Thursday, May 4, 2017

Light summer meals

This summer has been kind to us so far. After a few days of 40 degree C + weather, storm clouds and aandhis have blown through the city, leaving it much cooler and more bearable. I wish it could be like this all year round. in fact, the weather has not only been conducive to morning and evening walks, but we've managed to go AC free for several nights, with a cool breeze and the fan enough to give us a good night's sleep. Always a pleasure, since I feel I wake up better rested without the AC.

But between my Hashimoto's crazy readings and the general feeling of warmth around, I felt the need to drum up a light dinner yesterday, something that would be fresh and healthy yet filling. And for me in particular, grain free if possible.

Reading through a few food blogs, the idea of bean salad - which fb memories had thrown up - hit my fancy. I decided to add cauliflower rice - which I had previously dismissed as a bit pretentious - to the mix. For the fam, on the side I had an emergency side of dahi chawal in case anyone felt the food was insubstantial. The meal turned out to be delicious and surprisingly filling, so much so that A who'd been the first to turn his nose up and say 'That's all we're having', sated himself with 2 helpings and the dahi chawal remained pristine!

Salad - really it's a matter of whatever your ingenuity suggests and what you have in the fridge

1/2 cup rajma ( red kidney beans), uncooked
1/2 each of red and yellow capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 teaspoon roast cumin powder
Juice of 1-2 limes ( depends how juicy they are. We're getting dried up ones here)
1/2 cup cooked corn
1 handful coriander leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Rock salt to taste ( we're trying to switch to this as it's supposed to be healthier)

Soak the beans overnight and then pressure cook for 1-2 whistles until done. Or use the quick soak method I learned from Madhur Jaffrey - Soak for 1 hour, cook for 1 whistle in the pressure cooker. Leave to cool for an hour and pressure cook for 1-2 whistles again.

Leave the beans to cool - they should be at room temperature when you put together the salad, so it's best to get them done and out of the way much before your planned meal.
The rest is super simple - just mix all the ingredients together, including the beans and serve with a smile. I can think of endless changes to ring on this - adding radish, spring onions, peas, lettuce or baby spinach...replacing the cumin with chaat thing I am going to try soon is adding feta cheese to it.

Cauliflower Rice

1 cauliflower, grated fine
1 tsp oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Sprinkle of water

In a cast iron wok, put the oil on to heat. Toss in the cumin seeds and toast lightly. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle lightly with water. Cook, covered with a tightly fitting lid, for a 3-4 minutes and then check if its soft - should be al dente, not mushy. Uncover and cook for a minute and take off the heat. Add salt, if using, and mix gently.

We topped the bean salad with this and added chana masala from Haldirams - a spicy version of roast chana - for extra crunch. Super!

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