Monday, April 4, 2011

Rajma Rasmisa

I am in Goa, the land of my roots, the land of my dreams. I feel more inspired to do my best here. There is something indescribable in the air which infects you. It is laidback and unhurried. It shows in the cuisine here too.

The ingredients available here be it fish, fruit or veggies are so fresh and full of juice and vitality. You could eat them by themselves without needing any embellishment at all. The basic component of the cuisine here is the humble and versatile coconut. It forms the basis of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It is surprising that people here are not using coconut milk in their tea!

It may be slightly hot and humid here, too. Nothing cools you off in this weather like a good fresh tender coconut! It goes just as well into the bebinca as into the hooman, and yet the flavors of both the recipes are vastly different. One is a Kashmir of Goan cuisine and the other is Kanyakumari.

To find the mouthwateringly sour Karmala (Star fruit) and Bimla (or bilimb, I do not know what it is called in English) is my mission on every Goa trip. I don't have to look far. It is available right outside the Shantadurga temple at Kavlem. Next time anyone wants to have their eye closing involuntarily from the sourness of a bilimb, come to Shantadurga temple. What's even better here is that in Mumbai the starfruit available has a kind of throat irritant quality. You can't eat too much. Here, you can't stop. A whole plate of starfruit will be polished before you can say "Achoo!"

I am staying at my maternal uncle's vacation house here in Goa.The resources are limited. While it is not possible for me to cook elaborate recipes here, I try making the best of whatever I have. This is one of those recipes I borrowed from Sanjeev Kapoor's site that was yummilicious to say the least. Besides, when you are in Goa, everything tastes great! ;-)

  • 1 cup rajma (red kidney beans) soaked in warm water overnight
  • 2 large onions minced, pureed, grated or chopped (whichever you prefer)
  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
Pressure cook the kidney beans in a lot of water and a little salt till it is softened. Heat the  oil in a pan and add the bay leaf and onion and cook till the onion changes color to golden brown. Now add the ginger and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree at this point and all the dry spices. Cook well till the masala is completely done and oil separates from the masala. Now add the softened kidney beans and two cups of water and boil the curry.  Lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes.

Serve hot with rice.

Happy Cooking in Goa!

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