Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Lima Beans Biryani - Butter Beans Biryani in an Instant Pot

I tend to make biryani a lot. It is quick, tasty and flavorful. Be it mixed vegetables, eggplant or fresh shelled Lima or kidney beans they all end up tasting good. While none of these will compare to chicken or mutton biryani, this Lima beans biryani is nothing to snicker at.

Ever since I switched to cooking biryani in an Instant Pot, I cook the spices, add the rice and set the Instant Pot on timer for some piping hot meal at lunch time. Normally I cook in the evenings but the past year I switched to cooking in the mornings. I wake up early because I go to bed early :) It is much faster to get cooking out of the way in the mornings then to do it through the day or later in the day.

You can put the Instant Pot in saute mode and do the sauteing of the spices directly in it. I do it in the stove pot because it is much faster.
Christmas Lima Beans
The recipe I use biryanis is pretty much same for both non veg and veg. I cannot do biryani without coriander leaves and mint leaves. I normally have frozen mint leaves pretty much always. I used freshly shelled Lima Beans for this recipe. These pretty beans are called Christmas Lima Beans.

Recipe in pictures,
Heat oil, add the spices, saute onions, green chilies, ginger garlic, coriander and mint leaves, tomatoes and when the tomatoes are nice and mushy add in the lima beans.
Mix the beans into the masala mixture and add the rice.
Add water and transfer contents to the Instant Pot.
Cook for 6 minutes in the Instant Pot.
Unplug the Instant Pot once the cooking is complete.
Lima Beans Biryani
Lima Beans Biryani
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 3-4 cups of freshly sheled Lima Beans (if using dry soak it overnight)
  2. 1 1/2 cups of Basmati Rice
  3. 1 cup of thinly sliced onions
  4. 2 tbsp grated ginger and garlic
  5. 6-8 green chilies
  6. handful of chopped mint + handful of chopped coriander leaves
  7. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  8. 2 tsp of red chili powder (or to taste)
  9. 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
  10. 1/4 tbsp of curd(yogurt) whisked (skip for vegan)
  11. Seasonings: curry leaves, cinnamon sticks 2 small pieces, few cloves, 1 small star anise
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 1/2 tbsp oil
  1. In a wide mouthed pan, heat oil and add the whole spices - cinnamon and cloves followed by the curry leaves, saute for a minute.
  2. Add the thinly sliced onions and green chilies and saute till the onions start to turn slightly brown.
  3. Add in the grated ginger and garlic and saute for a minute stirring to avoid burning.
  4. Add in the mint leaves and coriander leaves and saute till the leaves are fully wilted.
  5. Add in the chopped tomatoes and salt and let cook till the tomatoes become mushy. Takes approximately 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add in the shelled lima beans red chili powder and turmeric powder and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the whisked yogurt, mix and add in the washed rice and mix it well into the masala.
  8. Now add in the required amount of water for the rice, check for salt and heat. (For unsoaked Basmati Rice 1: 1.5 cups of rice : water)
  9. Transfer the contents to the Instant Pot and put it in manual mode for 6 minutes and delay of a minimmum 30 minutes.
  10. Once the cooking is done unplug and when the steam subsides naturally and fluff up the rice.

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Drumstick and eggplant spicy kulambu with tamarind ( Murugankai, kathrikkai kara kulambu)

Positive stories wherever they come from are heartening to hear. You do not have to be in the story to feel happy. Just hearing about it makes the day feel brighter, our attitude postive and general feeling off all around wellness. I woke up this morning and read a text from a friend who said that after 5 years of getting her life in order she is enjoying some much needed time off. Just reading about it gave a postive twist to the day.

It is perhaps in our best interest that we need to go looking for positive stories. For me any story about farms, animals, land preservation, water management all are good news stories. From watching no youtube to literally spending a good part of my time seeking these stories, it has become my evening routine in this cold weather. Cold days with no sun are the worst days to be without good news.

Talk of food is always good news stories. No wonder they are very popular in the past year. Hopefully some of us learned to cook and enjoy the benefits of good ingredients and the taste they bring. Here comes the pitch!!! Support your local farmer! If you haven't already find a local farm ASAP.

Now on to the recipe,
Some combinations are meant to be, the combination of drumstick and brinjal is one of those. Be it sambhar or this sour and spicy gravy, they go very well together.
Brinjal and Drumstick

Recipe in pictures,
Spice ingredients, sauted in oil.
Cool and blend the spices to a paste, soak the tamarind in about a cup of water and extract pulp.
In a saute pan or pressure, heat oil add the sesoning ingredients, followed by the garlic and onion.
Add tomatoes and when mushy add in the brinjal and drumsticks and saute for 3-5 minutes.
Add the tamarind pulp, blended paste, 1 cup of water and mix well.
Let the kulambu come to a boil and let cook for 8-10 minutes. The vegetables should be fully cooked. Add salt and turn off heat.

Enjoy the kulambu with some steamed rice for a blissful experience for the tongue.
Drumstick Brinjal kara kulambu
Drumstick and eggplant spicy kulambu with tamarind
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
    For the Spice Paste
  1. 1/4 cup of red onions or small onions chopped
  2. 4-5 red chilies
  3. 1 tbsp channa dal (bengal gram/kadalai paruppu)
  4. 1 tbsp urad dal (split black gram)
  5. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  6. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 tsp pepper corns
  8. few fenugreek seeds (methi/vendhayam)
  9. For the kulambu
  10. 5-6 small purple brinjals
  11. 2 cups of cut drumstick
  12. 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  13. 3-4 garlic cloves
  14. 2 tomatoes chopped
  15. 1 cup tamarind pulp from a lemon sized ball of tamarind
  16. seasonings: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds a pinch of each, curry leaves, asfoetida powder
  17. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  18. 1 tbsp of oil
  19. salt to taste
  1. Let the tamarind soak in a cup of water. Hot water if you want to extract the pulp faster.
  2. In a saute pan, add a tsp of oil, when hot add the ingredients for the spice paste other than the red onions and red chilies. Saute the spices, make sure the channa dal turns brown.
  3. Add the onions and red chilies and saute till the onions are translucent. Transfer to a blender and let it cool and blend to a farily smooth paste with the addition of 2-3 tbsps of water.
  4. In a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, or if cooking on stove top a wide mouthed saute pan, heat oil and add all the seasoning ingredients, when the mustard starts to pop add the onion and garlic and saute till the onion becomes slightly translucent.
  5. Add in the tomatoes and let it get mushy. Add the turmeric powder and mix.
  6. Add the drumstick and brinjal and saute for about 3-5 minutes. Add in the tamarind pulp and blended paste and a cup of water.
  7. Mix and add the required amount of salt. Close the pressure and cook for 2 whistles.
  8. If cooking on stove top, cook for about 10-15 minutes without the addition of salt and add salt once the vegetables are fully cooked.
  9. Serve with steamed rice.
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