Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Red Kidney Beans Hummus: Beans Hummus: Summer Dip: 5 Minute Hummus

Good news! Summer is here and let’s pretend it’s going to be this nice for the whole year. Bring on some chilled cocktails, cold pasta salads and sandwiches. Are you gearing up for a beach bath, or having a BBQ in the park? Spending some me-time with a book or just watching a movie at home? Whatever it is, you guys have to bring in some colours, some happiness in form of Corkers. When the postman delivered this huge box of crisps at my door steps, the colours just brightened up my mood. Pink, purple, orange, blue, green all packed with crunchy crisps and flavours. 

What makes Corkers crisps so special is the fact they are made from delicious Naturalo potatoes, grown in the black, peaty fenland soil of Cambridgeshire, which give the crisps a unique crunch and makes them perfect for frying.  Not only are the potatoes grown on the family farm but it’s also here that they are hand-cooked to perfection.

You can pick your packet from seven bold British flavours, each featuring top quality, all-natural ingredients and cooked in fresh sunflower oil:
  • Pork Sausage and English Mustard – Expect the delicious flavours of barbecued British bangers finished with a hint of Old English Mustard
  • Red Leicester and Caramelised Onion – A winning combination of slow roasted onion and rich creamy red Leicester cheese
  • Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar – Made using the finest English cider which is sweet in taste with a hint of zest, these crisps will make your mouth water with every crunch
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper – Sure to warm your pallet, these Gold Taste Award winning crisps are made from sweet and hot peppers
  • Duck and Hoisin Sauce - A partnership of two British greats, both the duck and the Naturalo potato, hail from the Corkers family farm.

I opened the packet of my favourite Sweet Thai Chilli crisps and the aroma was too tempting. Spiked with sweet chilli and herds; perfect crunch-you would only want more and more. Sea Salt flavour chips are simple and yet so elegant. Indeed it has won them great taste golden award. Fried to perfection, seasoned just right and the crunch is bang on. What else you would want in a crisp? Why not crush these crisps and add some crunch on your boring salads or pastas. Or escort them as a side with burgers, patties or any snack. Dive right in; Corkers Crisps are great for picnics, barbecues, potlucks, parties, and more! I am yet to try all the packets, but you can click here to check all delicious flavours.

Dips that would go with these crisps are:

Or like me, add Mediterranean flair to your summer menu. Pair with it hummus. Not chickpeas hummus (so yesterday!) but Red Kidney Beans Hummus: a.k.a rajma. A deep earthy flavoured hummus. Burnt garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves, ton of olive oil and lime juice- all blended into a velvety creamy dip. This will get ready in 5 minutes if you are using canned beans. Loaded with goodness of proteins, healthy fats and vitamin C. Pop open a beer or a drink, bag of crisp, this dip and enjoy summers.

1 can or 400 grams Red Kidney Beans/Rajma
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli
5 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water

Wash and drain the red kidney beans. Strain and keep aside.
Roast garlic on open fire. Peel the skin and keep aside.
In a food processor or grinder, grind everything together till you get creamy dip.

If using raw beans, soak it overnight in water. Next day drain the water and boil in the open pan or pressure cooker till it becomes soft.
You can use cumin powder as well (jeera powder) in the recipe.
Coriander leaves can be substituted with parsley leaves.
You have to use a good quality olive oil for a nice texture. I recommend Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with cucumber or carrot sticks.
Pair with bread, crackers, nachos or chips.
Use as a spread for sandwiches or pita pockets.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jeera Rice: Basmati Rice With Cumin Seeds: Indian Rice

Some one the other day asked me for the recipe of Jeera Rice and I was so shocked to know that the recipe is not on my blog. I mean you aren’t an Indian food blogger if you don't have jeera rice recipe on your blog. No seriously, I was so ashamed. Jeera Rice is like run in the mill in most of the Indian homes. Anyways, that day itself I made jeera rice clicked the pics and here I am posting it without any further delay.

Jeera as we call in Hindi is cumin seeds and is THE most important ingredient in Indian Punjabi cooking. Personally I cant do without this spice, be it paneer currieskofta curries or homemade spice mix like chaat massala or garam massala. The ancient Ayurveda and age old wisdom of grandmothers insist on having cumin seeds because of its medicinal values.

Common benefits of cumin seeds are:
Improves digestion
Increases concentration
Reduces cholesterol
Weight loss
Relieve stress
Deceases bloating and gas
Detoxifies liver
Reduces menstrual cramps
Increases lactation in new mothers
Coming back to the post, Jeera Rice is basmati rice (chawal) which is flavored with cumin seeds. Cumin seeds are roasted in ghee or butter to release the aroma, later cooked rice is mixed in it. Now here is one modification that take place, some use cooked rice (boiled rice) while some cook the rice with cumin like how you would do for biryani or pulav. No method is right or wrong, you do what you prefer. Things that remains the same is ghee (clarified butter), some cloves (laung), bay leaf (tej patta) and lots of cumin seeds.

Use a good quality long grain basmati rice for best results. You can read a complete post on how to cook rice perfectly for more tips and clear idea. I always cook rice in microwave to save time and then just pour the cumin seeds tempering on the rice, mix and cover it for 1 minute so that flavoures remain intact. This is the Plain Jeera Rice recipe, which is more like day-to day rice; to give it more elegant restaurant feel then you must add cashews and raisins (kaju and kismis).

What to pair with jeera rice? Check these out:

In simple words, jeera rice is a step further both in looks and taste from the regular plain boiled white rice. The little golden coloured cumin seeds mixed with pure white boiled rice gives a uplifting colour combination. 

Author: Shweta Agrawal
Cuisine: Indian: Punjabi: Bangladeshi: Pakistani

1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon cumin/jeera
1 bay leaf/tej patta
2-3 cloves/laung
3 cups water
2 tablespoon butter/ghee
Salt to taste

Wash basmati rice two three times. Soak the basmati rice in water for 30-40 minutes. Drain the rice and keep aside.
Put rice in microwave safe bowl. Add 3 cups of water, lemon juice and salt. Cook on high power for 12 minutes. Cover the bowl with plate and cook again for 8 minutes.
Heat a pan. Add ghee or butter. Reduce the heat to low.
Add in cloves, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Let cumin seeds turn golden. Heat a pan.
Add cooked rice and stir with softly. Make sure not to apply lot of pressure else rice will become mushy.
Let it sit covered. Fluff the rice and serve jeera rice hot.

You can also use cardamom (elyachi) or cinnamon (dal chini) in the recipe. However I don’t like sweet aroma in rice so I avoid it.
You can use vegetable oil or sunflower instead of ghee or butter.
Lemon juice helps to separate the rice grains and gives nice white colour.
Use good quality long grain basmati rice. I recommend Tilda Basmati Rice.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side with any indian curries.
Serve with lentils and dry curries.
Mix with salad, chutneys and stuff in tacos or burritos.