Tuesday, 4 August 2015

RED KIDNEY BEANS PILAF/RAJMA PULAV WITH FIERY AVOCADO RAITA - HAPPY BEATS SERIES



With prayer on my lips and a wish in my heart that all the HEARTS IN THIS WORLD should beat with HEALTH AND HAPPINESS I commence the HAPPY BEAT series. Every recipe in this series will be cooked with the aim that it keeps the heart health its priority.

Friends I am no authority on the heart as I am neither a doctor nor a dietitian. Then you may ask why this series? I have gone through the experience of a family member suffering from a near death, massive heart attack in the summers of 2014. The heart attack left his heart function at a meager 42%. These recipes and whatever information I will put down here is my journey , my experience and what I adapted to nurse his heart back to health and a heart function of 50% within a span of one year.


SO IT IS MY EARNEST REQUEST THAT PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW ANYTHING, BLINDLY WITHOUT CONSULTING A QUALIFIED DOCTOR OR NUTRITIONIST. 

Now coming back to that episode, I would surely not like to put down the experience about the heart attack, nor the entire traumatic journey to the hospital as it is too harrowing and painful to go through again. I would also not like to indulge in any further information about the family member who had the heart attack, as that is not necessary, neither relevant in the context of this series. What I intend to do is share with you all, every bit of the knowledge that I have garnered from Doctors, nutritionists, medical journals, fellow heart attack survivors, certified health professionals etc. and also during the rehabilitating process after the heart attack of my dear one. By penning down my experiences, I aim to bring in a positive and new outlook, how people look at heart health especially en route their food habits and their kitchen. Even if one person can benefit and nurture a healthy heart with the HAPPY BEATS SERIES and can thereby avoid the situation We as a family have gone through , the aim of this series will be achieved. 

Each post in this series will have a point to take away with you. So the first and foremost point that I have learnt for a Healthy Happy Heart is to HAVE A HEALTHY WEIGHT. In order to know if your weight is HEALTHY WEIGHT or not, the best measure is the BODY MASS INDEX or BMI calculator. According to MEDICAL NEWS TODAY BMI is used as a screening tool to indicate whether a person is underweight, overweight, obese or a healthy weight for their height. You can use this BMI CALCULATOR to calculate your BMI and then see in the BMI CHART under which category you are. PLEASE ONLY USE THIS CALCULATOR AND CHART FOR YOUR OWN KNOWLEDGE , BUT TO INCORPORATE ANY LIFESTYLE CHANGES PLEASE CONSULT A QUALIFIED DOCTOR. 


After the massive heart attack, my family member lost 24 kgs coming from 104kgs to 80 kgs in one year. His weight loss was based on his food and 45 minutes of walk at least 5 days a week, that's all. For the first year his doctor did not allow him any other exercise other than just walking and that too with pointers given to him as when he should stop walking if faced with certain signs and symptoms. 

I will put down here what things we adopted based on the Doctors and nutritionists advice to reach a healthy weight. The first thing that was told to me was REDUCE OIL USED TO COOK FOOD. For that, change the utensils used to cook and cooking techniques. Use non-stick utensils for cooking as food can be cooked in them using very little or zero OIL. Adopt more of steaming, baking, poaching, grilling/tandoor to cook your food. These cooking techniques ensure that you get the same taste out of your dishes without the addition of much oil. Also increase the intake of raw vegetables ( those eatable raw) and fruits in your daily diet. 

Trust me friends, neither was the change into the new methods and processes difficult nor boring. And most importantly no fasting or skipping of meals were allowed as he was on a series of medicines throughout the day. It does take only a few days to bring this change into your kitchen but leaves a lifetime of goodness on your health quotient. I can vouch for this from my own experience, that using less oil to cook food does not make the dish any less tasty. Less oil used for cooking has great impact on reducing your waistline and aiding in your weight loss process. This is one primary change that we undertook to improve heart health. 

Use less oil, no butter or margarine, no clarified butter/ghee, only oil and that too less oil, which is equivalent to healthier weight and healthier heart with HAPPY BEATS.

Dear friends our HEART is the most important organ of our body. We are as long as our HEART KEEPS BEATING. So please do not take your heart for granted. Love your heart as much as your heart loves you. REMEMBER PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. Believe it or not FOOD PLAYS A VERY VERY IMPORTANT ROLL IN YOUR HEART'S HEALTH. I have seen through my encounters. 

It is time that all of us make a promise to love our hearts a little more from this moment onward. Working towards a HEALTHY WEIGHT surely means WORKING TOWARDS HAPPY BEATS. 

It is to be noted that Indulgence is definitely allowed for a Healthy Heart but sparingly and in moderation.

Friends below is the recipe of RED BEANS PILAF/RAJMA PULAV which has been cooked with just 1 Tsp of oil. I would request you to recreate it in your kitchen and see for yourself that less oil used in cooking does not mean less taste. I had picked up this recipe from HERE and I loved the idea of this delicious one pot meal. I have however made some distinct changes in ingredients as compared to the original recipe. I have not used clarified butter / ghee, only oil that too 1 tsp for the entire cooking. I have replaced coconut milk with MILK containing just 0.1% FAT, have used BROWN BASMATI RICE instead of BASMATI RICE and roasted raw almond slivers instead of cashewnuts. I served the RED KIDNEY BEANS PILAF with a FIERY AVOCADO RAITA WITH A CRUNCHY PEANUT AND CURRY LEAVES CRUMBLE.


So the two dishes of the HAPPY BEATS series whose recipes are given are :

1) RED KIDNEY BEAN PILAF/RAJMA PULAV

The star ingredients of my two dishes are RED KIDNEY BEANS /RAJMA from the first dish and AVOCADO  from the second dish. Here are the links which will give you an insight as to why these two ingredients go a step towards your HAPPY BEATS.


So let's get started cooking these two delicious and super healthy dishes right away.

RED KIDNEY BEANS PILAF/RAJMA PULAV RECIPE WITH 1 TSP OF OIL:


SERVES  - 2
CUISINE - INDIAN
TYPE - MAIN COURSE/RICE DISH
TIME - 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 30 MINUTES COOKING + OVERNIGHT SOAKING OF THE RED KIDNEY BEANS

INGREDIENTS : 

FOR THE ROASTED AND POWDERED MASALA MIX :

1) 1 Tsp Urad Dal/Deskinned Black gram
2) 1 Tsp Chana Dal/ Deskinned Split Bengal Gram
3) 2 Tsp Toor Dal/ Split and skinned Pegion Peas
4) 1 Tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
5) 1 Tsp Dhaniya/Coriander seeds
6) 2 Kashmiri Red Chillies
TIP : Use any other red chillies or increase the number depending on your taste buds.

1) 250 Gms ( approximately 2 Cups ) Brown Basmati Rice
2) 1 Cup RAJMA/ Red Kidney Beans soaked covered in water overnight
3) 1 Cup Milk containing 0.1 % fat
4) 1 Large Onion finely sliced.
5) 3 medium sized tomatoes 
6) 2 Green Chillies slit lengthwise
7) 1tsp of Ginger Garlic paste
8) 2 Bay leaves
9) 1 Tsp Shahjeera
10) 2 Choti Elachi/Green Cardamom
11) 3 Laung/Cloves
12) 1 small stick Dalchini/Cinnamon
13) 10 Raw almonds chopped and roasted
14) Masala Mix powder from the ingredients above
15) 1/2 Cup chopped Mint leaves
16) 1/2 Cup chopped Coriander leaves
17) 1 Tsp Olive Oil
18) Salt to taste

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) Soak the rajma beans, covered with water overnight. In the morning, they will become almost double their size. Drain the water, wash the rajma beans under running water and cook the rajma beans in a pressure cooker covered with fresh water until it is soft and smashes easily with your fingers.


2) To prepare the fragrant masala mix, dry roast all the ingredients under the heading FOR THE ROASTED AND POWDERED MASALA MIX till fragrant. Cool and transfer to a grinder and grind to a smooth and fine powder. Keep aside ready to use.


3) Wash and Soak the brown basmati rice covered with water till you are ready to use it. 
NOTE : Some Brown Basmati Rice variety require more time for soaking. Read the label of your rice and soak accordingly.

4) Wash the tomatoes. Cook them in a pressure cooker until they can be easily smashed into a puree using a smasher. Remove from the cooker, cool and smash into a puree using a smasher and keep aside ready to use.


5) In a thick bottom non stick pan pour 1Tbsp oil. Add the Shahjeera to the hot oil and let it crackle. Add bayleaf, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and allow them to become fragrant.

6) Add sliced onions, ginger garlic paste and slit chillies. Saute them till the onions turn brown. Drain the soaked brown basmati rice and add it to the pan. Mix well and saute till the grains of rice no longer stick to the pan.


7) Add the tomato puree and mix well. Next add the cooked rajma retaining the water for later use. Mix. Now add the fragrant masala mix and chopped mint leaves and give everything in the pan a good stir. Season with salt.

8) Add the milk, the water in which the rajma was cooked and more water as per the instructions on your rice packet. I have added liquid in the ratio of 1 Cup Rice:2 Cups liquid. Stir and cook covered until rice is completely cooked.
TIP: You can also transfer the contents of the pan into a pressure cooker, add the liquids and cook till the rice is completely done.

9) Finally dry roast the raw chopped almonds lightly in a pan. Add the roasted alomnds along with the chopped coriander leaves, mix and serve hot along with a raita of your choice. I served my Red Kidney Beans Pilaf with a Avocado Raita with a crunchy curry leaf and peanut crumble.

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RED KIDNEY BEANS PILAF/RAJMA PULAV RECIPE WITH 1 TSP OF OIL:

INGREDIENTS : 

FOR THE ROASTED AND POWDERED MASALA MIX :

1) 1 Tsp Urad Dal/Deskinned Black gram
2) 1 Tsp Chana Dal/ Deskinned Split Bengal Gram
3) 2 Tsp Toor Dal/ Split and skinned Pegion Peas
4) 1 Tsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
5) 1 Tsp Dhaniya/Coriander seeds
6) 2 Kashmiri Red Chillies
TIP : Use any other red chillies or increase the number depending on your taste buds.

1) 250 Gms ( approximately 2 Cups ) Brown Basmati Rice
2) 1 Cup RAJMA/ Red Kidney Beans soaked covered in water overnight
3) 1 Cup Milk containing 0.1 % fat
4) 1 Large Onion finely sliced.
5) 3 medium sized tomatoes 
6) 2 Green Chillies slit lengthwise
7) 1tsp of Ginger Garlic paste
8) 2 Bay leaves
9) 1 Tsp Shahjeera
10) 2 Choti Elachi/Green Cardamom
11) 3 Laung/Cloves
12) 1 small stick Dalchini/Cinnamon
13) 10 Raw almonds chopped and roasted
14) Masala Mix powder from the ingredients above
15) 1/2 Cup chopped Mint leaves
16) 1/2 Cup chopped Coriander leaves
17) 1 Tsp Olive Oil
18) Salt to taste

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) Soak the rajma beans, covered with water overnight. In the morning, they will become almost double their size. Drain the water, wash the rajma beans under running water and cook the rajma beans in a pressure cooker covered with fresh water until it is soft and smashes easily with your fingers.

2) To prepare the fragrant masala mix, dry roast all the ingredients under the heading FOR THE ROASTED AND POWDERED MASALA MIX till fragrant. Cool and transfer to a grinder and grind to a smooth and fine powder. Keep aside ready to use.

3) Wash and Soak the brown basmati rice covered with water till you are ready to use it. 
NOTE : Some Brown Basmati Rice variety require more time for soaking. Read the label of your rice and soak accordingly.

4) Wash the tomatoes. Cook them in a pressure cooker until they can be easily smashed into a puree using a smasher. Remove from the cooker, cool and smash into a puree using a smasher and keep aside ready to use.

5) In a thick bottom non stick pan pour 1Tbsp oil. Add the Shahjeera to the hot oil and let it crackle. Add bayleaf, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and allow them to become fragrant.

6) Add sliced onions, ginger garlic paste and slit chillies. Saute them till the onions turn brown. Drain the soaked brown basmati rice and add it to the pan. Mix well and saute till the grains of rice no longer stick to the pan.

7) Add the tomato puree and mix well. Next add the cooked rajma retaining the water for later use. Mix. Now add the fragrant masala mix and chopped mint leaves and give everything in the pan a good stir. Season with salt.

8) Add the milk, the water in which the rajma was cooked and more water as per the instructions on your rice packet. I have added liquid in the ratio of 1 Cup Rice:2 Cups liquid. Stir and cook covered until rice is completely cooked.
TIP: You can also transfer the contents of the pan into a pressure cooker, add the liquids and cook till the rice is completely done.

9) Finally dry roast the raw chopped almonds lightly in a pan. Add the roasted alomnds along with the chopped coriander leaves, mix and serve hot along with a raita of your choice. I served my Red Kidney Beans Pilaf with a Fiery Avocado Raita with a crunchy curry leaf and peanut crumble.
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FIERY AVOCADO RAITA WITH CURRY LEAF PEANUT CRUMBLE RECIPE




SERVES : 2
CUISINE : FUSION
TYPE : DIP/RAITA
TIME : 15 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

1) 200 gms low fat yogurt ( I used yogurt with 0.2 % fat, no saturate fat and no sugar )
2) 2 Red Thai Bird Eye Chillies finely chopped
3) 1/2 Avocado peeled and grated
4) 2 Tbsp raw groundnuts
5) 1 sprig of curry leaves
6) 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
7) Black Salt to taste
8) Few drops of oil

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) In a pan sprinkle few drops of oil. Add curry leaves and ground nut. Roast them till crunchy. Crumble them in a grinder coarsely.

2) In a mixing bowl add yogurt, grated avocado, bird eye chilli, roasted cumin powder, black salt and the peanut curry leaf crumble. Mix well

A nutty, fragrant, spicy, crunchy, creamy and very healthy dip is ready to be savoured.


Disclaimer : The HAPPY BEAT Series is a result of my own experiences in my journey towards a healthier heart through food and also things learnt on the way from different certified sources and qualified professionals. It should therefore be noted that I have no expertise, neither am I qualified to advise anyone on health related issues. Please consult your doctor or nutritionist before incorporating any lifestyle changes.