the beans and 400 ml water to the pot and cooked on very low heat for 3 hours. You can use a heat diffuser under the pot if necessary.
  6. Add the minced chicken and mix to seperate the bits. Cook for another hour.
  7. Garnish with grated cheese and chopped coriander.

Eat with crusty bread or a warmed tortilla. Delicious!